Public Reason and Structural Coercion: In Defense of the Coercion Account as the Ground of Public Reason

Baldwin Wong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

Political liberals usually assume the coercion account, which argues that state actions should be publicly justified because they coerce citizens. Recently some critics object this account for it overlooks that some policies are non-coercive but still require public justification. My article argues that, instead of understanding coercion as particular laws or policies, it should be understood as the exercise of collective political power that shapes the basic structure. This revised coercion account explains why those ostensibly non-coercive policies are in fact coercive. Moreover, I argue that the alternative accounts suggested by critics fail, unless they assume the revised coercion account
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-255
Number of pages25
JournalSocial Theory and Practice
Volume46
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

User-Defined Keywords

  • coercion
  • public reason
  • public justification
  • justice
  • civic friendship
  • Jonathan Quong
  • Andrew Lister
  • Colin Bird

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