•  39
    Forst on Reciprocity of Reasons: a Critique
    Southern Journal of Philosophy. forthcoming.
    According to Rainer Forst, (i) moral and political claims must meet a requirement of reciprocal and general acceptability (RGA) while (ii) we are under a duty in engaged discursive practice to justify such claims to others, or be able to do so, on grounds that meet RGA. The paper critically engages this view. I argue that Forst builds a key component of RGA, i.e., reciprocity of reasons, on an idea of the reasonable that undermines both (i) and (ii): if RGA builds on this idea, RGA is viciously …Read more
  •  93
    Public justification in political liberalism is often conceptualized in light of Rawls’s view of its role in a hypothetical well-ordered society as an ideal or idealizing form of justification that applies a putatively reasonable conception of political justice to political matters. But Rawls implicates a different idea of public justification in his doctrine of general reflective equilibrium. The paper engages this second, more fundamental idea. Public justification in this second sense is actu…Read more
  •  60
    The discussion develops further the view that public justification in Rawls’s political liberalism, in one of its roles, is actualist in fully enfranchising actual reasonable citizens and fundamental in political liberalism’s order of justification. I anchor this reading in the political role Rawls accords to general reflective equilibrium, and examine in its light the relationship between public justification, pro tanto justification, political values, full justification, the wide view of publi…Read more
  •  22
    Why Inconclusiveness is a Problem for Public Reason
    with Ben Cross
    Law and Philosophy 38 (4): 407-432. 2019.
    Most theorists of public reason, including both its proponents and critics, now accept that it is inconclusive, meaning that its correct application can result in a plurality of reasonable solutions to the issues it addresses. While some early critics argued that the inconclusiveness of public reason presented a serious problem for political legitimacy – a charge often associated with ‘the completeness objection’ – defenders of public reason have generally dismissed this objection on the grounds…Read more
  •  173
    On Robust Discursive Equality
    Dialogue 58 (3): 1-26. 2019.
    This paper explores the idea of robust discursive equality on which respect-based conceptions of justificatory reciprocity often draw. I distinguish between formal and substantive discursive equality and argue that if justificatory reciprocity requires that people be accorded formally equal discursive standing, robust discursive equality should not be construed as requiring standing that is equal substantively, or in terms of its discursive purchase. Still, robust discursive equality is purchase…Read more
  •  79
    Rainer Forst and others claim that normative moral and political claims depend for their justification on meeting a requirement of reciprocal and general acceptability (RGA). I focus on a core component of RGA, namely, the idea of reciprocity of reasons, distinguish between two readings of RGA, and argue that if reciprocity of reasons is understood in Forst’s terms, then RGA, even on the most promising reading, may not serve as a requirement of moral or political justification at all. The discus…Read more
  •  201
    On Justification, Idealization, and Discursive Purchase
    Philosophia 47 (3): 601-623. 2019.
    Conceptions of acceptability-based moral or political justification take it that authoritative acceptability, widely conceived, constitutes, or contributes to, validity, or justification. There is no agreement as to what bar for authoritativeness such justification may employ. The paper engages the issue in relation to (i) the level of idealization that a bar for authoritativeness, ψ, imparts to a standard of acceptability-based justification, S, and (ii) the degree of discursive purchase of the…Read more
  •  293
    On the Right to Justification and Discursive Respect
    Dialogue 54 (4): 703-726. 2015.
    Rainer Forst’s constructivism argues that a right to justification provides a reasonably non-rejectable foundation of justice. With an exemplary focus on his attempt to ground human rights, I argue that this right cannot provide such a foundation. To accord to others such a right is to include them in the scope of discursive respect. But it is reasonably contested whether we should accord to others equal discursive respect. It follows that Forst’s constructivism cannot ground human rights, or ju…Read more
  •  879
    (In German.) The book addresses Rawls's post-1985 political liberalism. His justification of political liberalism -- as reflected in his arguments from overlapping consensus -- faces the problem that liberal content can be justified as reciprocally acceptable only if the addressees of such a justification already endorse points of view that suitably support liberal ideas. Rawls responds to this legitimacy-theoretical problem by restricting public justification's scope to include reasonable peopl…Read more
  •  197
    The paper addresses O'Neill's view that her version of Kant's Categorical Imperative, namely, the requirement of followability (RF), marks the supreme principle of reason; it takes issue with her claim that RF commits us to Kantian constructivism in practical philosophy. The paper distinguishes between two readings of RF: on a weak reading, RF ranges over all (practical) reasoning but does not commit to constructivism, and on a strong version RF commits to constructivism but fails to meet its ow…Read more
  •  723
    On Practical Constructivism and Reasonableness
    Dissertation, University of Oxford. 2004.
    The dissertation defends that the often-assumed link between constructivism and universalism builds on non-constructivist, perfectionist grounds. To this end, I argue that an exemplary form of universalist constructivism – i.e., O’Neill’s Kantian constructivism – can defend its universalist commitments against an influential particularist form of constructivism – i.e., political liberalism as advanced by Rawls, Macedo, and Larmore – only if it invokes a perfectionist view of the good. (En route,…Read more
  •  414
    Schmidtz on Moral Recognition Rules: A Critique
    Theoria 83 (2): 138-153. 2016.
