Skip to main content Accessibility help

Public reason, non-public reasons, and the accessibility requirement

  • Jason Tyndal (a1)


In Liberalism without Perfection, Jonathan Quong develops what is perhaps the most comprehensive defense of the consensus model of public reason – a model which incorporates both a public-reasons-only requirement and an accessibility requirement framed in terms of shared evaluative standards. While the consensus model arguably predominates amongst public reason liberals, it is criticized by convergence theorists who reject both the public-reasons-only requirement and the accessibility requirement. In this paper, I argue that while we have good reason to reject Quong’s call for a public-reasons-only requirement, all public reason liberals should endorse at least some shared evaluative standards and, hence, an accessibility requirement.


Corresponding author

Jason Tyndal jason.tyndal@csn.eduCollege of Southern Nevada, 700 College Dr.Bldg B, #241, Henderson, NV89002, USA


Hide All
Audi, R. 2011. Democratic Authority and the Separation of Church and State. New York: Oxford University Press.
Billingham, P. 2016. “Convergence Justifications Within Political Liberalism: A Defence.” Res Publica 22 (2): 135153. doi:10.1007/s11158-015-9278-x.
Boettcher, J. 2012. “The Moral Status of Public Reason.” The Journal of Political Philosophy 20 (2): 156177. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9760.2010.00386.x.
Boettcher, J. 2015. “Against the Asymmetric Convergence Model of Public Justification.” Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (1): 191208. doi:10.1007/s10677-014-9519-7.
Carey, B. 2018. “Public Reason – Honesty, Not Sincerity.” The Journal of Political Philosophy 26 (1): 4764. doi:10.1111/jopp.2018.26.issue-1.
Eberle, C. 2002. Religious Conviction in Liberal Politics. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Eberle, C. 2009. “Basic Human Worth and Religious Restraint.” Philosophy & Social Criticism 35 (1–2): 151181. doi:10.1177/0191453708098759.
Eberle, C. 2011. “Consensus, Convergence, and Religiously Justified Coercion.” Public Affairs Quarterly 25 (4): 281303.
Freeman, S. 2007. Rawls. New York: Routledge.
Gaus, G. 2003. Contemporary Theories of Liberalism. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Gaus, G. 2004. “The Diversity of Comprehensive Liberalisms.” In Handbook of Political Theory, edited by Gaus, G. F. and Kukathas, C. 100–114. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Gaus, G. 2007. “On Justifying the Moral Rights of the Moderns: A Case of Old Wine in New Bottles.” In Liberalism: Old and New, edited by Ellen Frankel, F. D., M. Jr. and Paul, J.84119. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Gaus, G. 2010. “The Place of Religious Belief in Public Reason Liberalism.” In Multiculturalism and Moral Conflict, edited by Dimova-Cookson, M. and P. , M. R. Stirk 19–37.New York: Routledge.
Gaus, G. 2011. The Order of Public Reason. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Gaus, G. and Vallier, K.. 2009. “The Roles of Religious Conviction in a Publicly Justified Polity.” Philosophy & Social Criticism 35 (1–2): 5176. doi:10.1177/0191453708098754.
Hadfield, G. and Macedo, S.. 2012. “Rational Reasonableness: Toward a Positive Theory of Public Reason.” Law and Ethics of Human Rights 6 (1): 746. doi:10.1515/1938-2545.1066.
Kogelmann, B. and Stich, S.. 2016. “When Public Reason Fails Us: Convergence Discourse as Blood Oath.” American Political Science Review 110 (3): 717730. doi:10.1017/S0003055416000290.
North, R. 2012. “Public Reason, Religious Restraint and Respect.” Philosophia 40 (2): 179193. doi:10.1007/s11406-011-9349-y.
Pallikkathayil, J. 2017. “Resisting Rawlsian Political Liberalism.” Philosophy & Public Affairs 45 (4): 413426. doi:10.1111/papa.12103.
Quong, J. 2011. Liberalism without Perfection. New York: Oxford University Press.
Quong, J. 2013. “Public Reason.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Summer 2013 Edition.
Rawls, J. 1996. Political Liberalism. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Rawls, J. 1999. The Law of Peoples: with “The Idea of Public Reason Revisited”. In The Law of Peoples. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Scanlon, T. M. 1998. What We Owe to Each Other. Cambridge: Belknap.
Schwartzman, M. 2011. “The Sincerity of Public Reason.” The Journal of Political Philosophy 19 (4): 375398. doi:10.1111/jopp.2011.19.issue-4.
Thrasher, J. and Vallier, K.. 2015. “The Fragility of Consensus: Public Reason, Diversity, and Stability.” European Journal of Philosophy 23 (4): 933954. doi:10.1111/ejop.12020.
Tyndal, J. 2016. “Moderate Idealization and Information Acquisition Responsibilities.” Res Publica 22 (4): 445462. doi:10.1007/s11158-015-9295-9.
Vallier, K. 2011a. “Against Public Reason Liberalism’s Accessibility Requirement.” Journal of Moral Philosophy 8 (3): 366389. doi:10.1163/174552411X588991.
Vallier, K. 2011b. “Convergence and Consensus in Public Reason.” Public Affairs Quarterly 25 (4): 261280.
Vallier, K. 2014. Liberal Politics and Public Faith. New York: Routledge.
Vallier, K. 2016. “In Defense of the Asymmetric Convergence Model of Public Justification: A Reply to Boettcher.” Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (1): 255266. doi:10.1007/s10677-015-9605-5.
Weithman, P. 2010. Why Political Liberalism? New York: Oxford University Press.
Wolterstorff, N. 2012. Understanding Liberal Democracy, edited by Cuneo, T.. New York: Oxford University Press.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Public reason, non-public reasons, and the accessibility requirement

  • Jason Tyndal (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.