The boundaries of public reason

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8 Scopus citations


Modern versions of public reason occasionally must address disputes so profound and divisive that the adjudicative powers of reason cannot resolve them on the expectations of liberal governance. The beliefs underlying these disputes represent the legitimate pluralism of the liberal state, but they also reproduce within the languages of public reason the same divisive views that the liberal state must manage in the larger society. The effects of divisive beliefs can be mitigated, however, with a noncomputational version of public reason that allows collective terms to dominate simple merit adjudication. This type of reasoning requires a survey of considerations beyond the merits of the case at hand and opens public reason to the more general needs of the political society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)833-844
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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