Against Public Reason Liberalism's Accessibility Requirement

Journal of Moral Philosophy 8 (3):366-389 (2011)
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Abstract

Public reason liberals typically defend an accessibility requirement for reasons offered in public political dialog. The accessibility requirement holds that public reasons must be amenable to criticism, evaluable by reasonable persons, and the like. Public reason liberals are therefore hostile to the public use of reasons that appear inaccessible, especially religious reasons. This hostility has provoked strong reactions from public reason liberalism's religion-friendly critics. But public reason liberals and their religion-friendly critics need not be at odds because the accessibility requirement is implausible. In fact, the accessibility requirement is ambiguous between two interpretations, one of which is too stringent and the other too loose. Depending upon the interpretation, accessibility either restricts the use of too many secular reasons or permits appeal to a wide range of religious reasons. The accessibility requirement should therefore be rejected.

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Kevin Vallier
Bowling Green State University

Citations of this work

In Defence of Intelligible Reasons in Public Justification.Kevin Vallier - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (264):596-616.
Against the Asymmetric Convergence Model of Public Justification.James W. Boettcher - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (1):191-208.
Coercion and public justification.Colin Bird - 2014 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 13 (3):189-214.

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References found in this work

Moral conflict and political legitimacy.Thomas Nagel - 1987 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 16 (3):215-240.
Political Liberalisms and Their Exclusions of the Religious.Philip L. Quinn - 1995 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 69 (2):35 - 56.

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