What is this blog about?

What is this blog about?

I am a political philosopher. My 'political philosophy' is a form of 'liberal egalitarianism.' So in this blog I reflect on various issues in political philosophy and politics (especially Canadian and American politics) from a liberal egalitarian perspective.

If you are curious about what I mean by 'liberal egalitarianism,' my views are strongly influenced by the conception of justice advanced by John Rawls. (So I sometimes refer to myself as a 'Rawlsian,' even though I disagree with Rawls on some matters.)

Astonishingly, I am paid to write and teach moral and political philosophy. I somehow manage to do this despite my akratic nature. Here is my faculty profile.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Political Utopias reviewed at Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

As I mentioned last April, I have a chapter in the volume Political Utopias: Contemporary Debates (Oxford University Press, 2017), edited by Michael Weber and Kevin Vallier.

So I thought I would mention here that Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews has a (generally positive) review of the volume out now, written by Patick Taylor Smith (of National University of Singapore).

Thursday, November 9, 2017

On the ‘anti-conservative bias’ of academia

Wisconsin Republicans like to whine about the ‘anti-conservative bias’ of contemporary universities. Such complaints have been used to help justify their ongoing destruction of the University of Wisconsin system (including: the recent de facto prohibition of student protests by the [Scott Walker-appointed] Regents of the UW system; the attack on academic freedom through the evisceration of tenure two years ago; the massive budget cuts to the system over the course of Walker’s time as governor; etc.).

For a helpful explanation for why this ‘bias’ exists in academia, read this post by Joe Heath (a philosopher at the University of Toronto).

One of Heath’s key points is something that I’ve long held to be obviously true—viz., universities are inherently ‘pro-reason’ (broadly understood to mean an overall pro-evidence, pro-argument, pro-logic, etc., outlook). So insofar as much of political and social conservatism is anti-reason (anti-evidence, etc.), then academia inevitably is going to be a hostile environment for most political and social conservatives. And to the extent that anti-reason conservatives go to university and become less conservative as a consequence, this is not (or at least not primarily) due to ‘brainwashing’ by Marxist profs, but rather because they become acclimated to a rationalist way of seeing the world. (In contrast to anti-reason conservatives, libertarians are massively overrepresented in academia, especially in the US. But of course libertarians think that they have arguments for their positions; they’re ‘pro-reason’, like their liberal and left-wing interlocutors.)

Another thing that I like about this post is Heath’s take down of the irritatingly influential Jonathan Haidt. What I find most grating in much of Haidt’s work is its unargued premise of moral non-cognitivism. (Heath also criticizes Haidt’s ‘political moralism,’ which strikes me as fair, but is not something that causes me to tear my hair out in annoyance.)

Monday, October 9, 2017

Nonsensical Rifle Addiction

This video—a segment within the Dutch comedy show ‘Sunday with Lubach’—does a brilliant job of conveying just how insane the rest of the civilised world regards the American obsession with guns. And it is quite funny as well. (The narration of the video is in English—in fact the narrator sounds a lot like Patrick Stewart, at least to my ears.)

Of course, a standard reply from those within the United States who worship firearms is to declare that the right to own lethal weapons is necessary for ‘freedom’. But this is in fact wrong—widespread gun ownership actually reduces citizens’ overall freedom.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A public discussion of free speech at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

I'm heading back to Milwaukee for a couple of days to take part in a public panel discussion on: “When Free Speech Collides with Impermissible Speech: A Civil Discourse.” It will take place at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee’s Student Union on Wednesday (27th September) at 10:30 (11:30 EST). If you’re so inclined, you can watch a ‘live stream’ via the link above.

Also taking part will be: Chris Ott (ACLU Wisconsin), Rick Esenberg (Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty), Dr. Michele Bria (Journey House of Wisconsin), and 3 UWM students. Moderating the discussion will be Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune, whom I remember from his regular appearances on the PBS political discussion show, The McLaughlin Group.

Frankly, I'm a bit nervous about this, as the topic is rather broad and vague, so I'm not sure what I'm supposed to say about it (“say what you want, but be nice about it?”). I do hope to be able to criticize Wisconsin Republicans’ ongoing assault on academic freedom.

(Here is the UWM Philosophy Department’s announcement.)

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Understanding Kant's Categorical Imperative

I've endured a number of short introductions to Kant's moral philosophy in my time, and this one -- on BBC Radio 4's "In Our Time" programme --  is (by far) the best one yet.

(And I'm not just claiming this because one of the participants, John Callanan of King's College London, is an old friend of mine. That would be most unKantian!)

[Image from here.]

