Establishment, Exclusion, and Democracy’s Public Reason

Joshua Cohen

in Reasons and Recognition

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199753673
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918829 | DOI:
Establishment, Exclusion, and Democracy’s Public Reason

Show Summary Details


Religious freedom has many roots, and no simple story can explain the contours of its appropriate protections, but there is an important democratic strand in the case for religious freedom. That strand is about enabling the members of a political society, with their conflicting fundamental convictions, to reason together as political equals. Focusing on the First Amendment’s establishment clause, I argue that strong protections of religious freedom are not only about protecting religious conviction, conscience, and conduct from intrusive government regulation. They also are about the inclusion of equals in the enterprise of self-government. That inclusion presents a central challenge to pluralist democracies, but also lies at the heart of their moral promise.

Keywords: democracy; public reason; religion; religious establishment; first amendment; usurpation; endorsement

Chapter.  10286 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.