Tulane Home Tulane Shield logo linking to site home page

Murphy Institute Events

Kevin Vallier, Center for Ethics and Public Affairs Public Lecture

Photo of Gargoyle on Tulane University's Campus - The Murphy Institute


Uptown Campus
Rogers Memorial Chapel

Event Details

Open to the public

Admission: Free

Event Type: Ethics and Public Affairs Lectures

Sponsored By: Murphy Institute , Center for Ethics and Public Affairs

More Information

Abstract provided by Professor Vallier: Public reason liberals defend liberal institutions by appealing to a public justification constraint. The public justification constraint holds that state coercion or law is only permissible when it can be justified to multiple reasonable points of view. In brief, the justification of coercive state institutions must be multilateral, an overlapping consensus. Public reason liberals sharply disagree about the normative foundation of the public justification constraint. Defenses of the constraint include appeals to justice, respect for persons as free and equal, civic friendship, and anti-authoritarianism. While these defenses possess important insights, none quite get at the truth. In this paper, I offer a new normative foundation for the public justification constraint that appeals to the importance of sustaining relations of trust between diverse persons. I claim that public justification is best grounded in the value of a system of social trust and what respect requires of persons who trust one another.

About the Speaker

Kevin Vallier is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Bowling Green State University. His primary areas of research are political philosophy and ethics, and his work focuses on problems relating to public reason. He is the author of the book, Liberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation (Routledge, 2014), and his second book, Must Politics Be War? In Defense of Public Reason Liberalism, is currently under contract with Oxford University Press. He has also edited three collected volumes, and his work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in a number of prestigious venues, such as, Philosophical Quarterly, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, and Philosophical Studies. Professor Vallier earned his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in 2011.

The Murphy Institute

Established in memory of Charles H. Murphy, Sr. (1870-1954), and inspired by the vision of Charles H. Murphy, Jr. (1920-2002), The Murphy Institute exists to help Tulane faculty and students understand economic, moral, and political problems we all face and think about. More important, it exists to help us understand how these problems have come to be so closely interconnected.