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Kent Greenawalt

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199756162

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756162.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 January 2022

What Are Public Reasons?*

What Are Public Reasons?*

(p.15) Chapter 1 What Are Public Reasons?*
From the Bottom Up

Kent Greenawalt

Oxford University Press

The first essay, “What Are Public Reasons?,” explores a question that turns out to be critical for the place of public reasons, and whether other reasons should be excluded from lawmaking. Among the basic concepts are that public reason excludes ideas of the good, all nonrational grounds, all comprehensive views, or any underlying assumptions not widely accepted by the public. Serious obstacles exist to each of these approaches taken alone. Those obstacles suggest that the line between public and other reasons is hardly sharp, and that indeed what counts as such a reason may depend on what position an official or citizen occupies. What is a public reason for a judge may vary from what would count for a legislator or private citizen. These subtleties constitute one basis not to exclude all other reasons.

Keywords:   Public Reasons, Idea of the Good, Nonrational Grounds, Comprehensive Views

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