Religion and Public Reason in the United States and the Muslim World
18 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 25 Aug 2010
Date Written: June 28, 2006
In this paper, we study a theoretical aspect of the relationship between democracy and Islam. We examine to what extent defining democracy in terms of public reason facilitates the rooting of democracy in Islamic thought. To that end, we derive three different definitions of public reason, then we determine their respective relationship with the Islamic conception of public reason: the shura (consultation). This leads us to explain a possible connection between rational justification and religious justification. Finally, we specify the type of rationality required by democracy, and we examine whether it can find an echo in contemporary Islamic thought.
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Keywords: Islam, democracy, public reason, religious justification, rational justification
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