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In the Beginning Was the Deed: Realism and Moralism in Political Argument

Princeton: Princeton University Press (2005)

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  1. Is Political Philosophy Too Ahistorical?Jonathan Floyd - 2009 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 12 (4):513-533.
    The accusation that contemporary political philosophy is carried out in too ahistorical a fashion depends upon it being possible for historical facts to ground normative political principles. This they cannot do. Each of the seven ways in which it might be thought possible for them to do so fails for one or more of four reasons: History yields no timeless set of universal moral values; it displays no convergence upon such a set; it reveals no univocal moral or cultural context (...)
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  • Normative Behaviourism and Global Political Principles.Jonathan Floyd - 2016 - Journal of International Political Theory 12 (2):152-168.
    This article takes a new idea, ‘normative behaviourism’, and applies it to global political theory, in order to address at least one of the problems we might have in mind when accusing that subject of being too ‘unrealistic’. The core of this idea is that political principles can be justified, not just by patterns in our thinking, and in particular our intuitions and considered judgements, but also by patterns in our behaviour, and in particular acts of insurrection and crime. The (...)
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  • Should Global Political Theory Get Real? An Introduction.Jonathan Floyd - 2016 - Journal of International Political Theory 12 (2):93-95.
    This special edition brings together (1) the recent methodological worries of the moralism/realism and ideal/non-ideal theory debates with (2) the soaring ambition of work in international or global political theory, as found in, say, theories of global justice. Contributors are as follows: Chris Bertram, Jonathan Floyd, Aaron James, Terry MacDonald, David Miller, Shmulik Nili, Mathias Risse and Matt Sleat.
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  • Explaining Ideology: Mechanisms and Metaphysics.Matteo Bianchin - 2020 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 50 (4):313-337.
    Ideology is commonly defined along functional, epistemic, and genetic dimensions. This article advances a reasonably unified account that specifies how they connect and locates the mechanisms at work. I frame the account along a recent distinction between anchoring and grounding, endorse an etiological reading of functional explanations, and draw on current work about the epistemology of delusion, looping effects, and structuring causes to explain how ideologies originate, reproduce, and possibly collapse. This eventually allows articulating how the legitimating function of ideologies (...)
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  • What the Victims of Tyranny Owe Each Other: On Judith Shklar’s Value Monism.Allyn Fives - 2020 - Res Publica 26 (4):505-521.
    What do the victims of tyranny owe each other? In this paper, I examine whether they can be condemned for betraying their friends, and I do so through a novel interpretation of Judith Shklar’s political thought. Shklar is a widely acknowledged and significant influence on non-ideal theory and political realism. However, there is also a previously unnoticed transformation between her early and mature work, for although she remains a sceptic her approach to moral conflict changes from value pluralism to value (...)
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  • COVID-19 Pandemic – Philosophical Approaches.Sfetcu Nicolae (ed.) - 2020 - Drobeta Turnu Severin: MultiMedia Publishing.
    The paper begins with a retrospective of the debates on the origin of life: the virus or the cell? The virus needs a cell for replication, instead the cell is a more evolved form on the evolutionary scale of life. In addition, the study of viruses raises pressing conceptual and philosophical questions about their nature, their classification, and their place in the biological world. The subject of pandemics is approached starting from the existentialism of Albert Camus and Sartre, the replacement (...)
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  • The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology.Herman Cappelen, Tamar Szabó Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.) - 2016 - Oxford University Press.
    This is the most comprehensive book ever published on philosophical methodology. A team of thirty-eight of the world's leading philosophers present original essays on various aspects of how philosophy should be and is done. The first part is devoted to broad traditions and approaches to philosophical methodology. The entries in the second part address topics in philosophical methodology, such as intuitions, conceptual analysis, and transcendental arguments. The third part of the book is devoted to essays about the interconnections between philosophy (...)
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  • The Practical Origins of Ideas: Genealogy as Conceptual Reverse-Engineering (Open Access).Matthieu Queloz - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Why did such highly abstract ideas as truth, knowledge, or justice become so important to us? What was the point of coming to think in these terms? This book presents a philosophical method designed to answer such questions: the method of pragmatic genealogy. Pragmatic genealogies are partly fictional, partly historical narratives exploring what might have driven us to develop certain ideas in order to discover what these do for us. The book uncovers an under-appreciated tradition of pragmatic genealogy which cuts (...)