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Guns versus freedom of speech

The nature of freedom and its social preconditions is one of my central research interests. Most of my past academic work on this topic has been on the role of ‘money’ (economic resources) and education (intellectual resources) in facilitating citizens’ effective freedom. But of course citizens’ freedom can be constrained or expanded by other things. In the case of the United States (and pretty much only the United States, at least amongst Western liberal democratic societies), widespread civilian ownership of firearms—including the right to freely carry them in public places—greatly constrains most citizens’ freedom.

This view is contrary to the mainstream American view concerning this topic. Many people on both sides of the ‘gun control debate’ within the United States agree that allowing citizens to own firearms enhances their freedom—the question (as it’s generally framed) is whether this freedom is sufficiently important or valuable to outweigh the foreseeable costs for citizens’ health, safety, and lives. Proposals to limit or regulate citizens’ access to and use of firearms are justified by American gun control advocates, for the most part, on grounds of public health and safety.

This way of framing the issue is mistaken. It unjustifiably cedes intellectual ground to firearms advocates. Permitting anyone to own and carry in public places deadly firearms decreases the overall freedom of the citizenry; it does so by increasing the overall level of private, arbitrary coercive power (via threats of force and exercises of force by individual citizens) within society. Or so I have argued in the past.

I’m pleased to see others articulating something like this way of construing the relationship between firearms and freedom. Focusing on freedom of speech, at Slate Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern have great piece entitled, “The Guns Won: Charlottesville showed that our First Amendment jurisprudence hasn’t reckoned with our Second Amendment reality.”

Here are some of the key points from their article:
“When demonstrators plan to carry guns and cause fights, does the government have a compelling interest in regulating their expressive conduct more carefully than it’d be able to otherwise? This is not any one judge’s fault. It is a failure of our First Amendment jurisprudence to reckon with our Second Amendment reality.
Charlottesville proves that this issue is hardly theoretical anymore.”

“This conflict between the right to bear arms and the right to free speech is nothing new, but the sudden surge in white nationalist activism has made it painfully obvious that, in the public square, the right to bear arms tends to trump the right to free speech.”

“The result is an alarming form of censorship: Nonviolent demonstrators lose their right to assemble and express their ideas because the police are too apprehensive to shield them from violence. The right to bear arms overrides the right to free speech. And when protesters dress like militia members and the police are confused about who is with whom, chaos is inevitable.”

“It’s perfectly reasonable for courts to consider the speech-suppressing potential of guns when evaluating a city’s efforts to keep the peace. And it will be perfectly lethal if they fail to take the Second Amendment reality into account, as they reflect upon the values we seek to protect with the First.”
The core problem posed for freedom of speech by guns is expressed succinctly by Siva Vaidhyanathan in his piece for the New York Times (“Why the Nazis Came to Charlottesville”): “There is no ‘free speech’ if anyone brandishes firearms to intimidate those they despise. You can’t argue with the armed.”

An armed society is an unfree society.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Explaining Canadian Exceptionalism

Joe Heath (of the University of Toronto) has an interesting post on ‘Canadian exceptionalism’ at the In Due Course blog.

‘Canadian exceptionalism’, roughly, refers to the absence of any significant anti-immigrant or anti-diversity sentiment—and the consequent absence of a nativist or right-wing populist political movement—in Canada.

The post has the virtue of identifying institutional, geographic, and policy factors that help explain this exceptionalism, rather than appealing to some kind of amorphous 'spirit of toleration' that makes us Canucks so welcoming. More specifically, Heath identifies the following factors as relevant: (a) the existence of very little illegal immigration to Canada; (b) the policy of bringing people in from all over the world; (c) a political system that encourages moderation; (d) the policy of including immigrants within the larger nation-building project; and (e) the institutional protection of the majority cultures (French and English) throughout the process.

Happy (belated) Canada Day!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Interview with Elizabeth Anderson on Private Government

There is an interesting interview at Jacobin with Elizabeth Anderson on her new book, Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk about it). 

I especially liked these passages:
Fundamentally, egalitarians care about eliminating oppressive social hierarchy, including relations of domination and subordination under which subordinates can be arbitrarily subject to humiliating and oppressive conditions, and arbitrary restraints on their freedom.
[L]ibertarians and the politicians associated with them, such as those in the House Freedom Caucus, blindly repeat ideas from Smith, Paine, and Lincoln, not recognizing that they thought markets would liberate workers precisely by liberating them from the oppressive authority of employers. They continue to advance Paine’s and Lincoln’s promise of self-employment to any enterprising worker, but without being willing to give away the capital needed to realize that promise.
By contrast, Paine and Lincoln were rooted enough in reality to recognize that self-employment for the typical worker would be impossible if the state did not figure out ways to distribute capital to workers.
We are used to rhetoric that casts “government” as a threat to our liberties. By making it clear that the workplace is a form of government (that the state is not the only government that rules us), we can make clear how the authority that employers have over workers threatens their dignity and autonomy. By naming that government as “private” — that is, as kept private from the workers, as something employers claim is none of the workers’ business — we can make more vivid the fact that workers are laboring under arbitrary, unaccountable dictatorships.
I'm really looking forward to reading Liz's book!

