Treating the truth as a matter of fact: An epistemic alternative to public reason
36 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2019 Last revised: 5 May 2021
Date Written: May 5, 2021
How should the state justify its coercive rules? Public reason liberalism endorses an acceptability requirement: justifications offered for authoritative regulations must be acceptable to all members of the relevant public. However, as a criterion of legitimacy, the acceptability requirement is epistemically unreliable: It prioritizes neither the exclusion of false beliefs nor the inclusion of true beliefs in justifications of political rules. This paper presents an epistemic alternative to the acceptability requirement. Employing epistemological theories of argumentation, we demonstrate how this approach enables assessing the epistemic quality of justifications of political rules, even when the truth is difficult to establish.
Keywords: Argumentation theory, disagreement, epistemic reliability, epistemology, justification, liberalism, public reason
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