Theories of Public Reason panel at the MANCEPT Workshops

September 11, 2023 - September 13, 2023
University of Manchester

United Kingdom

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University of York
University of Birmingham

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This workshop seeks to bring together those working on issues related to public reason and public justification, broadly understood. There has been a significant literature developing in recent years around these issues, leading to accounts that are not only interesting by their own lights but also relate to important questions about the foundations of liberalism, the scope of political toleration, the status of religion and other comprehensive worldviews in liberal democracies, and debates between perfectionist and anti-perfectionist liberals.

We intend for this panel to have a broad remit within this area, and so invite submissions from both supporters and critics of public reason frameworks that might e.g. touch on any of the following issues:

– The nature, extent, and significance of reasonable disagreement.

– The foundations of public reason requirements.

– The appropriate level of idealisation for public reason’s justificatory constituency.

– Obligations on citizens: Civility, sincerity, etc.

– Consensus vs. convergence accounts of public justification.

– The implications of public reason views for religious citizenship.

– Issues relating to public reason and liberal neutrality.

– Requirements of accessibility, shareability, and intelligibility on public reasons.

– The role of science in public reasoning.

– The standards of public reason in ideal v. non-ideal contexts.

– The application of public reason accounts to concrete issues, such as education, abortion, and war.

– The role of public reason requirements in broader accounts of deliberative democracy.

– The distributive and institutional implications of ideals of public reason.

– The relationship between public reason and other political and moral values (e.g. stability or community).

– Public reason in practice.

– Public reason and political emotions.

– Objections to public reason theories.

We would also be interested in receiving submissions focused on key issues related to political liberalism, Rawlsian or otherwise, that go beyond the role of public reason within it. Possible examples include the problem of keeping illiberal views under control and that of organising the institution of the family in societies characterised by reasonable pluralism.

Our preference is to hold the workshop entirely in person, but we will make a final decision about format once we have assessed submissions and talked with authors about any special circumstances they might be in.

We invite abstracts of around 500 words to both [email protected] and [email protected], by 9 June 2023.

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National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

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