MANCEPT Workshop on Theories of Public Reason

September 4, 2024 - September 6, 2024
University of Manchester

United Kingdom

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University of York
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

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As part of this year's MANCEPT Workshops, this panel seeks to bring together those working on issues related to public reason, broadly conceived. Public reason is an influential framework for understanding how liberal democracies can make fair decisions for diverse citizenries. There is now an extensive literature around public reason: Alongside John Rawls’s well-known account, variants of the idea have been developed in the work of Gerald Gaus, Jonathan Quong, Andrew Lister, Kevin Vallier, Christie Hartley, Lori Watson, and others.

We intend for this panel to have a broad remit within this topic. So, we are interested in exploring any of the classic debates internal to public reason liberalism, the clash between competing approaches to public reason, and any critiques of the public reason framework, for instance, from liberal perfectionist, realist, or agonist perspectives. We are also interested in key issues related to political liberalism, Rawlsian or otherwise, that go beyond the role of public reason within it. Possible examples include the nature of legitimacy, the debate between advocates of ‘egalitarian’ and ‘neo-classical liberal’ political conceptions of justice, and questions concerning the organisation of families within pluralist societies.

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