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Understanding Liberal DemocracyEssays in Political Philosophy$
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Nicholas Wolterstorff and Terence Cuneo

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199558957

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199558957.001.0001

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The Justificatory Liberalism of Gerald Gaus

The Justificatory Liberalism of Gerald Gaus

(p.53) 3 The Justificatory Liberalism of Gerald Gaus
Understanding Liberal Democracy

Nicholas Wolterstorff

Terence Cuneo

Oxford University Press

Gerald Gaus has developed a distinct version of public reason liberalism and has done so with a great deal of philosophical sophistication. There are two respects in which Gaus’ version of public reason liberalism is significantly distinct. He develops and employs the moral demand argument far more carefully and thoroughly than any other public reason liberal does. And whereas most versions of public reason liberalism are consensus theories, his is a convergence theory. This chapter examines Gaus' view in detail, explores the main arguments Gaus offers for it, and concludes that Gaus' position is unsatisfactory.

Keywords:   argument from respect, closed justification, convergence, Eberle, Christopher, justificatory liberalism, idealization, moral demand argument, open justification, public reason liberalism

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