I am a Doctoral Candidate in Philosophy, with special interest in public reason liberalism, normative disagreement and democratic theory.
My thesis aims to clarify the content and grounds of reasonable disagreement that characterizes liberal democratic societies, and some of its normative significance for design of political institutions and legitimate public policies. In doing so, I embrace central tenets of ‘Public Reason Liberalism’ (PRL) - and much of it standard prescripts: (a) recognizing the disagreement as both doctrinally deep and pervasive, (b) recognizing the restriction on the reasons permissible in justificatory context and (c) recognizing deliberative democracy as both a way to facilitate and further the practice of public justification and as a plausible strategy for adjudicating those rights and policy disagreements that extend to public forum.
Still, I diverge from the dominant tradition on two (related) points: (1) I argue that aside from sharing aforementioned substantive moral commitments, reasonable citizens are also ‘epistemically diligent’ - they adhere to epistemically justified points of view, they endorse those modes of reasoning (and acquiring evidence) that enjoy qualified inter-subjective recognition and they feel ‘at pressure’ to accommodate well-established scientific claims within their comprehensive world-views; (2) As a consequence, reasonable disagreement is a disagreement between justified points of view. This introduces an epistemic rationale for PRL. The very existence of such (somewhat idealized) disagreement, coupled with general human susceptibility to fallacious and biased reasoning, provide 2nd order reasons for reducing the credence with which adherents of different doctrines hold their views. These reasons becomes especially pertinent in those circumstances where one’s actions might put others in harm’s way – and exercise of political power can and frequently does so. In such circumstances, citizens ought to refer to those justificatory claims that they share with others, provided that these exist and suffice for voicing one’s morally pressing concerns.