Theories of Public Reason

Convenors:

Abstract:

This panel seeks to bring together those working on issues related to theories of public reason and public justification broadly understood. There has been a significant literature developing in recent years around public reason liberalism. Alongside John Rawls’s view, many contemporary views on public reason and public justification have emerged in the work of Christie Hartley, Gerald Gaus, Andrew Lister, Blaine Neufeld, Kevin Vallier, and Lori Watson.

Not only are these accounts interesting by their own lights, they also relate to important questions about the foundations of liberalism, the implications of deep diversity for political theory, the scope of political toleration, the status of religion and other comprehensive worldviews in liberal democracies, and debates between perfectionist and antiperfectionist liberals.  

The panel welcomes contributions relating to (but not limited to) the following areas:

  • The nature, extent, and significance of reasonable pluralism

  • Discussions of extant public reason views, such as those of Rawls, Hartley, Gaus, Lister, Neufeld, Vallier, Watson, among others

  • Objections to and critiques of theories of public reason

  • The application of public reason views to concrete issues, including contemporary topics such as abortion, education, religious exemptions, majority-minority relations, and war

  • Developing models and analytically rigorous formulations of the function and outcome of public reasoning

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