The Range of Justice (or, How to Retrieve Liberal Sectual Tolerance)
by Gerald Gaus
In his lead essay, Gerald Gaus argues that today’s political philosophy is a confused jumble of opposing factions with little prospect of consensus. He then proposes a way out of this “crisis of credibility”: We should recognize that there may be a range of institutions, each of which suffices to win our assent given the benefits that accrue from agreeing to any of them. Just as liberalism is a response to religious sectarianism, it can also be a response to philosophical sectarianism.
Toleration and Fundamentalism: Comments on Gaus
by Richard Arneson
Richard Arneson rejects the analogy between religious and political toleration. In the latter, we are called to exercise reason, and we may well be justified in excluding from consideration those who hold unreasonable views. Indeed, given fully rational and fully informed interlocutors, agreement is inevitable, and there is no need for toleration at all. Gaus’s argument, while clever, is flawed. Arneson founds toleration on consequentialism: We tolerate even unreasonable beliefs because persecuting them has obviously bad results.
Peter Pan Strikes Back
by Eric Mack
Eric Mack argues that while classical liberalism seems to be a part of Gaus’s “range of justice,” its focus on prohibiting certain methods of attaining one’s goals will always render it unacceptable to some members of society. For all that, the prohibition of certain means, with very few restrictions on individuals’ chosen ends, makes the classical liberal position distinct from many other mere political sects. As a further problem, focusing on a range of justice whose member theories can potentially be found agreeable by free and equal moral persons may simply push the whole question back to a deeper level: Who then gets a place at the public reason table with the grownups? Are those agents who don’t come to the public reason table subject to any of the principles of justice?
Living Better Together
by Peter J. Boettke
Peter J. Boettke likens Gaus’s argument to the work of Friedrich Hayek and James Buchanan in political economy and public choice. He argues that property rights are integral to any generalized liberal system; without them, and without the means of increasing economic wealth through the market process, society will devolve into a fight over resources. Private property is thus a part of the basic framework of any liberal society.
- On the Ins and Outs of Public Reason by Gerald Gaus
- Drawing the Baseline by Richard Arneson
- More on Who Is In and Who Is Out of Public Reason by Eric Mack
- Constitution Making from the Ground Up by Peter J. Boettke
- Moral Equilibria by Gerald Gaus
- The Religious Fundamentalist and Nonsectarian Liberalism by Richard Arneson
- Final Words (for now) on Liberalism, Reason, and Authority by Eric Mack
- Talking To and Talking At by Gerald Gaus
- Talking To, Talking At: Some Further Words by Eric Mack