Sunday, December 02, 2012

Papers by Fabienne Peter on Political Liberalism and Deliberation

Two new papers by Fabienne Peter are now available online:

* "Epistemic Foundations of Political Liberalism" [pdf]
(Journal of Moral Philosophy, forthcoming)

"In a nutshell, I shall argue that the significance of public justification can be explained by the possibility of reasonable disagreement. In a reasonable disagreement, the parties hold mutually incompatible beliefs, but each is justified to hold the belief they do. I shall use the notion of a reasonable disagreement to explain the possibility of an irreducible pluralism of moral and religious doctrines and, on that basis, why the justification of political institutions has to be public. My argument assumes moral realism. I accept the metaphysical claim that there are fundamental moral and/or religious truths that exist independently of our attitudes. So my argument is not based simply on the dismissal of the metanormative claims made by some of Rawls’ critics. Instead I will show that the possibility of reasonable disagreements about fundamental moral and religious beliefs implies that the received understanding of justification is not sufficient for establishing political legitimacy."

"The paper is organized as follows. In section 2 I give a brief characterization of political liberalism. I shall focus on Rawls’ Political Liberalism, the most influential articulation of the idea.But what I shall have to say in subsequent sections will not be limited to Rawls’ conception of it and in fact presents a way of thinking about political liberalism that differs from Rawls’ conception. I then present my epistemic argument for the significance of public justification. This argument is rooted in some premises from the epistemology of disagreement (section 3). I then draw out the implications of these premises for the realm of political normativity (section 4)."

* "The Procedural Epistemic Value of Deliberation" [pdf]
(Synthese, May 2012).

"Collective deliberation is fuelled by disagreements and its epistemic value depends, inter alia, on how the participants respond to each other in disagreements. I use this accountability thesis to argue that deliberation may be valued not just instrumentally but also for its procedural features. The instrumental epistemic value of deliberation depends on whether it leads to more or less accurate beliefs among the participants. The procedural epistemic value of deliberation hinges on the relationships of mutual accountability that characterize appropriately conducted deliberation. I will argue that it only comes into view from the second-person standpoint. I shall explain what the second-person standpoint in the epistemic context entails and how it compares to Stephen Darwall’s interpretation of the second-person standpoint in ethics."

Fabienne Peter is Associate Professor at the Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick. She is the author of "Democratic Legitimacy" (Routledge, 2008).

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