IP Guest Seminar

IP Guest Seminar
7 September 2018, 4.00pm - 5.30pm
Room 246, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Reasonableness: A Moral Threshold of Respect

Elizabeth Edenberg (Georgetown University)


Political liberalism seeks the basis for a just and stable society among free and equal persons in spite of deep disagreement about conceptions of the good—but only among those who are reasonable. Given its use as an inclusion criterion for the broader project of political liberalism, we need a clear understanding of why one qualifies (or fails to qualify) as reasonable. Reasonable pluralism should be accommodated, I argue, because qualifying as reasonable signifies that a basic moral threshold has been met. A reasonable person respects herself and her fellow citizens as free and equal and, in light of this respect, she seeks to engage in fair terms of cooperation in society. Disambiguating the scope-setting function of reasonableness from its other common uses leads to a significant shift in how the structure of political liberalism should be understood. Under this moral threshold view, qualifying as reasonable is independent of whether or not citizens embrace Rawlsian legitimacy.


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