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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

The Fragility Of Consensus: Public Reason, Diversity And Stability, John Thrasher, Kevin Vallier May 2013

The Fragility Of Consensus: Public Reason, Diversity And Stability, John Thrasher, Kevin Vallier

Philosophy Faculty Articles and Research

John Rawls's transition from A Theory of Justice to Political Liberalism was driven by his rejection of Theory's account of stability. The key to his later account of stability is the idea of public reason. We see Rawls's account of stability as an attempt to solve a mutual assurance problem. We maintain that Rawls's solution fails because his primary assurance mechanism, in the form of public reason, is fragile. His conception of public reason relies on a condition of consensus that we argue is unrealistic in modern, pluralistic democracies. After rejecting Rawls's conception of public ...


Uniqueness And Symmetry In Bargaining Theories Of Justice, John Thrasher Mar 2013

Uniqueness And Symmetry In Bargaining Theories Of Justice, John Thrasher

Philosophy Faculty Articles and Research

For contractarians, justice is the result of a rational bargain. The goal is to show that the rules of justice are consistent with rationality. The two most important bargaining theories of justice are David Gauthier’s and those that use the Nash’s bargaining solution. I argue that both of these approaches are fatally undermined by their reliance on a symmetry condition. Symmetry is a substantive constraint, not an implication of rationality. I argue that using symmetry to generate uniqueness undermines the goal of bargaining theories of justice.