On Theorizing about Public Reason

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Abstract
This essay responds to the thoughtful essays on the Order of Public Reason (OPR) by Elvio Baccarini, Giulia Bistagnino and Nenad Miscevic. All three essays interrogate OPR’s understanding of moral theory - “meta” matters about the nature of morality, reasons and modeling within moral theories. I first turn to the general understanding of the moral enterprise underlying OPR, explaining why it takes a view at odds with the contemporary mainstream in moral philosophy. I then explain the idea of moral truth in OPR: when it comes to social morality, moral truth is necessarily a function of what can be endorsed by some collectivity. Th is leads to a fundamental worry about theories of public reason: why is the endorsement of the public so important? And if some sort of public endorsement is really so terribly important, how can a theory of public reason withstand the fact that it advances its own controversial claims that cannot be publicly endorsed? After considering when public endorsement is necessary, and when public reason theories can make controversial claims, I close by considering in what way OPR does, and in what way it does not, employ a thought experiment, and the complexities of that
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Archival date: 2015-10-25
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The Ethical Project.Kitcher, Philip
Subject Index.Cohen, G. A.

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2015-10-25

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