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What kinds of institutions help facilitate citizens’ acceptance of their rules of governance? In this seminar, Dr Brian Kogelmann of the University of Maryland will discuss how polycentric institutional arrangements in the tradition of Elinor and Vincent Ostrom complement the theory of public reason liberalism.

About the Talk:

Public reason liberalism is a normative theory holding that authoritative rules must, in some sense, be accepted or endorsed by persons living under them. Much debate about public reason takes place at an abstract level – little discussion occurs concerning what sorts of institutions best facilitate the goals of public reason. The thesis of my talk is that public reason liberalism is best served by a polycentric institutional arrangement that allows for robust self-governance, of the kind discussed in the work of Elinor and Vincent Ostrom. Not only is polycentricity the best realization of the goals of public reason liberalism, but thinking through features of polycentric institutional arrangements actually reveals compelling responses to major criticisms of the public reason research program. That said, the proposal under consideration is not without criticism. Though they have several desirable features, polycentric institutional frameworks do harbor some problems, most notably issues related to sorting and polarization. The talk will end by thinking through how to best respond to these sorts of worries.

 About the Speaker:

Brian Kogelmann is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Maryland, where he is also a Faculty Affiliate at the Ed Snider Center for Enterprise and Markets. He  completed his PhD in four years at the University of Arizona under the direction of Jerry GausDave Schmidtz, and Steve Wall. His work has appeared, among other places, in the the Journal of Philosophy and American Political Science Review​. Brian’s work lies at the intersection of philosophy, politics, and economics. Current and past collaborators include Brian AlbrechtHun ChungJerry GausBenjamin OgdenAlex Salter, Stephen G.W. Stich, and Robert H. Wallace. His current big project is a series of papers and a book manuscript on liberalism, publicity, and transparency.