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  • Pandemia COVID-19 - Abordări filosofice.Sfetcu Nicolae - 2020 - Drobeta Turnu Severin: MultiMedia Publishing.
    Lucrarea debutează cu o retrospectivă a dezbaterilor privind originea vieții: virusul sau celula? Virusul are nevoie de celulă pentru replicare, în schimb celula este o formă mai evoluată pe scara evoluționistă a vieții. În plus, studiul virușilor ridică întrebări conceptuale și filozofice presante despre natura lor, clasificarea lor, și locul lor în lumea biologică. Subiectul pandemiilor este abordat pornind de la existențialismul lui Albert Camus și Sartre, înlocuirea ritualului de excludere cu mecanismul disciplinar al lui Michel Foucault, și despre ipoteza (...)
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  • Etica în pandemie.Sfetcu Nicolae - manuscript
    Cele mai mari instituții medicale și diverși eticieni pledează pentru o abordare utilitaristă în perioadele de crize de sănătate publică, pentru a maximiza beneficiile pentru societate, în conflict direct cu viziunea noastră obișnuită (kantiană) privind respectul față de persoane ca indivizi. O problemă centrală a utilitarismului este că nu există nicio modalitate clară de a evalua alegerile morale, inclusiv în deciziile medicale. În general, în medicină se respectă etica medicală kantiană. Dar în pandemie, când resursele sunt sărace, trebuie făcute alegeri (...)
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  • Ethics in the Pandemic.Sfetcu Nicolae - manuscript
    The largest medical institutions and various ethicists advocate a utilitarian approach in times of public health crises, to maximize benefits for society, in direct conflict with our usual (Kantian) view of respect for people as individuals. A central problem with utilitarianism is that there is no clear way to evaluate moral choices, including in medical decisions. In general, in medicine is respected the Kantian medical ethics. But in a pandemic, when resources are poor, deep choices of life and death must (...)
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  • Political Theory and Public Opinion: Against Democratic Restraint.Alice Baderin - 2016 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 15 (3):209-233.
    How should political theorists go about their work if they are democrats? Given their democratic commitments, should they develop theories that are responsive to the views and concerns of their fellow citizens at large? Is there a balance to be struck, within political theory, between truth seeking and democratic responsiveness? The article addresses this question about the relationship between political theory, public opinion and democracy. I criticize the way in which some political theorists have appealed to the value of democratic (...)
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  • Being Realistic About International Trade Justice.Christian Neuhäuser - 2018 - Moral Philosophy and Politics 5 (2):181-204.
    The current philosophical debate on just international trade has moved away from purely idealistic theorizing into the direction of non-ideal theory. At the same time most philosophical thought on just trade is still rather idealistic and the main argument of the paper is that some philosophical reasoning about international trade justice should be more realistic. The paper develops in three steps. In a first step I will give a short overview over normative questions that arise with respect to international trade. (...)
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  • Moral Conflict and Political Obligation in (Highly) Non-ideal Conditions.Allyn Fives & Kei Hiruta - 2020 - Res Publica 26 (4):481-487.
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  • Political Obligations in Illiberal Regimes.Zoltán Gábor Szűcs - 2020 - Res Publica 26 (4):541-558.
    The paper is organized around two major, but closely interconnected goals. First, the paper’s principal aim is to offer a normative theory of political obligations that is based on certain insights of philosophical anarchism, theories of associative obligations and political realism. Second, the paper aims to offer a normative theoretical framework to examine political obligations in contemporary non-democratic contexts that does not vindicate non-democratic regimes and that does not exclude political obligations from the terrain of moral normativity. The theory of (...)
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  • Arguing with the Enemy: A Dialectical Approach to Justifying Political Liberalism.Andreas H. Hvidsten - 2018 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 44 (8):822-842.
