Forst on Reciprocity of Reasons: a Critique

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According to Rainer Forst, (i) moral and political claims must meet a requirement of reciprocal and general acceptability (RGA) while (ii) we are under a duty in engaged discursive practice to justify such claims to others, or be able to do so, on grounds that meet RGA. The paper critically engages this view. I argue that Forst builds a key component of RGA, i.e., reciprocity of reasons, on an idea of the reasonable that undermines both (i) and (ii): if RGA builds on this idea, RGA is viciously regressive and a duty of justification to meet RGA fails to be agent transparent. This negative result opens the door for alternative conceptions of reciprocity and generality. I then suggest that a more promising conception of reciprocity and generality needs to build on an idea of the reasonable that helps to reconcile the emancipatory or protective aspirations of reciprocal and general justification with its egalitarian commitments. But this requires to downgrade RGA in the order of justification and to determine on prior, substantive grounds what level of discursive influence in reciprocal and general justification relevant agents ought to have.
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First archival date: 2020-04-13
Latest version: 2 (2020-04-17)
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