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John RawlsDebating the Major Questions$
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Jon Mandle and Sarah Roberts-Cady

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190859213

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190859213.001.0001

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Public Political Reason

Public Political Reason

Still Not Wide Enough

(p.21) 1 Public Political Reason
John Rawls

David A. Reidy

Oxford University Press

This essay revisits the claim that public political reason as Rawls understood it is incomplete with respect to at least some constitutional essentials or matters of basic justice. It proffers new examples of incompleteness and argues that to reach determinate judgments in these cases democratic citizens will need to draw from a wider pool of reasons than those belonging to their public political reason. It then suggests that and how, without offending the values served by public political reason or political liberalism more generally, democratic citizens might reason publicly with one another to resolve such issues. This involves their reasoning together not as reasonable citizens committed to and drawing reasons from their diverse but reasonable political conceptions of justice, but rather as reasonable persons committed to and drawing reasons from their diverse but reasonable comprehensive doctrines. By so reasoning publicly together free and equal persons properly complete the public political reason they share as free and equal citizens.

Keywords:   democracy, legitimacy, citizenship, political liberalism, public reason, political conception of justice, comprehensive doctrine

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