On Distinguishing Publicly Justified Polities from Modus Vivendi Regimes

SOCIAL THEORY AND PRACTICE 41.2 (2015): 207-229

Abstract: This essay develops a novel account of the distinction between a publicly justified polity and modus vivendi regimes by appealing to the ideal of congruence in public reason liberalism. A fully publicly justified polity is one whose laws are supported by congruent “first-personal” and “second-personal” moral reasons to internalize laws as personally binding on those subject to them. Regimes approach modus vivendi status to the extent that their laws fail to be justified by either type of reason, or where firstpersonal and second-personal reasons fail to justify internalization.