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The Reciprocal Translation Proviso: An Alternative Approach to Public Reason

  • George Tyler (a1)
Abstract

The role of religion in politics is problematic for liberal legitimacy. Religion is often restrained by a public reason requirement, but this creates cognitive burdens that asymmetrically impact religious citizens creating unequal barriers to accessing the political system, which is itself problematic for liberal legitimacy. Habermas’ institutional translation proviso balances the competing concerns of liberal legitimacy, which aims to offset the asymmetry disadvantaging religious citizens. This paper analyzes the problem and Habermas’ solution. It concludes that Habermas does not alleviate the asymmetry created by the public reason requirement to the greatest extent possible and so does not equalize the barriers to accessing the political system as much as he might. The reciprocal translation proviso provides an alternative that balances the competing components of liberal legitimacy more fully and alleviates the asymmetry and inequality of barriers to political access to the greatest extent possible while preserving the public reason requirement.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: George Tyler, Department of Political Science, University of Michigan, 5700 Haven Hall, 505 South State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1045, USA. E-mail: tylerge@umich.edu
Footnotes
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An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2017 Midwest Political Science Association Conference, the author is grateful for the comments received from the public and the panel there. The author would also like to thank the editors and anonymous reviewers who provided invaluable feedback on earlier drafts of this article.

Footnotes
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