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date: 25 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The priority of public reasons is a necessary component of any plausible account of the legitimacy of the institutions of constitutional democracy. This chapter analyzes the main features of the alternative conception of constitutional democracy that liberal critics endorse. This analysis shows that, in the absence of some version of the priority of public reasons, these critics cannot give a plausible account of the legitimacy of some of the institutions that their own conception relies upon. It then sketches the contours of a conception of the priority of public reasons that more accurately expresses what is at stake. By applying a more realistic and less restrictive interpretation of the priority of public reasons, religious and secular citizens can equally endorse the institutions of constitutional democracy.

Keywords: constitutional democracy, liberalism, public reasons, secularism, pluralism, rights

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