In this Wireless Philosophy video, Geoff Pynn (Elgin Community College) examines the idea of public reason in relation to the legitimacy of state authority. A legitimate state is based on “the consent of the governed,” but what counts as consent? And how can it be obtained in a large complex society? One idea is that hypothetical consent can be obtained through the development of public justifications for laws that all reasonable people could accept. The “public reason” standard is promising. But can it really work?