Incoherent but Reasonable: A Defense of Truth-Abstinence in Political Liberalism

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
A strength of liberal political institutions is their ability to accommodate pluralism, both allowing divergent comprehensive doctrines as well as constructing the common ground necessary for diverse people to live together. A pressing question is how far such pluralism extends. Which comprehensive doctrines are simply beyond the pale and need not be accommodated by a political consensus? Rawls attempted to keep the boundaries of reasonable disagreement quite broad by infamously denying that political liberalism need make reference to the concept of truth, a claim that has been criticized by Joseph Raz, Joshua Cohen, and David Estlund. In this paper, we argue that these criticisms fail due to the fact that political liberalism can remain non-committal on the nature of truth, leaving the concept of truth in the domain of comprehensive doctrines while still avoiding the issues raised by Raz, Cohen, and Estlund. Further substantiating this point is the fact that Rawls would, and should, include parties in the overlapping consensus whose views on truth may be incoherent. Once it is seen that political liberalism allows such incoherence to reasonable parties, it is clear that the inclusion of truth and the requirement of coherence urged by Raz, Cohen, and Estlund requires more of reasonable people than is necessary for a political consensus.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
SISIBR
Upload history
Archival date: 2020-04-28
View other versions
Added to PP index
2020-04-28

Total views
30 ( #47,633 of 51,557 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
30 ( #19,572 of 51,557 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.