chapter  3
Public reason, private citizenship
Pages 23

There is no Mandevillian ring to the title of this chapter. No attempt is here made to ground public justification and public reasoning on a self-interested conception of political membership. The defining concepts of ‘public reason’ and ‘private citizenship’ are instead borrowed from the recent work of John Rawls and Bruce Ackerman respectively, who conceive them as mutually sustaining, without any paradox being intended. The scope of this chapter is to explore the complexities of this relationship and to suggest that the virtuous circle between the ideals2 of public reason and private citizenship cannot be assumed in the form explicitly suggested by Ackerman in We the People3 and implied by Rawls in Political Liberalism.4