In Defence of Intelligible Reasons in Public Justification

Philosophical Quarterly 66 (264):596-616 (2016)
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Abstract

Mainstream political liberalism holds that legal coercion is permissible only if it is based on reasons that all can share, access or accept. But these requirements are subject to well-known problems. I articulate and defend an intelligible reasons requirement as an alternative. An intelligible reason is a reason that all suitably idealized members of the public can see as a reason for the person who offers it according to that person’s own evaluative standards. It thereby permits reasons into public justification that all cannot share, access, or accept, and so contrasts with standard approaches to public justification. The intelligible reasons requirement has two striking implications. First, it severs the connection between public justification and principles of deliberative restraint. Second, it pushes political liberals to appeal to other political processes to publicly justify law, specifically bargaining, adjudication, and social evolution.

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Author's Profile

Kevin Vallier
Bowling Green State University

References found in this work

Justice as Fairness: A Restatement.John Rawls (ed.) - 2001 - Harvard University Press.
Morals by Agreement.David P. Gauthier - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
Liberalism Without Perfection.Jonathan Quong - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
Evolution of the Social Contract.Brian Skyrms - 1996 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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