Reason's freedom and the dialectic of ordered liberty

Cleveland State Law Review 55 (2):157-232 (2007)
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Abstract
The project of “public reason” claims to offer an epistemological resolution to the civic dilemma created by the clash of incompatible options for the rational exercise of freedom adopted by citizens in a diverse community. The present Article proposes, via consideration of a contrast between two classical accounts of dialectical reasoning, that the employment of “public reason,” in substantive due process analysis, is unworkable in theory and contrary to more reflective Supreme Court precedent. Although logical commonalities might be available to pick out from the multitude of particularized accounts of what constitutes “civic order,” no “public reason” so derived could adequately capture - and thus be able to secure in a practical sense - any single determinate civic order, much less one that would be consistent with all citizens' conceptions of public order. Part I of this Article raises a number of issues for consideration relating to the epistemology of law and focuses especially on the concept of public reason and its critique. Part II addresses alternative approaches to legal reasoning suggested by classical accounts of practical reasoning and virtue theory and considers the operation of such legal analysis outside the area of substantive due process; Part III analyzes post-Lawrence case law confirming the dilemma created by the Supreme Court's ambiguous approaches to substantive due process and concludes that only one interpretation - that articulated fully in Washington v. Glucksberg and given lip service in Lawrence v. Texas - provides a method for resolving novel substantive due process challenges that is philosophically sound as well as historically coherent. Rather than perpetuating a fiction that denies the propriety of lawmaking unless based on principles that all citizens can rationally agree upon, an appropriate model of substantive due process analysis recognizes that law must inevitably be based upon principles that cannot be agreed upon by all citizens in virtue of rationality alone. Abstract Footnotes (291) Beta Revise My Submission One-Click Download | Share | Email | Add to Briefcase Facebook | Twitter | Digg | Del.icio.us | CiteULike | Permalink Using the URL or DOI link below will ensure access to this page indefinitely Based on your IP address, your paper is being delivered by: New York, USA Processing request. [Processing request.] Illinois, USA Processing request. [Processing request.] Brussels, Belgium Processing request. [Processing request.] Seoul, Korea Processing request. [Processing request.] California, USA Processing request. [Processing request.] If you have any problems downloading this paper, please click on another Download Location above, or view our FAQ File name: SSRN-id1004757. ; Size: 424K Sample Cover You will receive a black and white printed and perfect bound version of this document in 8 1/2 x 11 inch format, with glossy color front and back covers. Currently shipping to the US addresses only. Your order will be shipped within three business days. Quantity: Total Price = $0.50 plus shipping (U.S. Only) If you have any problems with this purchase, please email support@ssrn.com or call 1-585-442-8170. Reason's Freedom and the Dialectic of Ordered Liberty Edward C. Lyons University of Notre Dame Law School Cleveland State Law Review, Vol. 55, p. 157, 2007 Abstract: The project of "public reason" claims to offer an epistemological resolution to the civic dilemma created by the clash of incompatible options for the rational exercise of freedom adopted by citizens in a diverse community. The present Article proposes, via consideration of a contrast between two classical accounts of dialectical reasoning, that the employment of "public reason," in substantive due process analysis, is unworkable in theory and contrary to more reflective Supreme Court precedent. Although logical commonalities might be available to pick out from the multitude of particularized accounts of what constitutes "civic order," no "public reason" so derived could adequately capture - and thus be able to secure in a practical sense - any single determinate civic order, much less one that would be consistent with all citizens' conceptions of public order. Part I of this Article raises a number of issues for consideration relating to the epistemology of law and focuses especially on the concept of public reason and its critique. Part II addresses alternative approaches to legal reasoning suggested by classical accounts of practical reasoning and virtue theory and considers the operation of such legal analysis outside the area of substantive due process; Part III analyzes post-Lawrence case law confirming the dilemma created by the Supreme Court's ambiguous approaches to substantive due process and concludes that only one interpretation - that articulated fully in Washington v. Glucksberg and given lip service in Lawrence v. Texas - provides a method for resolving novel substantive due process challenges that is philosophically sound as well as historically coherent. Rather than perpetuating a fiction that denies the propriety of lawmaking unless based on principles that all citizens can rationally agree upon, an appropriate model of substantive due process analysis recognizes that law must inevitably be based upon principles that cannot be agreed upon by all citizens in virtue of rationality alone. Keywords: substantive due process, practical reason, public reason, Rawls, Casey, Lawrence, Glucksberg, Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, dialectic, autonomy, freedom
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