Patterns of Justification: On Political Liberalism and the Primacy of Public Justification

Journal of Social and Political Philosophy 1 (1):47-63 (2022)
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The discussion develops the view that public justification in Rawls’s political liberalism, in one of its roles, is actualist in fully enfranchising actual reasonable citizens and fundamental in political liberalism’s order of justification. I anchor this reading in the political role Rawls accords to general reflective equilibrium, and examine in its light the relationship between public justification, pro tanto justification, political values, full justification, the wide view of public political culture and salient public reason intuitions. This leaves us with the question of how a more plausible, post-Rawlsian political liberalism should understand the commitment to discursive respect and robust discursive equality that is reflected in its view of actualist and fundamental public justification.

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Thomas M. Besch
Wuhan University


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