•  68
    Political Liberalism and the Radical Consequences of Justice Pluralism
    Journal of Social Philosophy 50 (2): 212-231. 2019.
    Political liberalism’s central commitments to recognizing reasonable pluralism and institutionalizing a substantive conception of justice are inconsistent. If reasonable pluralism applies to conceptions of justice as it applies to conceptions of the good, then some reasonable people will reject even many liberal conceptions of justice as unreasonable. If so, then imposing these conceptions of justice on citizens violates the liberal principle of legitimacy and related public justification requir…Read more
  •  1
    Trust in a Polarized Age
    Oup Usa. 2020.
    Americans today don't trust each other and their institutions as much as they once did, fueling destructive ideological conflicts and hardened partisanship. In Trust in a Polarized Age, political philosopher Kevin Vallier argues that to build social trust and reduce polarization, we must strengthen liberal democratic institutions--high-quality governance, procedural fairness, markets, social welfare programs, freedom of association, and democracy. These institutions not only create trust, they d…Read more
  •  10
    Equal Citizenship and Convergence
    Journal of Applied Philosophy 37 (5): 846-853. 2020.
    I argue against Lori Watson and Christie Hartley's recent criticisms of convergence approaches to public justification. In particular, I argue that convergence approaches can capture what is distinctive about democratic decision‐making and provide an attractive account of stability for the right reasons.
  •  55
    In Public Reason, Diversity Trumps Coherence
    with Ryan Muldoon
    Journal of Political Philosophy 29 (2): 211-230. 2021.
    Journal of Political Philosophy, EarlyView.
  •  24
    Process Democracy
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 17 (6): 633-657. 2020.
    Democratic theorists have proposed a number of competing justifications for democratic order, but no theory has achieved a consensus. While expecting consensus may be unrealistic, I nonetheless contend that we can make progress in justifying democratic order by applying competing democratic theories to different stages of the democratic process. In particular, I argue that the selection of political officials should be governed in accord with aggregative democracy. This process should prize wide…Read more
  •  5
    Religious Freedom in an Egalitarian Age, written by Nelson Tebbe
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 17 (3): 371-374. 2020.
  •  1
  •  126
    A New Theist Response to the New Atheists (edited book)
    Routledge. 2020.
    In response to the intellectual movement of New Atheism, this volume articulates a "New Theist" response that has at its core a desire to engage in productive and depolarizing dialogue. To ensure this book is of interest to atheists and theists alike, a team of experts in the field of philosophy of religion offer an assessment of the strongest New Atheist arguments. The chapters address the most pertinent questions about God, including politics and morality, and each essay shows how a reflectiv…Read more
  •  3
    "With increasingly divergent views and commitments, and an all-or-nothing mindset in political life, it can seem hard to sustain the level of trust in other members of our society necessary to ensure our most basic institutions work. This book features interdisciplinary perspectives on social trust. The contributors address four main topics related to social trust. The first topic is empirical and formal work on norms and institutional trust, especially the relationships between trust and human …Read more
  •  7
    Pluralistic Partisanship
    Res Publica 25 (4): 487-496. 2019.
    This essay explores and criticizes Matteo Bonotti’s argument that parties and partisans in a publicly justified polity should appeal primarily, if not exclusively, to accessible justificatory reasons to fulfill their political duties. I argue that political parties should only support coercive policies if they rationally believe that the coercive law or policy in question can be publicly justified to those subject to the law or policy in terms of their own private—specifically intelligible—reaso…Read more
  •  7
    Freedom and Justice in a Diverse Polity
    Philosophy and Public Issues - Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche. forthcoming.
  •  45
    In Defense of Idealization in Public Reason
    Erkenntnis 85 (5): 1109-1128. 2020.
    Contemporary public reason liberalism holds that coercion must be publicly justified to an idealized constituency. Coercion must be justified to all qualified points of view, not the points of view held by actual persons. Critics, in particular Nicholas Wolterstorff and David Enoch, have complained that idealization, by idealizing away what actual people accept, risks authoritarianism and disrespect by forcing people to comply with laws they in fact reject. I argue that idealization can withstan…Read more
  •  36
    Americans today are far less likely to trust their institutions, and each other, than in decades past. This collapse in social and political trust arguably fuels our increasingly ferocious ideological conflicts and hardened partisanship. Many believe that our previously high levels of trust and bipartisanship were a pleasant anomaly and that we now live under the historic norm. Seen this way, politics itself is nothing more than a power struggle between groups with irreconcilable aims: contempor…Read more
  •  33
    The Duties of Political Officials in a Minimally Secular State
    Journal of Applied Philosophy 36 (5): 695-701. 2019.
    Cécile Laborde's important book, Liberalism's Religion, attempts to develop an ethic governing political officials that requires that they only use, and be responsive to, accessible reasons. Laborde's accessibility requirement articulates her unique approach to the role of religion in liberal politics. This article challenges Laborde's accessibility ethic on three grounds: (1) the ethic suffers from a lack of idealisation, (2) there is little reason to prevent inaccessible reasons from defeating…Read more
  •  3
    Religious Exemptions (edited book)
    with Michael Weber
    Oup Usa. 2018.