(Disclosure: Prof. Anderson co-supervised my dissertation at the University of Michigan many years ago.)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Political Utopias: Contemporary Debates

I’m delighted to have received my contributor’s copy of Political Utopias: Contemporary Debates, edited by Michael Weber and Kevin Vallier. The other contributors are: David Estlund, Gerald Gaus, Pablo Gilabert, Alexander Guerrero, Keith Hankins, Robert B. Talisse, Rosa Terlazzo, Laura Valentini, Danielle Wenner, and David Wiens.

Here is the description from the Oxford University Press website:
Political theory, from antiquity to the present, has been divided over the relationship between the requirements of justice and the limitations of persons and institutions to meet those requirements. Some theorists hold that a theory of justice should be utopian or idealistic--that the derivation of the correct principles of justice should not take into account human and institutional limitations. Others insist on a realist or non-utopian view, according to which feasibility--facts about what is possible given human and institutional limitations--is a constraint on principles of justice. In recent years, the relationship between the ideal and the real has become the subject of renewed scholarly interest. This anthology aims to represent the contemporary state of this classic debate. By and large, contributors to the volume deny that the choice between realism and idealism is binary. Rather, there is a continuum between realism and idealism that locates these extremes of each view at opposite poles. The contributors, therefore, tend to occupy middle positions, only leaning in the ideal or non-ideal direction. Together, their contributions not only represent a wide array of attractive positions in the new literature on the topic, but also collectively advance how we understand the difference between idealism and realism itself.
I’m pretty happy with the final version of my contribution (“Why Public Reasoning Involves Ideal Theorizing”). But the first draft of the paper, which I presented at the conference on Political Utopias at BGSU three years ago, was (to put it mildly) very rough. In fact, I thought that the presentation was a disaster, and contemplated (at least for a few hours) leaving academia forever. Thanks to helpful and friendly feedback at the conference, though, as well as at a subsequent presentation (at the APT), and from friends and colleagues kind enough to comment on later drafts (as well as anonymous referees for OUP), I feel pretty ‘okay’ with the published version of the essay. The whole experience was a helpful reminder of how vital exposing one’s ideas to others for critical feedback is for improving one’s philosophical work.

Here is the abstract for my paper:
Why Public Reasoning Involves Ideal Theorizing 
Some theorists—including Elizabeth Anderson, Gerald Gaus, and Amartya Sen—endorse versions of “public reason” as the appropriate way to justify political decisions while rejecting “ideal theory.” The chapter proposes that these ideas are not easily separated. The idea of public reason expresses a form of mutual “civic” respect for citizens. Public reason justifications for political proposals are addressed to citizens who would find acceptable those justifications, and consequently would comply freely with those proposals should they become law. Hence public reasoning involves “local ideal theorizing”: the justification of political proposals includes their consideration and evaluation under conditions of compliance with them by the citizens to whom those justifications are addressed. Local ideal theorizing, moreover, can lead to “full ideal theorizing,” wherein citizens outline and evaluate an amended version of their society’s “basic structure.” This argument is illustrated by some recent empirical work on inequality within the United States.
Finally, the book’s cover is quite beautiful (the image is from Thomas More’s original Utopia).

Kudos to Kevin and Michael on putting together such an excellent volume!

Monday, April 10, 2017

The best coverage of Trump is from political satirists

I’ve been a great fan of political satire for as long as I can remember. But one thing that has become increasingly clear since Trump won the electoral college vote for the presidency last November 8th, is that the most informative and critical coverage of the Trump regime in the United States has been coming from political satirists (such as Seth Meyers, Samantha Bee, and Stephen Colbert) rather than from mainstream news outlets (like CNN or even NPR).

The reason is simple: news outlets see themselves as neutrally ‘reporting’ the news, including manifest nonsense like Trump’s claims regarding massive voter fraud or Trump’s tweets alleging that President Obama wire-tapped Trump tower, whereas satirists are free to call Trump’s bullshit “bullshit.”

This Vox article—“ Comedians have figured out the trick to covering Trump”—by Carlos Maza does a fine job of explaining this point. (There is a longer, funnier video version of the article here.)

I’ve especially been impressed with Seth Meyers’ “A Closer Look” pieces on Trump, which I watch regularly on the 'YouTube.'

