Author: Blain Neufeld
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Because citizens in a culturally diverse democracy hold to different religious and philosophical doctrines, these doctrines often breed political conflict when they inform issues like gay marriage, physician-assisted suicide, education, and abortion. In recent decades, philosophers and political theorists have developed the idea of "public reason" to explain how citizens within pluralist societies can and should make political decisions. The idea of public reason thus attempts to harmonize the principle of liberal toleration with the ideal of democratic self-government. The importance of public reason has grown within contemporary philosophy, political science, law, education, gender studies, theology, and other disciplines, and this is the first book to introduce this idea and the main debates concerning it. It offers an overview, analysis, and major criticisms of the two most influential accounts of public reason: the consensus view and the convergence view. The book also advances contemporary discussions of public reason by presenting some new analyses of the relation between public reason and 'ideal theory,' by exploring the educational implications of public reason, and by outlining a new account of consensus public reason. Readers looking for a critical introduction to public reason, as well as established scholars, will find much to value.