Consensus, Convergence, and Strategic Public Reasoning

21 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2018 Last revised: 13 Jul 2019

See all articles by Brian Kogelmann

Brian Kogelmann

University of Arizona - Department of Philosophy

Benjamin Ogden

Texas A&M University, Department of Political Science

Date Written: July 12, 2019

Abstract

Theories of public reason hold that authoritative commands are justified if all who are subject to such commands have reason to accept them. Beyond this, public reason theories differ. Consensus public reason liberals hold that persons must have the same reason for endorsing the commands they live under. Convergence public reason liberals hold that persons may have different reasons for accepting the commands. Strikingly, there is little examination of the effects these theories of public reason have in terms of likely policy outcomes. This paper develops a game theoretic model of consensus and convergence theories of public reason. The model finds a genuine trade-off between the two theories. Convergence public reason gives too much power to the (potentially arbitrary) agenda setter, while consensus public reason has a tendency to over-implement unjust reforms. These results inform where public reason liberals should focus their attention when debating accounts of public justification. 

Keywords: Cheap Talk, Deliberative Democracy, Epistemic Democracy, Public Reason, Strategic Communication

Suggested Citation

Kogelmann, Brian and Ogden, Benjamin, Consensus, Convergence, and Strategic Public Reasoning (July 12, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2862013 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2862013

Brian Kogelmann

University of Arizona - Department of Philosophy ( email )

Tucson, AZ 85721
United States

Benjamin Ogden (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University, Department of Political Science

College Station, TX 77843-4353
United States

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