Ian Bartrum

Document Type




The first Part of this Article discusses the historical conception of the liberty of conscience, argues that this idea was the central theoretical justification for the religion clauses at the time of the founding, and suggests that we can plausibly read the constitutional text as protecting the right to debate and vote for nonpublic reasons. Part II sketches Rawls's arguments and argues that-the language of duty notwithstanding-these arguments basically appeal to consequentalist kinds of reasons. It then presents an original structural account of the value of nonpublic reasons in political discourse, and looks to both Thomas Kuhn and the theory of natural selection as illustrative analogs. The third and final Part briefly recounts the New York City Catholic schools controversy as a historical example of a productive political interaction between public and nonpublic reasoning.



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