September 29, 2016
Kevin Vallier (Associate Professor of Philosophy at Bowling Green State University) presented his manuscript entitled Must Politics Be War? In Defense of Public Reason Liberalism. The book argues that liberal institutions can reconcile people of diverse and divergent worldviews by establishing a kind of peace between persons. This peace requires that the moral and legal rules that apply to us must be publicly justified, that is, justified to each person in terms that she can understand and accept. The working manuscipt from the conference can be found here.
The Political Theory Project invited a number of Brown’s leading political theorists and philosophers to comment on the manuscript, including Charles Larmore and David Estlund. PTP post-doc Julian Mueller also commented. Larmore commented on the first chapter of the manuscript, raising concerns about Vallier’s foundation for public reason, Mueller reviewed the middle third of the book, while Estlund commented on the final chapter on democracy. The workshop also included commentary from John Tomasi, Joshua Preiss, Shany Mor, and Gianna Englert.
The comments were given across three sections that spanned the entire afternoon. Afterwards, a number of participants gathered at a local French restaurant where discussion continued.