    David Schmidtz's reconstruction of morality advances Hart-type recognition rules for a “personal” and an “interpersonal” strand of morality. I argue that his view does not succeed for reasons owed both to the way in which Schmidtz construes of the task of reconstructing morality and the content of the moral recognition rules that he proposes. For Schmidtz, this task must be approached from a Hart-type “internal” perspective, but this leaves his reconstruction with an unresolved problem of paroch…Read more
  •  251
    The paper challenges the view that public justification sits well with emancipatory and egalitarian intuitions. I distinguish between the depth, scope and the purchase of the discursive standing that such justification allocates, and situate within this matrix Rawls’s view of public justification. A standard objection to this view is that public justification should be more inclusive in scope. This is both plausible and problematic in emancipatory and egalitarian terms. If inclusive public justi…Read more
  •  542
    Factualism, Normativism and the Bounds of Normativity
    Dialogue 50 (2): 347-365. 2011.
    The paper argues that applications of the principle that “ought” implies “can” (OIC) depend on normative considerations even if the link between “ought” and “can” is logical in nature. Thus, we should reject a common, “factualist” conception of OIC and endorse weak “normativism”. Even if we use OIC as the rule ““cannot” therefore “not ought””, applying OIC is not a mere matter of facts and logic, as factualists claim, but often draws on “proto-ideals” of moral agency.
  •  429
    To fully respond to the demands of multiculturalism, a view of toleration would need to duly respect diversity both at the level of the application of principles of toleration and at the level of the justificatory foundations that a view of toleration may appeal to. The paper examines Rainer Forst’s post-Rawlsian, ‘reason-based’ attempt to provide a view of toleration that succeeds at these two levels and so allows us to tolerate tolerantly. His account turns on the view that a constructivist re…Read more
  •  688
    On Political Legitimacy, Reasonableness, and Perfectionism
    Public Reason 5 (1): 58-74. 2013.
    The paper advances a non-orthodox reading of political liberalism’s view of political legitimacy, the view of public political justification that comes with it, and the idea of the reasonable at the heart of these views. Political liberalism entails that full discursive standing should be accorded only to people who are reasonable in a substantive sense. As the paper argues, this renders political liberalism dogmatic and exclusivist at the level of arguments for or against normative theories of …Read more
  •  273
    (Please note: the main ideas of this paper are restated in revised/developed form in: "On actualist and fundamental public justification in political liberalism" and "More on actualist and fundamental public justification in political liberalism". Both papers are available from philpapers.) The paper suggests the deep view of Rawls-type public justification as promising, non-ideal theory variant of an internal conception of political liberalism. To this end, I demonstrate how the deep view inte…Read more
  •  259
    On a Reflexive Case for Human Rights
    Journal of East-West Thought 3 (4): 51-64. 2013.
    Can there be a "reflexive" or presuppositional, reasonably non-rejectable grounding of a Forst-type right to justification, or of a meaningful form of constitutive discursive standing? The paper argues that this is not so, and this for reasons that reflect more general limitations of presuppositional arguments for relevantly contested conclusions. To this end, the paper critically engages Forst's "reflexive" argument for human rights. It also considers O'Neill's presuppositional attempt to defen…Read more
  •  221
    Kantian constructivists accord a constitutive, justificatory role to the issue of scope: they typically claim that first-order practical thought depends for its authority on being suitably acceptable within the right scope, or by all relevant others, and some Kantian constructivists, notably Onora O'Neill, hold that our views of the nature and criteria of practical reasoning also depend for their authority on being suitably acceptable within the right scope. The paper considers whether O'Neill-t…Read more
  •  163
    On Toleration in Social Work
    with Jung-Sook Lee
    European Journal of Social Work. forthcoming.
    Toleration is one of many responses toward diversity and difference. With the growing diversity, the theme of toleration has often taken center stage in discussions of multiculturalism and social pluralism. Nonetheless, it has not received much attention in the social work profession. Social workers often encounter situations in which they face a choice between tolerating and not tolerating. We argue that toleration is a legitimate and relevant topic in social work discourse. To make this point,…Read more
  •  1251
    Is there an approach to human rights that justifies rights-allocating moral-political principles as principles that are equally acceptable by everyone to whom they apply, while grounding them in categorical, reasonably non-rejectable foundations? The paper examines Rainer Forst’s constructivist attempt to provide such an approach. I argue that his view, far from providing an alternative to “ethical” approaches, depends for its own reasonableness on a reasonably contestable conception of the good…Read more
  •  383
    On Discursive Respect
    Social Theory and Practice 40 (2): 207-231. 2014.
    Moral and political forms of constructivism accord to people strong, “constitutive” forms of discursive standing and so build on, or express, a commitment to discursive respect. The paper explores dimensions of discursive respect, i.e., depth, scope, and purchase; it addresses tenuous interdependencies between them; on this basis, it identifies limitations of the idea of discursive respect and of constructivism. The task of locating discursive respect in the normative space defined by its three …Read more
  •  355
    Political liberalism, the internal conception, and the problem of public dogma
    Philosophy and Public Issues - Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche 2 (1): 153-177. 2012.
    According to the “internal” conception (Quong), political liberalism aims to be publicly justifiable only to people who are reasonable in a special sense specified and advocated by political liberalism itself. One advantage of the internal conception allegedly is that it enables liberalism to avoid perfectionism. The paper takes issue with this view. It argues that once the internal conception is duly pitched at its fundamental, metatheoretical level and placed in its proper discursive context, …Read more