Volume 29, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2009
Scriptural Reasoning and the Problem of Metaphysics
Insights for Argument in Liberal Democracy
THIS ESSAY PRESENTS AN EXTENDED MEDITATION ON THE DEVELOPING practice of scriptural reasoning insofar as it may contribute to our thinking about political discourse in the context of late-modern liberal democracies. Concerns are raised about the account of argument and practical reason expressed by practitioners of scriptural reasoning, particularly with respect to an antimetaphysical bias. Following Franklin Gamwell, I suggest that a coherent theoretical account of democracy should be open to the critical assessment of metaphysical claims. I conclude that scriptural reasoning does provide a helpful resource for thinking about argument across religious traditions in a democratic context but requires a clearer position on metaphysics to make a truly distinctive contribution to reforming our understanding of democratic politics in the context of religious pluralism.