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Public Reason seminar (UWM Philosophy MA program)

Some colleagues at other universities have expressed interest in seeing my syllabus for the seminar on public reason that I am teaching this term, so I thought that I would post it here. Below I have provided the course description and the schedule of readings (I did not bother to post course assignments and the like, as I assume that they would be of little interest to people not taking the course).

Of note are the numerous optional readings. I do not expect students to read most (if any) of them. I include them more for my own sake, to remind myself of relevant material at a glance so that I can advise (with no delay) students who wish to explore certain topics beyond the required readings.

I also should explain why I've included so many of my own articles. The reason is not (simply) arrogance. The seminar meets for 2.5 hours each week, and I usually lecture for the first hour. Since my lectures draw on my own work, I thought it reasonable to give students access to my 'lecture notes' on the relevant topics. Moreover, I'm currently writing a book on public reason, so I thought that I would encourage my students to respond critically to the articles that I'll be drawing upon for that book. Doing so has pedagogic merit, I think, for graduate students (as well as helping me!).

Finally, my apologies for the slightly wonky formatting of the reading schedule. In 'cutting-and-pasting' from my syllabus, some of the spacing got messed up. My attempts to fix it in Blogger made things even worse, so I've left it the way it is.

Okay, preliminary comments out of the way, below is the course description and reading schedule...

[A green Rawls somewhere in Quebec City (I think)]

Course Overview

Citizens in contemporary liberal democratic societies endorse a plurality of religious, moral, and philosophical doctrines. This pluralism cannot be eliminated without the exercise of politically oppressive power—something that liberalism’s principle of toleration rules out. Yet accommodating this pluralism seems to threaten the ideal of consensual democratic decision-making. This is because decisions regarding deeply contested political issues—for instance, what the laws should be concerning abortion, education, physician-assisted suicide, same-sex marriage, and so forth—seem to involve citizens imposing political positions drawn from their respective religious, moral, and philosophical doctrines upon one another. In recent decades, however, theories of ‘public reason’ have been developed to explain how citizens within pluralist societies can make mutually acceptable political decisions. The idea of public reason thus purports to harmonize the principle of liberal toleration with the ideal of democratic self-government.  

This course will explore the two most influential contemporary accounts of public reason. The first is the ‘consensus’ account of John Rawls, according to which public reasons are reasons that reasonable citizens agree should apply to their common political and economic institutions. The second is the ‘convergence’ account of Gerald Gaus, according to which the reasons that citizens should use to decide political questions need not be shared so long as those reasons converge in support of common political decisions. Some of the main criticisms of both accounts of public reason also will be discussed. We will conclude by considering briefly some of the educational implications of ‘public reason liberalism.’

Schedule of Required Readings  

0.         Introductory Meeting (Jan. 26th)

            Required readings:
o       No required readings.

            Optional readings:
o       J. Quong (2013) “Public Reason,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (accessible at: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/public-reason/).
o       K. Vallier and F. D’Agostine (2013) “Public Justification,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (accessible at: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/justification-public/).
o       L. Wenar (2017) “John Rawls,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, §§1-4 (accessible at: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rawls/).
o       B. Neufeld (2015) “Public Reason,” in J. Mandle and D. Reidy (eds.) The Cambridge Rawls Lexicon (Cambridge University Press), pp.666-672.

1.         Justice as Fairness and its Stability  (Feb. 2nd)

Required readings:
o       J. Rawls (1999) A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition (Harvard Univ. Press):
§  From Part One: §§1-4, 11, 20, 24, 26 (i.e., pp.3-19, 52-56, 102-105, 118-123, 130-139).
§  From Part Two: §40 (i.e., pp.221-227).
§  From Part Three: chapters VIII and IX (i.e., pp.397-514).
            Optional readings:
o       S. Freeman (2008) “Original Position,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, §§1-6 (accessible at: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/original-position/).
o       J. Rawls (1999) A Theory of Justice, chapter VII (can skip §62).
o       P. Weithman (2010) Why Political Liberalism? On John Rawls’s Political Turn (Oxford University Press), chapter II (pp.42-67).
2.         Political Liberalism and the Idea of Public Reason (Feb. 9th)

Required readings:
o       J. Rawls (2005), Political Liberalism: Expanded Edition (Columbia University Press), “Introduction to the Paperback Edition” (pp.xxxv-lx).
o       J. Rawls (1997) “The Idea of Public Reason Revisited,” The University of Chicago Law Review 64/3: 765-807.
§  Republished in: J. Rawls (2005), Political Liberalism, pp.440-490.

