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

See all articles by Henrik Friberg‐Fernros

Henrik Friberg‐Fernros

University of Gothenburg - Department of Political Science

Johan Karlsson Schaffer

University of Gothenburg - School of Global Studies; University of Oslo - Faculty of Law

Date Written: May 5, 2021

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Friberg-Fernros, Henrik and Karlsson Schaffer, Johan, Treating the truth as a matter of fact: An epistemic alternative to public reason (May 5, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3326405 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3326405

Henrik Friberg-Fernros

University of Gothenburg - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 711
Göteborg, S-405 30
Sweden

Johan Karlsson Schaffer (Contact Author)

University of Gothenburg - School of Global Studies ( email )

POB 700
Gothenburg, SE 40530
Sweden

University of Oslo - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 6706 St Olavsplass
Oslo, 0130
Norway

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
20
Abstract Views
532
PlumX Metrics