    I consider the problem of political pluralism for political liberalism: that not everybody agrees on fundamental political principles. I critically examine three defenses of liberal principles in situations of political pluralism—the realist defense, the pragmatic defense, and Gerald Gaus’ “justificatory liberalism”—all of which I find wanting. Instead, I propose a dialectical approach to justifying political liberalism. A dialectical approach is based on engaging contradictory positions through conceptual investigation of key concepts claimed by both sides. Through such dialectical engagement, I seek (...)
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  • Institutional Facts and Principles of Global Political Legitimacy.Terry Macdonald - 2016 - Journal of International Political Theory 12 (2):134-151.
    How should the content and justification of action-guiding normative ‘principles’ in political life be responsive to social ‘facts’? In this article, I answer this question by sketching a contextualist methodology for identifying and justifying principles for guiding international institutional action, which is based on an original account of the regulative role and conceptual structure of principles of political legitimacy. I develop my argument for this approach in three steps. First, I argue that a special non-utopian category of normative political principles (...)
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  • Beyond Extensions of Liberalism.Donald Beggs - 2008 - Journal of International Political Theory 4 (1):157-166.
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  • Max Weber on Ethics and Politics.Elizabeth Frazer - 2006 - Politics and Ethics Review 2 (1):19-37.
  • To Lose One’s Home in the World: The Injustice of Immigrant Detention.Craig French - 2015 - Journal of International Political Theory 11 (3):351-369.
    Forced outside of the system of modern nation-states into a regime of detention and deportation, immigrant detainees suffer an injustice that is not easily or adequately captured by the familiar vocabulary offered by contemporary liberalism. In this article, I propose an alternative strategy for articulating the kinds of injustice that these individuals suffer. I argue that the idea of metaphysical homelessness—a notion that I recover through a reading of the work of Martin Heidegger—offers a useful theoretical lens with which to (...)
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  • Moral Actors and Political Spectators: On Some Virtues and Vices of Rawls's Liberalism.Giovanni De Grandis - 2007 - Politics and Ethics Review 3 (2):217-235.
    The paper defends the theoretical strength and consistency of Rawls's constructivism, showing its ability to articulate and convincingly weave together several key ethical ideas; yet it questions the political relevance of this admirable normative architecture. After having illustrated Rawls's conception of moral agency and practical reason, the paper tackles two criticisms raised by Scheffler. First the allegation of naturalism based on Rawls's disdain of common sense ideas on desert is rebutted. It is then shown that, contrary to Scheffler's contention, Rawls (...)
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  • Philosophical Presuppositions of Intercultural Dialogue and Multiculturalism: Multiculturalism and the Challenge of Pluralism.Volker Kaul - 2011 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 37 (4):505-516.
    Today we can identify two challenges of pluralism: the ever-growing conflicts between religious, national and ethnic groups on the one hand and the oppression of dissenting individuals by their respective communities on the other hand. Both intercommunitarian and intracommunitarian conflicts find their origin in a communitarian conception of our political, cultural, or religious identities. After presenting some of the problems of the communitarian solution in particular with regard to the challenge of internal pluralism, I introduce alternative conceptions of multiculturalism that (...)
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  • ‘Can Muslims Be Suicide Bombers?’ An Essay on the Troubles of Multiculturalism.Volker Kaul - 2012 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 38 (4-5):389-398.
    Is a Muslim still a Muslim when he crashes airplanes into the twin towers? Any serious theory of multiculturalism has to deny that Islam could ever come to justify suicide bombing and terrorism. My thesis is that none of the contemporary multicultural theories manages to do so, or at least not without collapsing into a Kantian conception of personal autonomy and, consequently, into some standard version of liberalism. Communitarianism, trying to demonstrate that fundamentalism has nothing to do with the true (...)
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  • Machiavelli and the Liberalism of Fear.Thomas Osborne - 2017 - History of the Human Sciences 30 (5):68-85.
    This article revisits the long-standing question of the relations between ethics and politics in Machiavelli’s work, assessing its relevance to the ‘liberalism of fear’ in particular in the work of Judith Shklar, Bernard Williams and also John Dunn. The article considers ways in which Machiavelli has been a ‘negative’ resource for liberalism – for instance, as a presumed proponent of tyranny; but also ways in which even for the liberalism of fear he might be considered a ‘positive’ resource, above all (...)