Recommended reading (required for graduate students):
o       J. Rawls (1995) “Reply to Habermas,” The Journal of Philosophy 92/3: 132-180.
§  Republished in: J. Rawls (2005), Political Liberalism, pp.372-434.

            Optional readings:
o       J. Rawls (2001) Justice as Fairness: A Restatement (Harvard University Press), Part I (esp. pp.1-38).
o       J. Rawls (2005) Political Liberalism, Lectures I, II, III, IV, VI.
o       B. Barry (1995), “John Rawls and the Search for Stability,” Ethics 105, pp.874-915.
o       B. Dreben (2003), “On Rawls and Political Liberalism,” in The Cambridge Companion to Rawls (Cambridge University Press), pp. 316-346.
o       G. Gaus (2014) “The Turn to Political Liberalism,” in J. Mandle and D. Reidy (eds.) The Blackwell Companion to Rawls (Wiley-Blackwell), pp.235-50.
o       J. Habermas (1995) “Reconciliation Through the Public Use of Reason: Remarks on John Rawls’s Political Liberalism,” The Journal of Philosophy 92, pp.109-131.
o       L. Krasnoff (1998), “Consensus, Stability and Normativity in Rawls’s Political Liberalism,” The Journal of Philosophy 95, pp.269-292.
o       M. Nussbaum (2015) “Introduction,” in T. Brooks and M. Nussbaum (eds.) Rawls’s Political Liberalism (New York: Columbia University Press), pp.1-56.
o       M. Schwartzman (2004) “The Completeness of Public Reason,” Politics, Philosophy & Economics 3, pp.191-200.
o       P. Weithman, Why Political Liberalism, Introduction (pp.3-16), Ch. I (pp.17-41).
o       L. Wenar (1995) “Political Liberalism: An Internal Critique,” Ethics 106, pp.32-62.

3.         Justifying Public Reason (Feb. 16th)

            Required readings:
o       C. Larmore (1999), “The Moral Basis of Political Liberalism,” The Journal of Philosophy 94, pp. 599-625.
§  [Also in C. Larmore (2008), The Autonomy of Morality (CUP)]
o       P. Weithman (2010), Why Political Liberalism? Ch. XI (pp. 344-369).
o       B. Neufeld (2011), “Review of Paul Weithman, Why Political Liberalism?Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, especially part II (accessible at http://ndpr.nd.edu/news/27634-why-political-liberalism-on-john-rawls-s-political-turn/).
o       K. Ebels-Duggan (2010) “The Beginning of Community: Politics in the Face of Disagreement,” The Philosophical Quarterly 60, pp.50-71.

            Recommended reading:
o       C. Larmore (2015) “Political Liberalism: Its Motivations and Goals,” Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy 1, pp.63-88.

            Optional readings:
o       C. Bird (2014) “Coercion and Public Justification,” Politics, Philosophy & Economics 13, pp.189-214.
o       J. Boettcher (2007), “Respect, Recognition, and Public Reason,” Social Theory and Practice 33, pp.223-249.
o       J. Boettcher (2012), “The Moral Status of Public Reason,” The Journal of Political Philosophy 20, pp.156-177.
o       I. Carter (2011), “Respect and the Basis of Equality,” Ethics 121, pp.538-571.
o       L. Krasnoff (1998), “Consensus, Stability and Normativity in Rawls’s Political Liberalism,” The Journal of Philosophy 95, pp. 269-292.
o       A. Lister (2013) Public Reason and Political Community (London: Bloomsbury), especially ch.5.
o       B. Neufeld (2005), “Civic Respect, Political Liberalism, and Non-Liberal Societies,” Politics, Philosophy & Economics 4, pp.275-299.
o       M. Nussbaum (2011), “Perfectionist Liberalism and Political Liberalism,” Philosophy & Public Affairs 39, pp.3-45.
o       J. Quong (2011) Liberalism Without Perfection (Oxford: Oxford University Press), esp. ch.5.

4.         Public Reason and Feminism (Feb. 23rd)

            Required readings:
o       Re-read:
§  J. Rawls (1997/2005) “The Idea of Public Reason Revisited,” §5 (Rawls’s discussion of the family).
o       Susan M. Okin (2005) “‘Forty Acres and a Mule’ for Women: Rawls and Feminism,” Politics, Philosophy & Economics 4, pp.233-248.
o       Amy Baehr (2008), “Perfectionism, Feminism and Public Reason,” Law and Philosophy 27, pp. 193-222.
o       B. Neufeld and C.V. Schoelandt (2014). “Political Liberalism, Ethos Justice, and Gender Equality,” Law and Philosophy 33, pp.75-104.

Recommended reading:
o       C. Hartley and L. Watson (2009), “Feminism, Religion, and Shared Reasons: A Defense of Exclusive Public Reason,” Law and Philosophy 28, pp. 493-536.

