Public use of reason in a comparative perspective : John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas
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This thesis analyzes public use of reason in a comparative perspective concerning John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas’s approaches. Public reason is important in constitutional democracies to define the relations between the state and the citizens and their relations to each other. Rawls and Habermas are known to provide major concepts in deliberative democracy. Their interpretations of similar concepts and their evaluation of similar ideas brings them to a fruitful debate concerning the future of deliberative democracy in general. In this thesis the idea of public reason is presented from the point of view of John Rawls. The philosophical roots of the idea of public reason are examined. Habermas’s insights concerning public use of reason is analyzed. Finally the debate between Rawls and Habermas concerning the idea of public reason is presented. This thesis aims to indicate the importance of public reason in the context of democratic thought. It also analyzes an important debate that might contribute to new developments in the future of theory of deliberative democracy. In conclusion this thesis argues that in a pluralistic society public use of reason enables us to reach a legitimate ground for deliberative democracy without lapsing into politics of interest and power politics.