The Journal of Value Inquiry

, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 321–339 | Cite as

Reasonableness, Pluralism, and Liberal Moral Doctrines

  • Allyn FivesEmail author


If there is, as it seems, deep and pervasive disagreement about what is right and good for us, as well as the nature of moral judgment, we may ask how political discussion can have any moral justification and how fellow citizens are to justify themselves and their proposals to each other in an era of pluralism. According to John Rawls, in a situation of moral pluralism, citizens should be reasonable.1 They should view each other as free and equal moral persons, and they should offer each other fair terms of social cooperation.2 Moreover, they should recognize and accept the consequences of the burdens of judgment, that differences between reasonable comprehensive doctrines have a morally innocent source, and therefore, that they should not try to attain a rational agreement on a single comprehensive doctrine.3It follows that in justifying a political conception, the reasons given to others are “reasons we might reasonably expect that they, as free and equal citizens,...


Public Reason Moral Truth Moral Justification Comprehensive Doctrine Political Conception 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Child and Family Research Centre, School of Political Science & SociologyNational University of Ireland, GalwayGalway Ireland

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