"Reiding Rawls": A critical assessment of Thomas Reid's Common Sense Philosophy as a response to John Rawls's doctrine of public reason
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This dissertation examines John Rawls’s doctrine of public reason in light of Thomas Reid’s Common Sense philosophy. Chapter 1 introduces the topics of public reason and common sense in order to suggest that Thomas Reid’s philosophy can provide a beneficial contribution to public policy debates. Chapter 2 examines key features of Rawls’s doctrine of public reason. Chapter 3 suggests that there are critical problems with Rawls’s doctrine of public reason. Chapter 4 examines key features of Thomas Reid’s common sense philosophy. Chapter 5 shows Reid’s common sense application in early American history as well as contemporary scholarship. It argues that common sense can provide insight into two test-cases, abortion and same-sex marriage. Chapter 6 concludes the dissertation, summarizing the arguments and providing suggestions for further research.