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Living Together as EqualsThe Demands of Citizenship$
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Andrew Mason

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199606245

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606245.001.0001

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A Duty to Offer Only Public Reasons?

A Duty to Offer Only Public Reasons?

(p.149) 6 A Duty to Offer Only Public Reasons?
Living Together as Equals

Andrew Mason

Oxford University Press

Many have argued that citizens have a duty to offer only public reasons in public debate, at least when arguing about matters of basic justice. Sometimes this position is defended from within a justice account by appealing to the idea of legitimacy. But even if a political principle can be legitimate only if it is acceptable to all, this allows that it may be legitimate if it is endorsed by different citizens for different ‘private’ reasons, in which case why limit public debate to the giving of only public reasons? The idea that citizens have a duty to give only public reasons is also sometimes defended by an appeal to the importance of respect for one’s fellow citizens. This argument is most at home within an equal membership account, but it faces a number of problems.

Keywords:   citizenship, public reason, legitimacy, respect, public debate

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