Jerry Gaus is the most important philosopher of public reason since John Rawls. His path-breaking work on this topic has deeply influenced a large group of moral and political philosophers, a group to which I happily belong. In this short paper I examine one feature of the account developed in his incredibly rich and illuminating book, The Order of Public Reason.
Gaus (2011), cited hereafter as ... [Show full abstract] OPR.
I argue Gaus�s theory struggles to resolve a crucial question: how can we be confident that public reason will yield a set of moral rules whose content is minimally acceptable?
Given pervasive disagreement about morality, how can we engage in the practice of morality�making demands on others and frequently enforcing those demands with coercive threats�in a way that also manages to respect others as free and equal interpreters of morality? One solution, which Gaus associates with Kant and Rawls, is to bracket all those beliefs or commitments that divide us, and construct a set of morality.