Public Reason

Gerald Gaus, Chad Van Schoelandt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


This article discusses various theories of, and problems for, publicly shared reasons and reasoning. The Enlightenment ideal that a common basis of reasoning, such as scientific method, faces a number of modern challenges that are discussed. These challenges include those of cultural diversity, the view in philosophy of science that different epistemic values must be weighed as the data always underdetermines theory, and the reasonable moral pluralism that arises from what Rawls calls the 'burdens of judgment.' Attempts discussed include appeal to common core of epistemic norms, the prerequisites of mutual understanding, shared liberal-democratic commitments, and convergence on social norms with diverse justifications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780080970875
ISBN (Print)9780080970868
StatePublished - Mar 26 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Democracy
  • Diversity
  • Gerald Gaus
  • John Rawls
  • Jürgen Habermas
  • Liberalism
  • Pluralism
  • Political liberalism
  • Political philosophy
  • Public justification
  • Public reason
  • Rationality
  • Relativism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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