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  • The Grammar of Political Obligation.Thomas Fossen - 2014 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 13 (3):215-236.
    This essay presents a new way of conceptualizing the problem of political obligation. On the traditional ‘normativist’ framing of the issue, the primary task for theory is to secure the content and justification of political obligations, providing practically applicable moral knowledge. This paper develops an alternative, ‘pragmatist’ framing of the issue, by rehabilitating a frequently misunderstood essay by Hanna Pitkin and by recasting her argument in terms of the ‘pragmatic turn’ in recent philosophy, as articulated by Robert Brandom. From this (...)
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  • Taking Reasonable Pluralism Seriously: An Internal Critique of Political Liberalism.Fabian Freyenhagen - 2011 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 10 (3):323-342.
    The later Rawls attempts to offer a non-comprehensive, but nonetheless moral justification in political philosophy. Many critics of political liberalism doubt that this is successful, but Rawlsians often complain that such criticisms rely on the unwarranted assumption that one cannot offer a moral justification other than by taking a philosophically comprehensive route. In this article, I internally criticize the justification strategy employed by the later Rawls. I show that he cannot offer us good grounds for the rational hope that citizens (...)
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  • Social Freedom as Ideology.Karen Ng - 2018 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 45 (7):795-818.
    This article explores objections made against ideal theorizing in political philosophy by two prominent contemporary critical theorists: Axel Honneth and Charles Mills. In Freedom’s Right, Honneth...
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  • Radicalizing Realist Legitimacy.Ben Cross - 2019 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 46 (4):369-389.
    Several critics of realist theories of political legitimacy have alleged that it possesses a problematic bias towards the status quo. This bias is thought to be reflected in the way in which these...
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  • WHEN CORRUPTION IS CULTURAL: EXPLORING MORAL, INSTITUTIONAL AND RULE-BASED CONCEPTS OF CORRUPTION.Enrique Camacho Beltran - 2019 - Boletín Mexicano de Derecho Comparado 2 (156):1325.
    It is often asserted that people are conditioned to act corruptly by their culture in a way they cannot help themselves. The aim of this paper is to use a multidisciplinary approach, both from political theory and political science, to show that this kind of narrative about corruption is flawed because it is not informative at all about the nature of corruption. This prevents it from leading to any type of meaningful analysis or policy design. We will concentrate on two (...)
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  • The Shpolitics Question to Political Realism and Practice-Dependent Theory.Gianfranco Pellegrino - forthcoming - Philosophy and Public Issues - Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche.
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  • Political Integrity and Dirty Hands: Compromise and the Ambiguities of Betrayal.Demetris Tillyris - 2017 - Res Publica 23 (4):475-494.
    The claim that democratic politics is the art of compromise is a platitude but we seem allergic to compromise in politics when it happens. This essay explores this paradox. Taking my cue from Machiavelli’s claim that there exists a rift between a morally admirable and a virtuous political life, I argue that: a ‘compromising disposition’ is an ambiguous virtue—something which is politically expedient but not necessarily morally admirable; whilst uncongenial to moral integrity, a ‘compromising disposition’ constitutes an essential aspect of (...)
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  • Rawlsian Constructivism: A Practical Guide to Reflective Equilibrium.Eric Brandstedt & Johan Brännmark - 2020 - The Journal of Ethics 24 (3):355-373.
    Many normative theorists want to contribute to making the world a better place. In recent years, it has been suggested that to realise this ambition one must start with an adequate description of real-life practices. To determine what should be done, however, one must also fundamentally criticise existing moral beliefs. The method of reflective equilibrium offers a way of doing both. Yet, its practical usefulness has been doubted and it has been largely ignored in the recent practical turn of normative (...)
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  • Contemporary Social Contract Theory and Hegel’s Master/Bondsman-Relation.Arthur Kok - 2015 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 18 (1):160-178.
    This contribution investigates whether Hegel’s critique of social contract theory is still applicable to contemporary contract theory proposed by, e. g., Rawls and Nozick. At first sight, they seem to have overcome the problems identified by Hegel because Rawls and Nozick appropriate the social contract as something essentially rational and normative. I argue, however, that for Hegel, their appeal to rational argumentation is not compatible with the concreteness of human individuals. A revised reading of the master/ bondsman-relation, emphasizing the role (...)
