20.02.2023, 06:00 PM – 07:30 PM, CET (Warsaw time), online event

“Public Reason and Political Autonomy”: The Central Themes
Prof. Blain Neufeld (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)


The Alexis de Tocqueville Center of Political and Legal Thought is happy to announce a lecture by Prof. Blain Neufeld (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), “Public Reason and Political Autonomy”: The Central Themes.


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This book advances a novel justification for the idea of "public reason": citizens within diverse societies can realize the ideal of shared political autonomy, despite their adherence to different religious and philosophical views, by deciding fundamental political questions with "public reasons." Public reasons draw upon or are derived from ecumenical political ideas, such as toleration and equal citizenship, and mutually acceptable forms of reasoning, like those of the sciences. This book explains that if citizens share equal political autonomy—and thereby constitute "a civic people"—they will not suffer from alienation or domination and can enjoy relations of civic friendship. The book also explores the distinctive policy implications of the ideal of political autonomy for gender equality, families, children, and education.

Blain Neufeld is professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. He is the author of Public Reason and Political Autonomy (Routledge, 2022). His research focuses on topics within contemporary political philosophy, including public reason, egalitarian justice, liberal feminism, political freedom, ideal theory, and citizenship education. He holds a BA from the University of Toronto, an MPhil from the University of Oxford, and a PhD from the University of Michigan.

The talk will be delivered as part of the series Tocquevillian Lectures: Philosophy, Society, and Law. The series aims at reasonable reflection on values and issues of public concern, based on new, cutting-edge monographs. We invite authors whose work either generates new important questions, or answers the persistent ones in a fresh way. The lectures then reflect a wide range of scholarly perspectives and methodologies. Keeping a necessary distance from current politics, the organizers hope to trigger principled reflection on law in a broader philosophical and cultural context.