Liberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation (Routledge, 2014)

I’ve recently published a book on the proper role of religion in politics. You can buy it now ($43.95 at Amazon). If you would like to hear a podcast on the book, go here for the New Books in Philosophy interview that I did with Robert Talisse. You can also access the podcast in iTunes. I’ve also discussed the book in a symposium on Cato Unbound, where my lead essay, “A Genuinely Liberal Approach to Religion in Politics,” explains the basic moves in the book. The Public Reason blog also ran a reading group on the book.

For a discount, see the Routledge Flyer for the book. Here’s the Routledge page for the book, and here’s the form to ask your librarian to purchase a copy (please do so!). You can also request a review copy.

Book Cover

Jacket Description: In the eyes of many, liberalism requires the aggressive secularization of social institutions, especially public media and public schools. The unfortunate result is that many Americans have become alienated from the liberal tradition because they believe it threatens their most sacred forms of life. This was not always the case: in American history, the relation between liberalism and religion has often been one of mutual respect and support. In Liberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation, Kevin Vallier attempts to reestablish mutual respect by developing a liberal political theory that avoids the standard liberal hostility to religious voices in public life. He claims that the dominant form of academic liberalism, public reason liberalism, is far friendlier to religious influences in public life than either its proponents or detractors suppose. The best interpretation of public reason, convergence liberalism, rejects the much-derided “privatization” of religious belief, instead viewing religious contributions to politics as a resource for liberal political institutions. Many books reject privatization, Liberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation is unique in doing so on liberal grounds.

Editorial Reviews:

“Vallier is one of the leading philosophers currently working on public reason, and it’s a great pleasure to engage with his work, from which I’ve learned a lot. Kevin has written a terrific book: it’s an ambitious, original, and very thoughtful effort to reconcile the demands of public reason or public justification with the aspiration of many religious citizens to rely on their religious views in the political domain.”

Professor Jonathan Quong, University of Southern California

“Vallier’s Liberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation stakes out a distinctive and significant version of political liberalism and offers important proposals for structuring democratic societies. The book is wide-ranging and scholarly, engagingly written, and a valuable source for understanding much of the major literature on the topic.”

Professor Robert Audi, University of Notre Dame

“This is a worthwhile addition to recent scholarship. The author has brought together an impressive array of resources and voices on this topic, raising basic questions that haven’t been addressed directly in recent years concerning the connection to deliberation, the defense of integrity as a core liberal value, and the role of restraint.”

Melissa Yates, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University

“Theoretically sophisticated but also engaged with practical political issues…clearly and engagingly written.”

Andrew Lister, Associate Professor, Queen’s University