            Optional readings:
o       R. Abbey (2007) “Back Toward a Comprehensive Liberalism? Justice as Fairness, Gender, and Families,” Political Theory 35, pp.5-28.
o       C. Brettschneider (2007) “The Politics of the Personal: A Liberal Approach,” American Political Science Review 101: 19-31.
o       Christie Hartley and Lori Watson, “Is a Feminist Political Liberalism Possible?” Journal of Ethics & Social Philosophy, www.jesp.org, (2010), 5/1.
o       A. Levey (2005) “Liberalism, Adaptive Preferences and Gender Equality,” Hypatia 20, pp.127-143.
o       S. A. Lloyd (1994) “Family Justice and Social Justice,” Pacific Philos. Quarterly 75: 353-71.
o       S. A. Lloyd (2004) “Toward a Liberal Theory of Sexual Equality,” in A. R. Baehr, ed., Varieties of Feminist Liberalism (Rowman & Littlefield), pp. 63-84.
o       B. Neufeld (2009) “Coercion, the Basic Structure, and the Family,” Journal of Social Philosophy 40: 37-54.
o       B. Neufeld (2011) “Susan Okin,” in D. K. Chatterjee, ed., Encyclopedia of Global Justice (Springer), 780-783 (read only the first two sections).
o       Martha Nussbaum (2003) “Rawls and Feminism,” in S. Freeman, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Rawls (Cambridge University Press).
o       S. Okin (1989) Justice, Gender, and the Family (Basic Books), Chs. 5 & 8.
o       S. Okin (1994) “Political Liberalism, Justice and Gender,” Ethics 105, pp.23-43.
o       G. Schouten (2013) “Restricting Justice: Political Intervention in the Home and in the Market,” Philosophy & Public Affairs 41, pp. 357-388.

5.         Public Reason and Religion (March 2nd)

            Required readings:
o       N. Wolterstorff (1997) “Why We Should Reject What Liberalism Tells Us About Speaking and Acting in Public for Religious Reasons,” in P. Weithman (ed.) Religion and Contemporary Liberalism (Univ. of Notre Dame Press), pp.162-181.
o       K. Vallier (2012) “Liberalism, Religion and Integrity,” Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90, pp.149-165.
o       C. Hartley and L. Watson (2017) “The Integrity Objection and the Case for Restraint” (draft chapter in Equal Citizenship and Public Reason: A Feminist Political Liberalism [Oxford University Press]).

            Optional readings:
o       C. Eberle (2002) Religious Conviction in Liberal Politics (New York: Cambridge University Press), esp. pp.294-330.
o       A. March (2015) “Rethinking the Public Use of Religious Reasons,” in T. Baily and V. Gentile (eds.) Rawls and Religion (Columbia University Press), pp.97-132.
o       P. Quinn (1997) “Political Liberalisms and Their Exclusions of the Religious,” in P. Weithman (ed.) Religion and Contemporary Liberalism (Univ. of Notre Dame Press), pp.138-61.
o       J. Quong, “Comments on Kevin Vallier’s Liberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation” (unpublished APA commentary).
o       K. Vallier (2014) Liberal Politics and Public Faith (Routledge), pp.45-82.
o       P. Weithman (2015) “Inclusivism, Stability, Assurance,” in T. Bailey and V. Gentile (eds.) Rawls and Religion (Columbia University Press), pp.75-96.
o       N. Wolterstorff (2007) “The Paradoxical Role of Coercion in the Theory of Political Liberalism,” Journal of Law, Philosophy and Culture 1, pp.101-25

6.        Public Reason and the Truth (March 9th)

            Required readings:
·       J. Raz (1998) “Disagreement in Politics,” American Journal of Jurisprudence 43, pp.25-52.
·       S. Freeman (2007) “Public Reason and Political Justification,” in Justice and the Social Contract: Essays on Rawlsian Political Philosophy (Oxford University Press), pp.215-256.
·       D. Estlund (1998), “The Insularity of the Reasonable: Why Political Liberalism Must Admit the Truth,” Ethics 108, pp. 252–75.

            Optional readings:
·       J. Cohen (2009), “Truth and Public Reason,” Philosophy & Public Affairs 37, pp. 2-42.
·       J. Quong (2011) Liberalism Without Perfection (Oxford: OUP), ch.8 (“Truth and Scepticism”).
·       J. Raz (1990), “Facing Diversity: The Case of Epistemic Abstinence,” Philosophy & Public Affairs 19, pp.3–46 (esp.3-15).
·       T. Scanlon (2003), “Rawls on Justification,” in The Cambridge Companion to Rawls (CUP), pp. 139-167.

