Public Reason and Reciprocity

Journal of Political Philosophy 24 (4) (2016)
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This paper addresses the question of whether the duties associated with public reason are conditional on reciprocity. Public reason is not a norm intended to stabilize commitment to justice, but a moral principle, albeit one that is conditional on reciprocity because grounded in the idea of mutual respect despite ongoing moral disagreement. We can build reciprocity into the principle by stipulating that unanimous acceptability is required only with respect to points of view accepting the principle. If compliance with law is assured, then the duties of public reason associated with authorship of law should be considered conditional on reciprocity only in this ‘internal’ sense, which is not proportional but bi-lateral.



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Andrew Lister
Queen's University

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