CFP: MANCEPT Workshop on Theories of Public Reason

Submission deadline: May 31, 2024

Conference date(s):
September 4, 2024 - September 6, 2024

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Conference Venue:

University of Manchester
Manchester, United Kingdom

Topic areas




Convenors: Gabriele Badano (University of York) and Blain Neufeld (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) 

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 invite submissions contributing to any of the classic debates internal to public reason liberalism, including, e.g., the correct foundations of public reason requirements and the appropriate level of idealisation for public reason’s ‘justificatory constituency’. Relatedly, we are interested in the clash between competing approaches to public reason, as exemplified by the debates between ‘consensus’ and ‘convergence’ public reason liberals. Papers on the application of the idea of public reason to the international domain also are welcome. In addition, we are open to submissions that are critical of the public reason framework, for instance, from liberal perfectionist, realist, or agonist perspectives. Moreover, we would be interested in discussing 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.

Within this broad remit, this year we are particularly interested in submissions discussing public reason in non-ideal contexts, as exemplified by issues concerning political activism against severe injustice, liberal democratic backsliding, and war. However, as mentioned above, focusing on this topic is not necessary.

We invite abstracts of around 500 words, to be sent both to [email protected] and [email protected] by 31 May 2024. 

Like all other MANCEPT workshops this year, this event will take place in person. After acceptance, graduate students can apply for one of the available fee-waiver bursaries.

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