© Malcolm Morano 2014


There is a long tradition of political thought that takes the use of religious reasons for supporting public policy to be a violation of one’s duties as a citizen. I refer to this as the ‘liberal position.’ But is this line of thought correct? In this paper, I examine three philosophers’ views on the matter, before staking out my own. First, I examine the position of John Rawls, the most influential contemporary heir of the liberal tradition. Then, I look towards Nicholas Wolterstorff for his charges against Rawls and this tradition, as well as his own view of the duties of citizens. Thirdly, I use Richard Rorty to examine how an antifoundationalist (like Wolterstorff) might respond to Wolterstorff in defense of the liberal position. Finally, I offer my own position, which uses the virtue of agreeableness to strike a balance between Wolterstorff and Rorty. The thrust of my argument is that this debate should transfer from one concerned with “religious” versus “secular” reasons to one concerned with fundamentalist versus pragmatist attitudes.



Included in

Philosophy Commons