This post is intended to serve as a reference point for all posts relating to our reading group on Jerry Gaus’s The Order of Public Reason. Below you will find our reading schedule and discussant list. We are going to cover two sections a week for thirteen weeks. The book is long, but at this pace, you’ll only have about thirty to fifty pages of reading each week. Each discussant will cover one or two sections.
I propose that we structure the posts in the following way, though others are free to diverge from my recommendations. First, each section should have its own post that will be linked through this one as a reference point. I suggest that each post be neatly divided into an expository part and a critical part. My own preference is to summarize the section in under 1000 words and then raise 500 words of criticisms. It would also be good to structure the criticism in ways that make the section amenable to discussion. Think of questions that not only concern you but that might concern others. In constructing my own contributions, I’ve found the book so rich and deep that an adequate exposition takes long enough and suggests enough of its own questions to where exposition may be sufficient to get good discussion off the ground, so I think it is fine to simply raise your own questions and criticisms in the comments.
Discussions in the comments should be largely focused on the topics raised by that particular section, though of course the sections are all deeply interwoven. If the discussion branches off into several topics, I suggest either placing a brief heading on your comment or, if the subject warrants further discussion, creating your own post on the matter.
I’m going to title my posts “OPR: Ch.I, The Fundamental Problem, Sec.1, Social Morality” and then “OPR: Ch.I.2, Moral Authority among Free and Equal Persons”. Posts title should err on the side of brevity. Jerry has not made this easy on us, but by using abbreviations for repeated text, I think we can make due.
I think we should post the first section of each week on Monday morning and the second on Wednesday morning in order to give us time to focus in on one particular section. There is so much going on in each section that we will have plenty to talk about.
Please note that if you still need a sample copy, email me at kevinvallier-at-gmail-dot-com.
Ok, with that, we’re off. Here’s the schedule:
OPR Reading Group
Chapter I: The Fundamental Problem
January 17th: Preface and Section 1, Social Morality (Kevin Vallier)
January 19th: Section 2, Moral Authority among Free and Equal Persons (Kevin Vallier)
January 24th: Section 3, Evaluative Diversity and the Problem of Indeterminacy (Jonathan Quong)
Part One: Social Order and Social Morality
Chapter II: The Failure of Instrumentalism
January 26th: Section 4, The Instrumentalist Approach to Social Order (Jonathan Quong)
January 31st: Section 5, Revisionist Theories (Peter Vanderschraaf)
February 2nd: Section 6, Orthodox Instrumentalism (Peter Vanderschraaf)
Chapter III: Social Morality as the Sphere of Rules
February 7th: Section 7, The Evolution of Rule-Following Punishers (Jason Brennan)
February 9th, Section 8, Deontic Reasoning (Jason Brennan)
February 14th, Section 9, The Rationality of Following Rules (Ian Ward)
February 16th, Section 10, Moral Rules as Social Rules (Ian Ward)
Chapter IV: Emotion and Reason in Social Morality
February 21st: Section 11, Moral Demands and Moral Emotions (Keith Hankins)
February 23rd: Section 12, Moral Emotions and Moral Autonomy (Keith Hankins)
February 28th: Section 13, The Reasons One Has (John Thrasher) (Part 2)
Part Two: Real Public Reason
Chapter V: The Justificatory Problem and the Deliberative Model
March 7th: Section 14, On Modeling Public Justification (Andrew Lister) (Part 2) (Part 3)
March 14th: Section 15, Proposals (Micah Schwartzman)
March 16th: Section 16, Evaluating Proposals and the Problem of Indeterminacy (Micah Schwartzman)
Chapter VI: The Rights of the Moderns
Chapter VII: Moral Equilibrium and Moral Freedom
Chapter VIII: The Moral and Political Orders
April 11th: Section 22, The Authority of the State (Peter Stone)
April 13th: Section 23, The Justification of Coercive Laws (Peter Stone)
April 18th: Section 24, Private Property and the Redistributive State (Christopher Morris)
April 20th: Section 25, Further Functions of the State and Practical Paretianism (Christopher Morris)
April 25th: Concluding Remarks on Moral Freedom and Moral Theory (Kevin Vallier)
April 27th: Appendix A, The Plurality of Morality (Kevin Vallier)