Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

To Dear Michael from Dear Robby

Dear Michael:

You are quite wrong.  I was being completely serious.  If I'm being obtuse, I'm sorry, but I did not get your point and still don't get it.  That's why I asked my questions.  I'm perfectly willing to believe that you and I are in disagreement; but I can't say for sure until I know what the proposition is we're supposed to be disagreeing about.  After all, every now and then we do happen to agree about something.  If the answers to my questions are in your new book, then I guess I'll know them soon.  I do hope they are there, though.  I don't want to pay $80 and still be in the dark!   I completely agree that questions about legitimate reasons for political action are contestable and, in fact, contested by reasonable people of goodwill.  My own judgment, as you know, is that people should believe in natural law and act in the political sphere on the basis of the public reasons for action and restraint that are its principles.  In a certain sense, I defend a more expansive version of Rawls's doctrine of public reason.  At the same time, I think there are good public reasons for not disenfranchising our fellow citizens who are fideists, Humeans, Nietzcheans, and subscribers to other schools of thought that reject my ideas (or Rawls's or others') about public reason, or those who are pragmatists, utilitarians, or adherents of other schools of thought whose conceptions of public reason I believe are misguided.  I certainly don't think there are grounds for disenfranchising fideists while not disenfranchising their secular first cousins, the Humeans, for example.  But I don't know whether you do.  I'll read the book in the hope of finding out. 

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