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  • When to Defer to Supermajority Testimony — and When Not.Christian List - 2014 - In Jennifer Lackey (ed.), Essays in Collective Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 240-249.
    Pettit (2006) argues that deferring to majority testimony is not generally rational: it may lead to inconsistent beliefs. He suggests that “another ... approach will do better”: deferring to supermajority testimony. But this approach may also lead to inconsistencies. In this paper, I describe conditions under which deference to supermajority testimony ensures consistency, and conditions under which it does not. I also introduce the concept of “consistency of degree k”, which is weaker than full consistency by ruling out only “blatant” (...)
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  • The Best and the Rest: How Ideals Mislead and Distort -- Yet Sharpen -- Comparative Evaluation.David Wiens - manuscript
    Political philosophers sometimes defend the value of idealistic normative theories by arguing that they help specify principles for evaluating feasible solutions to real-world problems. I start by showing that this defense is ambiguous between three interpretations, one of which I show to be a nonstarter. The second interpretation says (roughly) that a description of a normatively ideal society provides a benchmark from which to measure deviations from the ideal; the third says (again, roughly) that a description of a normatively ideal (...)
     
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  • Against Ideal Guidance.David Wiens - 2015 - Journal of Politics 77 (2):433-446.
    Political philosophers frequently claim that political ideals can provide normative guidance for unjust and otherwise nonideal circumstances. This is mistaken. This paper demonstrates that political ideals contribute nothing to our understanding of the normative principles we should satisfy amidst unjust or otherwise nonideal circumstances.
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  • Towards a Transcultural Concept of Justice Based on Self-Respect.Christian Neuhäuser - 2020 - Yearbook for Eastern and Western Philosophy 2019 (4):261-276.
    The idea of global justice faces a serious challenge. We live in one global society and many regional and local societies at the same time. The existing plurality of institutional as well as cultural levels of social connection leads to this general question: what is the right site for addressing different questions of justice? Some philosophers argue that the paramount place for thinking about justice is the global level, but other philosophers claim that questions of justice presuppose a certain institutional (...)
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  • COVID, Existentialism and Crisis Philosophy.Wim Vandekerckhove - forthcoming - Philosophy of Management.
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  • The Methodology of Political Theory.Christian List & Laura Valentini - 2016 - In Herman Cappelen, Tamar Szabó Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology. Oxford University Press.
    This article examines the methodology of a core branch of contemporary political theory or philosophy: “analytic” political theory. After distinguishing political theory from related fields, such as political science, moral philosophy, and legal theory, the article discusses the analysis of political concepts. It then turns to the notions of principles and theories, as distinct from concepts, and reviews the methods of assessing such principles and theories, for the purpose of justifying or criticizing them. Finally, it looks at a recent debate (...)
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  • Nationalism and Crisis.Enrique Camacho - 2017 - Tópicos: Revista de Filosofía 52:427-456.
    Nationalism seems a persistent ideology in academia as much as in politics; despite the fact that it has been shown that nationalism is deeply unjust for minorities. A case for national identity is often invoked to supplement liberalism regarding the inner difficulties that liberal theories have to explain their membership, assure stability and produce endorsement. So, it seems that national identity may also be required for justice. While this controversy continues, I argue that a different approach is available. We can (...)
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  • Response to Critics.Ben Berger - 2013 - Social Philosophy Today 29:177-191.
  • Public Reason Can Be Reasonably Rejected.Franz Mang - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (2):343-367.
    Public reason as a political ideal aims to reconcile reasonable disagreement; however, is public reason itself the object of reasonable disagreement? Jonathan Quong, David Estlund, Andrew Lister, and some other philosophers maintain that public reason is beyond reasonable disagreement. I argue this view is untenable. In addition, I consider briefly whether or not two main versions of the public reason principle, namely, the consensus version and the convergence version, need to satisfy their own requirements. My discussion has several important implications (...)
