Public Institutions, Overlapping Consensus and Trust


Imagined though it is, ’two‐communities’ thinking drives the politics of public institutions in Northern Ireland. Although people seem well‐disposed to power‐sharing in principle, they do not trust that their political opponents’ statements to the same effect are sincere. As this suggests, agreement on the principles of justice is not sufficient for an overlapping consensus to form. People’s social environment must be such that promises and commitments are perceived as more or less risk‐free and that compromise can be entered into without fear of others acting from bad faith.

Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 9 (4), 2006, 559-572.