Publications

Public Reason in Political Philosophy                
Public Reason in Political Philosophy cover
Edited by Piers Norris Turner and Gerald Gaus
Published: 2018

From the Publisher:
When people of good faith and sound mind disagree deeply about moral, religious, and other philosophical matters, how can we justify political institutions to all of them? The idea of public reason―of a shared public standard, despite disagreement―arose in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in the work of Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Kant. At a time when John Rawls’ influential theory of public reason has come under fire but its core idea remains attractive to many, it is important not to lose sight of earlier philosophers’ answers to the problem of private conflict through public reason.

The distinctive selections from the great social contract theorists in this volume emphasize the pervasive theme of... read more

Tyranny of the Ideal                
Gerald Gaus
Published: 2016

In The Tyranny of the Ideal, Gerald Gaus lays out a vision for how we should theorize about justice in a diverse society. Gaus shows how free and equal people, faced with intractable struggles and irreconcilable conflicts, might share a common moral life shaped by a just framework. He argues that if we are to take diversity seriously and if moral inquiry is sincere about shaping the world, then the pursuit of idealized and perfect theories of justice—essentially, the entire production of theories of justice that has dominated political philosophy for the past forty years—needs to change.

... read more
The Order of Public Reason                
Gerald Gaus
Published: 2011

The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom and Morality in a Diverse and Bounded World

"In this innovative and important work, Gerald Gaus advances a revised, and more realistic, account of public reason liberalism, showing how, in the midst of fundamental disagreement about values and moral beliefs, we can achieve a moral and political order that treats all as free and equal moral persons. The first part of this work analyzes social morality as a system of authoritative moral rules. Drawing on an earlier generation of moral philosophers such as Kurt Baier and Peter Strawson as well as current work in the social sciences, Gaus argues that our social morality is an evolved... read more

Essays on Philosophy, Politics and Economics                
Christi Favor, Gerald Gaus and Julian Lamont (editors)
Published: 2010

Essays on Philosophy, Politics and Economics: Integration & Common Research Projects

"This volume brings together distinguished philosophers with interdisciplinary expertise to show how the resources of philosophy can be employed in the tasks of evaluating economics and fostering policy debates. Contributors offer analyses of basic ideas in economics, such as the notion of efficiency, "economic man", incentives, self-interest, and utility maximization. They discuss key concepts in political theory such as desert, compensation, autonomy, equality, consent or fairness. The book then offers examples of how philosophical resources can be applied to specific, timely debates, such as discrimination, affirmative action, and ethical considerations in Social Security... read more

On Philosophy, Politics and Economics                
Gerald Gaus
Published: 2008

"On Philosophy, Politics and Economics is an introductory text covering the basics of instrumental rationality, utility theory, game theory, axiomatic social choice theory and public choice theory. It is ideally suited to introductory courses on political economy and ppe programs, as well as advanced undergraduate social and political philosophy courses. The presentation is non-mathematical. On Philosophy, Politics, and Economics does not presuppose background in economics, and so is ideal for non-economists interested in formal analyses of social and political interaction."

Handbook of Political Theory                
Gerald Gaus and Chandran Kukathas (editors)
Published: 2004
"This Handbook provides a definitive state-of-the-art review to political theory, past and present. It offers a complete guide to all the main areas and fields of political and philosophical inquiry today by the world′s leading theorists. The Handbook of Political Theory marks a benchmark publication at the cutting edge of its field. It is essential reading for all students and academics of political theory and political philosophy around the world."
Contemporary Theories of Liberalism: Liberalism as a Post-Enlightment Project                
Gerald Gaus
Published: 2003

"Contemporary Theories of Liberalism provides a comprehensive overview of the key tenets of liberalism developed through Hobbes, Locke, Kant and Rawls to present day theories and debates. Central to recent debate has been the idea of public reason. The text introduces and explores seven dominant theories of public reason, namely, pluralism, Neo-Hobbesianism, pragmatism, deliberative democracy, political democracy, Rawlsian political liberalism and justificatory liberalism. As a proponent of justificatory liberalism, Gaus presents an accessible and critical analysis of all contempoary liberal political theory and powerfully illustrates the distinct and... read more

Justificatory Liberalism: An Essay on Epistemology and Political Theory                
Gerald Gaus
Published: 1996

"Gerald Gaus draws on current work in epistemology and cognitive psychology to defend a modest version of cognitive relativism. Building on this theory of personal justification, he asks, "How do we justify moral and political principles to others?" Here, the "populist" proposal put forward by "political liberals"--that the assent of all reasonable citizens must be obtained--is considered and rejected. Because reasonable people often ignore excellent reasons, moral and political principles can be considered conclusively justified, even in the face of some reasonable dissent. Conclusive justification, however, is difficult to achieve, and Gaus acknowledges that most of our public justifications are... read more