The Journal of Value Inquiry

, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 491–505 | Cite as

The Separateness of Persons: A Moral Basis for a Public Justification Requirement

  • Jason TyndalEmail author

In locating a possible moral basis for a requirement of public justification, public reason liberals frequently invoke the idea that persons should be construed as free and equal.1 On such a conception, individuals are said to be free insofar as we are not naturally subject to the authority of others; and we are equal to one another with regard to our free status.2 But this tells us little with respect to what it is about us that makes us free. Consequently, it remains unclear how a general claim about our status as free and equal persons acquires the normative punch needed to underwrite a requirement of public justification.

Perhaps one plausible way to normatively prop up the claim that individuals are free and equal is to appeal to our separateness as individuals. After all, it is a fact of life that individuals are metaphysically distinct from one another. This fact has a weighty influence on how many of us view our place in the world. We conceive of ourselves as having our own...


Public Reason Meaningful Life Normative Principle Normative Claim Descriptive Fact 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyTulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA

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