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http://ssrn.com/abstract=2232789
 
 

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Legitimacy, Democracy and Public Justification: Rawls’ Political Liberalism vs Gaus’ Justificatory Liberalism


Enzo Rossi


University of Amsterdam

November 10, 2012

Res Publica (2014) (Forthcoming)

Abstract:     
Public justification-based accounts of liberal legitimacy rely on the idea that a polity’s basic structure should, in some sense, be acceptable to its citizens. In this paper I discuss the prospects of that approach through the lens of Gerald Gaus’ critique of John Rawls’ paradigmatic account of democratic public justification. I argue that Gaus does succeed in pointing out some significant problems for Rawls’ political liberalism; yet his alternative, justificatory liberalism, is not voluntaristic enough to satisfy the desiderata of a genuinely democratic theory of public justification. Moreover I contend that — pace Gaus — rather than simply amending political liberalism, the claims of justificatory liberalism cast serious doubts on the sustainability of the project of grounding liberal-democratic legitimacy through the idea of public justification.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 28

Keywords: Rawls, Gaus, Public Justification, Public Reason, Legitimacy, Liberalism

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Date posted: March 15, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Rossi, Enzo, Legitimacy, Democracy and Public Justification: Rawls’ Political Liberalism vs Gaus’ Justificatory Liberalism (November 10, 2012). Res Publica (2014) (Forthcoming). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2232789

Contact Information

Enzo Rossi (Contact Author)
University of Amsterdam ( email )
Department of Political Science
Oudezijds Achterburgwal 237
Amsterdam, 1012 DL
Netherlands
HOME PAGE: http://uva.academia.edu/EnzoRossi
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