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Paul Billingham
Oxford University
  1. Convergence Justifications Within Political Liberalism: A Defence.Paul Billingham - 2016 - Res Publica 22 (2):135-153.
    According to political liberalism, laws must be justified to all citizens in order to be legitimate. Most political liberals have taken this to mean that laws must be justified by appeal to a specific class of ‘public reasons’, which all citizens can accept. In this paper I defend an alternative, convergence, model of public justification, according to which laws can be justified to different citizens by different reasons, including reasons grounded in their comprehensive doctrines. I consider three objections to such (...)
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  2. Consensus, Convergence, Restraint, and Religion.Paul Billingham - 2018 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 15 (3):345-361.
    This essay critically assesses the central claim of Kevin Vallier’s Liberal Politics and Public Faith: that public religious faith and public reason liberalism can be reconciled, because the values underlying public reason liberalism should lead us to endorse the ‘convergence view’, rather than the mainstream consensus view. The convergence view is friendlier to religious faith, because it jettisons the consensus view’s much-criticised ‘duty of restraint’. I present several challenges to Vallier’s claim. Firstly, if Vallier is right to reject the duty (...)
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  3. Does Political Community Require Public Reason? On Lister’s Defence of Political Liberalism.Paul Billingham - 2016 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 15 (1):20-41.
    Andrew Lister’s Public Reason and Political Community is an important new contribution to the debate over political liberalism. In this article, I critically evaluate some of the central arguments of the book in order to assess the current state of public reason liberalism. I pursue two main objections to Lister’s work. First, Lister’s justification for public reason, which appeals to the value of civic friendship, fails to show why public reason liberalism should be preferred to an alternative democratic theory that (...)
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  4. Convergence Liberalism and the Problem of Disagreement Concerning Public Justification.Paul Billingham - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (4):541-564.
    The ‘convergence conception’ of political liberalism has become increasingly popular in recent years. Steven Wall has shown that convergence liberals face a serious dilemma in responding to disagreement about whether laws are publicly justified. What I call the ‘conjunctive approach’ to such disagreement threatens anarchism, while the ‘non-conjunctive’ approach appears to render convergence liberalism internally inconsistent. This paper defends the non-conjunctive approach, which holds that the correct view of public justification should be followed even if some citizens do not consider (...)
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  5. Can My Religion Influence My Conception of Justice? Political Liberalism and the Role of Comprehensive Doctrines.Paul Billingham - 2017 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 20 (4):402-424.
    In his last works, John Rawls explicitly argued for an overlapping consensus on a family of reasonable liberal political conceptions of justice, rather than just one. This ‘Deep Version’ of political liberalism opens up new questions about the relationship between citizens’ political conceptions, from which they must draw and offer public reasons in their political advocacy, and their comprehensive doctrines. These questions centre on whether a reasonable citizen’s choice of political conception can be influenced by her comprehensive doctrine. In this (...)
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  6. Liberal Perfectionism and Quong’s Internal Conception of Political Liberalism.Paul Billingham - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (1):79-106.
    Debates between political liberals and liberal perfectionists have been reinvigorated by Jonathan Quong’s Liberalism Without Perfection. In this paper I argue that certain forms of perfectionism can rebut or evade Quong’s three central objections – that perfectionism is manipulative, paternalistic, and illegitimate. I then argue that perfectionists can defend an ‘internal conception’ of perfectionism, parallel in structure to Quong’s ’internal conception’ of political liberalism, but with a different conception of the justificatory constituency. None of Quong’s arguments show that his view (...)
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