The horizon of political liberalism: Citizenship, culture and the limits of Rawlsian public reason.

Title: The horizon of political liberalism: Citizenship, culture and the limits of Rawlsian public reason.
Authors: Peddle, David.
Date: 1998
Abstract: The thesis developed in this essay is that public political debate must accommodate the moral, religious and cultural dimensions of citizenship. Commitment to shared public deliberation and participation can be developed only if citizens are drawn into political engagement with their various embedded identities intact; their personal integrity can be sustained only if they can bring to bear all the moral resources with which they are graced. Moreover, citizens' cultural identities, because they are a source of a deep sense of belonging, will pose an obstacle to common political life unless a common political culture can transform (and be transformed by) their culture of origin. "Political" culture must be seen as arising from the historical identity formed from the various differing roots of the background culture. "Non-political" culture is likewise transformed by the political realm. The locus of basic political issues, then, cannot be described simply as "political"; rather, it must be seen as "cultural-political", "moral-political" or "religious-political", each realm determining the configuration of the other. This then is the primary meaning of the term "horizon" in this essay's title: the comprehensive and cultural commitments of citizens must play an important role in defining the nature and limits of public political reason in any determinate account of liberal democracy. Through consideration of the instructive debate generated by John Rawls's of "political" conception of justice and responses to this conception by Michael Sandel and Will Kymlicka, this essay attempts to develop a more inclusive conception of public reason. I am concerned to broaden the scope of public reason in three ways: (1) to further include citizens' comprehensive views in public debate; (2) to ensure recognition of the importance of the history of democratic institutions within the conception of the political and; (3) to extend the defense of group-differentiated rights to include exemptions for non-liberal religious groups. The concept of public reason and political participation developed in this essay attempts to show how the differences between liberalism and republicanism may be diminished. It presents a liberalism enriched by a more inclusive public reason and by a richer understanding of the historical nature the public culture. Also it defends a pluralist republicanism which, tainted by neither exclusion nor coercion, represents a viable alternative to liberal neutrality.
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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