7.         The Political Liberties and their ‘Fair Value’ (March 16th)

            Required readings:
o       John Rawls (2005) “The Basic Liberties and Their Priority,” in Rawls, Political Liberalism, Exp. Ed. (Columbia Univ. Press), pp.289-371—esp. §§6-7 (pp.315-31).
o       Steven Wall (2006) “Rawls and the Status of Political Liberty,” Pacific Phil. Quarterly 87, pp.245-270.
o       Meena Krishnamurthy (2013) “Completing Rawls’s arguments for equal political liberty and its fair value: the argument from self-respect,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43, pp.179-205.

            Recommended reading:
o       J. Rawls (1995) “Reply to Habermas,” §§3-4 (pp.396-421 in PL).
o       Meena Krishnamurthy (2012) “Reconceiving Rawls’s Arguments for Equal Political Liberty and its Fair Value: on Our Higher-Order Interests,” Social Theory and Practice 38, pp.258-78.

            Optional readings:
o       C. Brettschneider (2006) “The Value Theory of Democracy,” Politics, Philosophy & Economics 5: 259-278.
o       H. Brighouse (1997) “Political Equality in Justice as Fairness,” Philosophical Studies 86, pp. 155-184.
o       J. Cohen (2003) “For a Democratic Society,” in The Cambridge Companion to Rawls, ed. S. Freeman (Cambridge University Press), pp. 86-138.
o       N. Daniels (1989[1975]) “Equal Liberty and Unequal Worth of Liberty,” Reading Rawls, ed. Norman Daniels (Blackwell), pp. 253-81.
o       A. Gutmann (2003) “Rawls on the Relationship between Liberalism and Democracy,” in The Cambridge Companion to Rawls, ed. S. Freeman (CUP), pp.168-199.
o       H.L.A. Hart (1973) “Rawls on Liberty and its Priority,” The University of Chicago Law Review 40, pp.534-55.
o       B. Neufeld (2017) “Freedom, Money, and Justice as Fairness,” Politics, Philosophy & Economics (forthcoming).
o       R. Taylor (2003) “Rawls’s Defense of the Priority of Liberty: A Kantian Reconstruction,” Philosophy & Public Affairs 31: 246-271.

8.         The Convergence Account of Public Justification (March 30th)

            Required Readings:
o       G. Gaus and K. Vallier (2009) “The Roles of Religious Conviction in a Publicly Justified Polity: The Implications of Convergence, Asymmetry, and Political Institutions,” Philosophy & Social Criticism 35, pp.51-76.
o       G. Gaus (2010) “Coercion, Ownership, and the Redistributive State: Justificatory Liberalism’s Classical Tilt,” Social Philosophy & Policy 27, pp.233-75.

            Optional Reading:
o       G. Gaus (2011), The Order of Public Reason (Cambridge University Press), especially:
§  Ch.1, pp.1-51, Conclusion to Ch.2, p.100, Conclusion to Ch.3, p.181, Sec. 10, pp.163-182, Sec. 13, pp. 232-258, Ch.5, pp.261-287, 293-305, 310-333, Ch.6, pp.334-388, Ch.7, pp.390-392, 400-403, 410, 413-417, 425-447, Ch.8, pp. 448-550.
o       K. Vallier (2014) Liberal Politics and Public Faith (Routledge).

9.         Convergence Public Justification, Coercion, & Classical Liberalism (April 6th)

            Required Readings:
o       G.A. Cohen (2011) “Freedom and Money” in G. A. Cohen, On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice (Princeton University Press), pp.166-99.
o       A. Lister (2012) “The Classical Tilt of Justificatory Liberalism,” European Journal of Political Theory 12, pp.316-326.
o       J. Boettcher (2014) “Against the Asymmetric Convergence Model of Public Justification,” Ethical Theory and Moral Practice (online early version: DOI 10.1007/s10677-014-9519-7).
o       K. Vallier (2016) “In Defense of the Asymmetric Convergence Model of Public Justification,” Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19, pp.255-266.

            Optional Readings:
o       A. Lister (2010) “Public Justification and the Limits of State Action,” Politics, Philosophy & Economics 9, pp.151-175.
o       M. Lister (2011) “Review of The Order of Public Reason,” Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews [http://ndpr.nd.edu/news/24757-the-order-of-public-reason-a-theory-of-freedom-and-morality-in-a-diverse-and-bounded-world/], esp. the final 7 paragraphs (from “In the final section of the book…” onwards).
o       G. Gaus (2010) “On Two Critics of Justificatory Liberalism: A Response to Wall and Lister,” Politics, Philosophy & Economics 9, pp.177-212.

