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New Directions in Public Reason

Monday 16 June (00:00) - Tuesday 17 June 2014 (23:59)

New Directions in Public Reason

Recent years have seen a flourishing of the philosophical literature on public reason, with a number of new models of public reason being developed, novel arguments in favour of existing models being advanced, and exploration taking place into the implications of the use of public reason for a range of pressing political controversies. At the same time, critics of public reason liberalism have been deploying new objections, and refining familiar ones.

This two-day conference, hosted by Birmingham’s Department of Philosophy, aims to address new and emerging themes in the political philosophy of public reason, and features contributions from proponents of a range of key perspectives from the contemporary debate.


The participants are:

  • Clare Chambers (Cambridge)
  • Gerald Gaus (Arizona)
  • Andrew Lister (Queen’s)
  • Stephen Macedo (Princeton)
  • Fabienne Peter (Warwick)
  • Thomas Sinclair (Oxford)
  • Kevin Vallier (Bowling Green)
  • Steven Wall (Arizona)


Monday 16 June:

  • 10.30 Start
  • 10.30 - 12.00: Macedo (‘The Practical Uses of Public Reason in a Diverse Democracy’)
  • 12.00 – 13.00: Lunch
  • 13.00 – 14.30: Vallier (‘Public Reason and Public Choice: A Synthesis’)
  • 14.30 - 14.45: Coffee
  • 14.45 – 16.15: Peter (‘From Objective Reason to Public Reason’)
  • 16.15 – 16.30: Coffee
  • 16.30 – 18.00: Wall (‘Razian Authority and Public Reason’)
  • 18.00: Drinks
  • 19.30: Conference dinner

Tuesday 17 June:

  • 10.30 – 12.00: Lister (‘Toleration, Public Reason, and Community’)
  • 12.00 – 13.00: Lunch
  • 13.00 - 14.30: Sinclair (‘International Public Reason’)
  • 14.30 – 14.45: Coffee
  • 14.45 – 16.15: Chambers (‘Political Liberal Neutrality, Public Reason, and State-Recognised Marriage’)
  • 16.15 – 16.30: Coffee
  • 16.30 – 18.00: Gaus ("Is Public Reason a Normalization Project?: Deep Diversity and the Open Society’)
  • 18.00 End of conference

This event is generously supported by the Leverhulme Trust, the Mind Association, the College of Arts and Law at Birmingham, and the Birmingham University Academic Collaboration Fund (North America).

Contact: Jeremy Williams (

Location: Edgbaston Room, Lucas House, University of Birmingham (G16 on this campus map)


Registration for this event is now closed.

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