CFP: Theories of Public Reason (MANCEPT)

Submission deadline: May 20, 2018

Conference date(s):
September 10, 2018 - September 12, 2018

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Conference Venue:

Manchester Centre for Political Theory (MANCEPT), University of Manchester
Manchester, United Kingdom

Topic areas


Call for abstracts: MANCEPT Workshop on Theories of Public Reason

This workshop panel seeks to bring together those working on issues related to theories of public reason and public justification, broadly understood. There has been a significant literature developing in recent years around political and public reason liberalism. Alongside John Rawls’s view, distinct viewpoints on the idea of a publicly justified polity have emerged through the work of Gerald Gaus, Andrew Lister, and others.

Not only are these accounts interesting by their own lights, they 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.

This panel is intended to have a broad remit within this area, and welcomes submissions on any of - but not limited to - 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.

– The status of perfectionist reasons in public reason accounts.

– Issues relating to public reason and liberal neutrality.

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

– 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 relationship between public reason views and alternative accounts of liberal legitimacy.

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

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

– Public reason in practice.

– Public reason and political emotions.

– The status of intrinsic values, different comprehensive conceptions of the good, and other metaphysical or ethical views within public reason discourse.

– Specific accounts of political or public reason liberalism, such as the views of Rawls, Gerald Gaus, Jonathan Quong, Andrew Lister, Kevin Vallier, etc.

– Objections to public reason theories.

Please submit abstracts of around 500 words, prepared for blind review, to, by May 20th.

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