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Deconstructing the Constituency of the Public Reason. Taking Systematic Conspiracy Theorists out of the Legitimation Pool

Filozofia, 2020, vol. 75, No 4, pp. 263 – 278.
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In the present article I argue that there is a class of conspiracy theorists that pose a threat to liberal democratic regimes, who tend to subscribe to potentially harmful conspiracy theories and can be regarded as unreasonable in two ways: i) do not accept the burdens of judgment; ii) are not motivated by a sense of justice. If we endorse political liberalism, we ought to partially exclude these citizens from the legitimation pool. The qualifier “partially” is important here, as I only endorse their exclusion qua bearers of an unreasonable conception. To the extent that they can employ other arguments, they will continue to be a part of the legitimation pool. Towards the end of the paper I investigate a potential counterargument to my position, which could be addressed by someone who postulates a Waldronian right to do wrong. I show that Quong’s distinction between a right to do wrong and a non-right to be unreasonable can be extended in this instance and thus invalidate this potential criticism.

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