    Religious exemptions have a long history in American law, but have become especially controversial over the last several years. The essays in this volume address the moral and philosophical issues that the legal practice of religious exemptions often raises.
  •  40
    Three concepts of political stability: An agent-based model
    Social Philosophy and Policy 34 (1): 232-259. 2017.
    Public reason liberalism includes an ideal of political stability where justified institutions reach a kind of self-enforcing equilibrium. Such an order must be stable for the right reasons — where persons comply with the rules of the order for moral reasons, rather than out of fear or self-interest. John Rawls called a society stable in this way well-ordered. In this essay, I contend that a more sophisticated model of a well-ordered society, specifically an agent-based model, yields a richer a…Read more
  •  50
    Public Reason Is Not Self-Defeating
    American Philosophical Quarterly 53 (4): 349-364. 2016.
    Steven Wall has two compelling arguments for what I shall call public reason liberalism's reflexivity requirement. The political concerns to reconcile persons who hold diverse moral views, and to avoid authoritarianism in politics not only require the public justification of coercion but the public justification of the standard used to determine when coercion is publicly justified. The reflexivity requirement is said to entail that public reason is self-defeating. Once RR is correctly formulated…Read more
  •  40
    Public justification
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. forthcoming.
    Explains the concept and conceptions of public justification found in the philosophy and political theory literatures.
  •  84
    In Defence of Intelligible Reasons in Public Justification
    Philosophical Quarterly 66 (264): 596-616. 2016.
    Mainstream political liberalism holds that legal coercion is permissible only if it is based on reasons that all can share, access or accept. But these requirements are subject to well-known problems. I articulate and defend an intelligible reasons requirement as an alternative. An intelligible reason is a reason that all suitably idealized members of the public can see as a reason for the person who offers it according to that person’s own evaluative standards. It thereby permits reasons into p…Read more
  •  71
    Property-owning democracies combine the regulative and redistributive functions of the welfare state with the governmental aim of ensuring that wealth and capital are widely dispersed. John Rawls, political philosophy’s most famous property-owning democrat, argued that property-owning democracy was one of two regime types that best realized his two principles of justice, though he was notoriously vague about how a property-owning democracy’s institutions are meant to realize his principles. To c…Read more
  •  56
    Stephen Darwall’s moral theory explains moral obligation by appealing to a “second-person” standpoint where persons use second-person reasons to hold one another accountable for their moral behavior. However, Darwall claims obligations obtain if and only if hypothetical persons endorse them, despite tying the second-person standpoint to our real-world moral practices. Focus on hypothetical persons renders critical elements of his account obscure. I solve this problem by distinguishing two ideas …Read more
  •  37
    On Distinguishing Publicly Justified Polities from Modus Vivendi Regimes
    Social Theory and Practice 41 (2): 207-229. 2015.
    This essay develops a novel account of the distinction between a publicly justified polity and modus vivendi regimes by appealing to the ideal of congruence in public reason liberalism. A fully publicly justified polity is one whose laws are supported by congruent “first-personal” and “second-personal” moral reasons to internalize laws as personally binding on those subject to them. Regimes approach modus vivendi status to the extent that their laws fail to be justified by either type of reason,…Read more
  •  394
    Our concern in this essay are the roles of religious conviction in what we call a “publicly justified polity” — one in which the laws conform to the Principle of Public Justification, according to which (in a sense that will become clearer) each citizen must have conclusive reason to accept each law as binding. According to “justificatory liberalism,”1 this public justification requirement follows from the core liberal commitment of respect for the freedom and equality of all citizens.2 To respe…Read more
  •  77
    Public justification versus public deliberation: the case for divorce
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (2): 139-158. 2015.
    I drive a wedge between public deliberation and public justification, concepts tightly associated in public reason liberalism. Properly understood, the ideal of public justification imposes no restraint on citizen deliberation but requires that those who have a substantial impact on the use of coercive power, political officials, advance proposals each person has sufficient reason to accept. I formulate this idea as the Principle of Convergent Restraint and apply it to legislators to illustrate …Read more
  •  30
    Is Economic Rationality in the Head?
    Minds and Machines 25 (4): 339-360. 2015.
    Many economic theorists hold that social institutions can lead otherwise irrational agents to approximate the predictions of traditional rational choice theory. But there is little consensus on how institutions do so. I defend an economic internalist account of the institution-actor relationship by explaining economic rationality as a feature of individuals whose decision-making is aided by institutional structures. This approach, known as the subjective transaction costs theory, represents appa…Read more
  •  179
    Against Public Reason Liberalism's Accessibility Requirement
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 8 (3): 366-389. 2011.
    Public reason liberals typically defend an accessibility requirement for reasons offered in public political dialog. The accessibility requirement holds that public reasons must be amenable to criticism, evaluable by reasonable persons, and the like. Public reason liberals are therefore hostile to the public use of reasons that appear inaccessible, especially religious reasons. This hostility has provoked strong reactions from public reason liberalism's religion-friendly critics. But public reas…Read more