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Article Review: The Idea of Public Reason by Rawls, John

Updated on June 28, 2017

Going into the article, the author assumed I believed that public reason is something that can be agreed by all. According to the author, public reason can go in harmony even with all doctrines, religions or those not ascribing to any religion. In this light, public reason idea will facilitate a creation of a democratic society that is well ordered. As postulated by the author, public reason will occur when citizens accept the fact that at no time wills they reach an agreement on their irreconcilable differences and hence accept to accommodate these differences.

At the conclusion of the article, the author wanted me to believe that public reason is the only concept of justice which effectively satisfied the criterion of reciprocity. Accordingly, it outwits other concepts such as those of religion which does not agree on complete liberalism. The author argues that contrary to other concepts, public reason can be labeled as comprehensive liberal doctrines. This is because it does not infringe upon other injunctions and religious beliefs as long as they are aligned with the basic constitutional liberties.

The author's main argument for the above conclusion was the possibility of creating democracy and acceptance of one another despite the significant differences in religious and political ideologies. The author notes that if public reason could be embraced by all and sundry, the different political and religious doctrines could be effectively contained and mitigated within the bounds of reasonable principles of justice in a society that adheres to a constitutional democracy.

I thought the author's argument was convincing enough because we truly need cohesion and understand one another. The differences inherent among human beings will remain to be there as long as the world exists. It is a high time as the author observes that people learn to tolerate one another amid the differences and live harmoniously. The one thing that can enable them to do so effectively is public reason!


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