Public Reason in Political Philosophy published 2018

Congratulations to Dr. Gerald Gaus for editing Public Reason in Political Philosophy with Dr. Piers Norris Turner.

From the publisher:

When people of good faith and sound mind disagree deeply about moral, religious, and other philosophical matters, how can we justify political institutions to all of them? The idea of public reason—of a shared public standard, despite disagreement—arose in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in the work of Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Kant. At a time when John Rawls’ influential theory of public reason has come under fire but its core idea remains attractive to many, it is important not to lose sight of earlier philosophers’ answers to the problem of resolving private conflict through public reason.

The distinctive selections from the great social contract theorists in this volume emphasize the pervasive theme of intractable disagreement and the need for public justification. New essays by leading scholars then put the historical work in context and provide a focus of debate and discussion. They also explore how the search for public reason has informed a wider body of modern political theory—in the work of Hume, Hegel, Bentham, and Mill—sometimes in surprising ways. The idea of public reason is revealed as an overarching theme in modern political philosophy—one very much needed today.

Table of Contents


Hobbes from Leviathan
Critical Essay: Sharon A. Lloyd, Public Reason in Hobbes
Locke from Second Treatise of Government
A Letter Concerning Toleration 
Critical Essay: Gerald F. Gaus, Locke’s Liberal Theory of Public Reason
Rousseau from A Discourse on Political Economy
The Social Contract  
Critical Essay: Christopher Bertram, Rousseau on Public Reason 
Kant from The Science of Right
The Principles of Political Right Considered in Common with the Relation of Theory to Practice in the Right of the State
Perpetual Peace
What is Enlightenment? 
Critical Essay: Oliver Sensen, Kant on Public Reason

Hume Critical Essay: Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, Hume’s Theory of Public Reason
Hegel Critical Essay: Kenneth R. Westphal, The Centrality of Public Reason in Hegel’s Moral Philosophy 
Bentham Critical Essay: Gerald J. Postema, Jeremy Bentham: Theorist of Publicity
Mill Critical Essay: Piers Norris Turner, Social Morality in Mill

Published Date: 

07/24/2018 - 3:21pm
Public Reason in Political Philosophy cover