The Public Justification Principle (PJP): A coercive law L is justified in a public P if and only if each member i of P has sufficient reason(s) Ri to endorse L.
A billion contradictory and incompatible papers have been written trying to flesh this idea out. After all, it leaves open all of these questions, which Vallier lists:
- What makes a reason “sufficient”?
- How fine-grained is the specification by L of the conduct which is permitted or prohibited for members of the public?
- What types of justificatory reasons R do we recognize?
- How are the parties to public justificatory arguments idealized?
- What is the scope of the public?
- What are the modalities of public justification? Or: by which process is public justification achieved?
- Must we publicly justify anything other than coercion?