10.       Public Reason, Assurance, and Stability: The Consensus View (April 20th)

            Required Readings:
o       P. Weithman (2015) “Inclusivism, Stability, Assurance,” in T. Bailey and V. Gentile (eds.) Rawls and Religion (Columbia University Press), pp.75-96.
o       G. Hadfield and S. Macedo (2012) “Rational Reasonableness,” Law and Ethics of Human Rights 6, pp.7-46.
o       A. Lister (2017) “Public Reason and Reciprocity,” Journal of Political Philosophy (forthcoming).

            Optional Readings:
o       J. Rawls (2001) Justice as Fairness: A Restatement, Part V (pp.180-202).
o       P. Weithman (2011) Why Political Liberalism?, ‘Introduction’ (pp. 3-16), Ch. IX (270-300), Ch. X (301-343)

11.        Public Reason, Assurance, and Stability: The Convergence View (April 27th)

            Required Readings:
o       G. Gaus (2011) “A Tale of Two Sets: Public Reason in Equilibrium,” Public Affairs Quarterly 25, pp.305-325.
o       J. Thrasher and K. Vallier (2014)  “The Fragility of Consensus: Public Reason, Diversity and Stability,” The European Journal of Philosophy 21.

12.       Realizing Citizens’ Political Autonomy: Convergence vs. Consensus (May 4th)

Required Readings:
o       K. Vallier (2016) “Public Justification vs. Public Deliberation: The Case for Divorce,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45, pp.139-158.
o       P. Weithman (2011) “Convergence and Political Autonomy,” Public Affairs Quarterly 25, pp.327-348.
o       B. Neufeld (2017) “Rousseauian Public Reasoning” (draft paper).

            Optional reading:
o       J. Rawls (1995) “Reply to Habermas,” §§3-4 (pp.396-421 in PL).

13.       Public Reason Liberalism and Citizenship Education (May 11th)

            Required Readings:
o       A. Gutmann (1995) “Civic Education and Social Diversity,” Ethics 105, pp.64-88.
o       G. Davis and B. Neufeld (2007) “Political Liberalism, Civic Education, and Educational Choice,” Social Theory and Practice 43, pp.47-74.
o       K. Vallier (2014) Liberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation (Routledge), ch.7 (“Reconciliation in Policy—Public Education”), pp.225-254.

            Recommended Reading:
o       B. Neufeld (2013) “Political Liberalism and Citizenship Education,” Philosophy Compass 8/9, pp.781-797.

            Optional Readings:
o       E. Callan (1996) “Political Liberalism and Political Education,”’ Review of Politics 58, pp.5-33.
o       E. Callan (1997) Creating Citizens: Political Education and Liberal Democracy (Oxford: OUP).
o       V. M. Costa (2011) Rawls, Citizenship, and Education (New York: Routledge).
o       K. Ebels-Duggan (2013) “Moral Education in the Liberal State,” Journal of Practical Ethics 1, pp.24-63.
o       E. Edenberg (2016) “Civic Education: Political or Comprehensive?” in J. Drerup, et al. (eds.) Justice, Education and the Politics of Childhood (Springer), pp.187-206.
o       C. Fernández and M. Sundström (2011) “Citizenship Education and Liberalism: A State of the Debate Analysis 1990-2010,” Studies in Philosophy and Education 30, pp.363-84.
o       S. Macedo (2000) Diversity and Distrust: Civic Education in a Multicultural Democracy (Harvard University Press).
o       B. Neufeld and G. Davis (2010) “Civic Respect, Civic Education, and the Family,” Educational Philosophy and Theory 42, pp.94-111.

Additional Topics:
(These topics could not be covered in class due to time. However, students may write papers on them if they wish.)

14.       Sincerity and Convergence Public Justification

            Required readings:
o       M. Schwartzman (2011) “The Sincerity of Public Reason,” The Journal of Political Philosophy 19, pp.375-398.
o       J. Quong (2011) Liberalism Without Perfection (Oxford University Press), ch. 9 (“The Scope and Structure of Public Reason”), pp.256-289.
o       K. Vallier (2014) Liberal Politics and Public Faith (Routledge), ch.4 (“Convergence—One Problem, Many Solutions”), pp.103-144.

            Optional reading:
o       E. Markovits (2006) “The Trouble with Being Earnest: Deliberative Democracy and the Sincerity Norm,” Journal of Political Philosophy 14, pp.249-269.

15.       Debating Convergence Public Justification

Required Readings:
o       D. Enoch (2013) “The Disorder of Public Reason,” Ethics 124, pp.141-76.
o       G. Gaus (2015) “On Dissing Public Reason: A Reply to Enoch,” Ethics 125, pp.1078-95.