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Croatian Journal of Philosophy

Volume 20, Issue 2, 2020

Elvio Baccarini
Pages 199-214

Which Theory of Public Reason?
Epistemic Injustice and Public Reason

Rawlsian public reason requires public decisions to be justified through reasons that each citizen can accept as reasonable, free and equal. It has been objected that this model of public justification puts unfair burdens on marginalized groups. A possible version of the criticism is that the alleged unfairness is constituted by what Miranda Fricker and other authors call epistemic injustice. This form of injustice obtains when some agents are unjustly treated as not reliable, or when they are deprived of epistemic resources to utter their claims or burdened when they need to express demands. I show that the Rawlsian model can stand the objection. Restricting justificatory reasons, at least when basic issues of human rights, liberties and opportunities are at stake, is needed in order to warrant a stable society as a fair system of cooperation among free and equal citizens.

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