Publication details

Whose Public Reason? Which Justification of Laws? A Natural Law Response



Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Keywords common good; disagreement; liberalism; new theory of natural law; perfectionism; political liberalism; natural law; public justification; public reason
Description A persistent puzzle for practical philosophy centres on finding the appropriate path to justify the laws whose purpose is to regulate the functioning of constitutional democracies. Public reason liberals deny that this justification could come from comprehensive doctrines, since the laws must be justifiable to all (reasonable) citizens. The natural law tradition offers a useful test of the plausibility of this claim. This article illustrates how the two versions of public reason liberalism differ in their openness to natural law reasons, and why, given the influence of their disparate starting points on the normative standards by which they assess laws, natural law exponents have good reason to reject both.
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