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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 ...


Chieftaincy-Based Community Dispute Resolution: The Case Of Sierra Leone, Whitney Mcintyre Miller Apr 2013

Chieftaincy-Based Community Dispute Resolution: The Case Of Sierra Leone, Whitney Mcintyre Miller

Education Faculty Articles and Research

Sierra Leone suffered a destructive 11-year civil war that largely left its communities torn apart and in need of vast redevelopment. One of the ways that communities are rebuilding and making efforts to move forward is through the chieftaincy-based community dispute resolution process. Based on historical norms, this process involves the community leader, or chief, helping to resolve disputes within the community. This article reviews this chieftaincy-based community dispute resolution process, discusses the types of disputes settled, and provides broader lessons learned for communities who may be interested in truly community-based dispute resolution.


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.