Monday, December 31, 2018

A Feminist Political Liberalism

Equal Citizenship and Public Reason
A Feminist Political Liberalism

by Christie Hartley & Lori Watson

(Oxford University Press, 2018)


This book is a defense of political liberalism as a feminist liberalism. The first half of the book develops and defends a novel interpretation of political liberalism. It is argued that political liberals should accept a restrictive account of public reason and that political liberals' account of public justification is superior to the leading alternative, the convergence account of public justification. The view is defended from the charge that such a restrictive account of public reason will unduly threaten or undermine the integrity of some religiously oriented citizens and an account of when political liberals can recognize exemptions, including religious exemptions, from generally applicable laws is offered. In the second half of the book, it is argued that political liberalism's core commitments restrict all reasonable conceptions of justice to those that secure genuine, substantive equality for women and other marginalized groups. Here it is demonstrated how public reason arguments can be used to support law and policy needed to address historical sites of women's subordination in order to advance equality; prostitution, the gendered division of labor and marriage, in particular, are considered.

Contents [preview]


Part One: Equal Citizenship and Public Reason

1. The Role of Ideal Theory
2. The Moral Foundation of Public Justification and Public Reason
3. Exclusive Public Reason
4. Integrity and the Case for Restraint [paper]
5. Religious Exemptions

Part Two: Feminist Political Liberalism

6. Is a Feminist Political Liberalism Possible? [paper, 2010]
7. Prostitution and Public Reason [paper, 2007]
8. Social Norms, Choice and Work
9. Marriage [lecture, 2016]


Christie Hartley is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Georgia State University.

Lori Watson is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at the University of San Diego.

Three related papers by the authors:

* Christie Hartley & Lori Watson - "Is a Feminist Political Liberalism Possible?" (2010).

* Lori Watson - "Toward a Feminist Theory of Justice: Political liberalism and Feminist Method" (2010).

* Christie Hartley & Lori Watson - "Integrity and the Case for Restraint" (2015). 

A video of Christie Hartley's lecture on "Feminism, Political Liberalism, and Marriage", March 10, 2016 at the Loyola University.

See also:

*Ruth Abbey (ed.) - Feminist Interpretations of John Rawls (Penn State University Press, 2013). Preview here. Abbey's introduction here. A review here and here.

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