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Partisanship and public reason

Bonotti, Matteo 2014. Partisanship and public reason. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 17 (3) , pp. 314-331. 10.1080/13698230.2014.886381

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In the large body of literature concerning John Rawls’s Political Liberalism (1993) and his conception of public reason, little attention has been paid to the implications that the constraints of public reason have for partisans, i.e. citizens who participate in politics through political parties. This paper argues that even on the basis of a ‘mild’ understanding of Rawls’s conception of the constraints of public reason, which takes into account the various stipulations Rawls provided throughout his later work, when applied to partisans the constraints of public reason lose none or little of their hindering force. This seriously undermines the contribution that parties and partisans can provide to the change and the varieties of public reason that Rawls himself advocates as a response to social change and, therefore, to political justification and legitimacy. Parties articulate, coordinate and enhance societal demands which, without their support, may remain unheard and fail to change the acceptable terms of public reason and political justification. If the political speech of partisans is restrained, this potential for change (and, therefore, its contribution to political legitimacy) is seriously undermined.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Uncontrolled Keywords: John Rawls, political liberalism, public reason, duty of civility, political justification, political parties
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1369-8230
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2019 02:15

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