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Public Reason Secularism: A Defense of Liberal Democracy

On 25 October 2018, Tu Zhang defended her thesis 'Public Reason Secularism: A Defense of Liberal Democracy'. The doctoral research was supervised by prof. P. Cliteur.

Tu Zhang
25 October 2018
Leiden Repository

This book is propelled by the following question: How can free and equal citizens who are deeply divided by conflicting (religious) disagreements endorse the same set of political principles in a constitutional democratic regime and live together peacefully? I propose an answer to that question, and it takes me six chapters to argue for it: the answer lies in the general endorsement of the political principle of “public reason secularism,” comprised of liberty of conscience and the separation of state and religion. Particularly, the separation of state and religion that I argue for is a separation in the robust sense that religion ought to be excluded from the public sphere. That is to say, religious arguments should not play any role in public matters, especially in lawmaking.

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