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  • Rawls’ Methodological Blueprint.Jonathan Floyd - 2017 - European Journal of Political Theory 16 (3):367-381.
    Rawls’ primary legacy is not that he standardised a particular view of justice, but rather that he standardised a particular method of arguing about it: justification via reflective equilibrium. Yet this method, despite such standardisation, is often misunderstood in at least four ways. First, we miss its continuity across his various works. Second, we miss the way in which it unifies other justificatory ideas, such as the ‘original position’ and an ‘overlapping consensus’. Third, we miss its fundamentally empirical character, given (...)
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  • Hobbes and Political Realism.Robin Douglass - 2016 - European Journal of Political Theory 19 (2):147488511667748.
    Thomas Hobbes has recently been cast as one of the forefathers of political realism. This article evaluates his place in the realist tradition by focusing on three key themes: the priority of legit...
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  • Cultivating Intellectual Humility in Political Philosophy Seminars.Finlay Malcolm - 2019 - Blended Learning in Practice.
    The cultivation of intellectual character is an important goal within university education. This article focusses on cultivating intellectual humility. It first explores an account of intellectual humility from recent literature on the intellectual virtues. Then, it considers one recent pedagogical approach – Making Thinking Visible – as a means of teaching intellectual virtue. It assesses one particular technique for cultivating intellectual humility arising from this pedagogical literature, and applies it to the teaching of political philosophy. Finally, there is a discussion (...)
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  • Value Pluralism and Public Ethics.Derek Edyvane & Demetris Tillyris - 2019 - Theoria 66 (160):1-8.
    ‘The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing’. -Archilochus quoted in Berlin, The Hedgehog and the Fox, 22The fragment from the Greek poet Archilochus, quoted in Isaiah Berlin’s essay ‘The Hedgehog and the Fox’, serves as a metaphor for the long-standing contrast and rivalry between two radically different approaches to public ethics, each of which is couched in a radically different vision of the structure of moral value. On the one hand, the way of the hedgehog (...)
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  • Between Critical and Normative Theory.Samuel Bagg - 2016 - Political Research Quarterly 69:1-12.
    Over the last decade, a call for greater “realism” in political theory has challenged the goals and methods that are implicit in much contemporary “normative” theory. However, realists have yet to produce a convincing alternative research program that is “constructive” rather than primarily “critical” in nature. I argue that given their common wariness of a devotion to abstract principles, realists should consider adopting John Dewey’s vision of theoretical expertise as an expansive kind of prediction that engages all of our historical, (...)
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  • After the Standard Dirty Hands Thesis: Towards a Dynamic Account of Dirty Hands in Politics.Demetris Tillyris - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (1):161-175.
    This essay locates the problem of dirty hands within virtue ethics – specifically Alasdair MacIntyre’s neo-Aristotelian thesis in After Virtue. It demonstrates that, contra contemporary expositions of this problem, MacIntyre’s thesis provides us with a more nuanced account of tragedy and DH in ordinary life, in its conventional understanding as a stark, rare and momentary conflict in which moral wrongdoing is inescapable. The essay then utilizes elements from MacIntyre’s thesis as a theoretical premise for Machiavelli’s thought so as to set (...)
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  • ‘Learning How Not to Be Good’: Machiavelli and the Standard Dirty Hands Thesis.Demetris Tillyris - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (1):61-74.
    ‘It is necessary to a Prince to learn how not to be good’. This quotation from Machiavelli’s The Prince has become the mantra of the standard dirty hands thesis. Despite its infamy, it features proudly in most conventional expositions of the dirty hands problem, including Michael Walzer’s original analysis. In this paper, I wish to cast a doubt as to whether the standard conception of the problem of DH—the recognition that, in certain inescapable and tragic circumstances an innocent course of (...)
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  • Modus Vivendi Liberalism, Practice-Dependence and Political Legitimacy.Valentina Gentile - 2018 - Biblioteca Della Libertà (222):1-21.
    Contemporary political theory is characterised by a realistic critique of liberalism. Realist theorising is seen as avoiding foundational disagreements about justice mutating into second-order disputes concerning the justifiability of legitimate political institutions. In this sense, the realist critique challenges a key aspect of Rawls’ liberal project – that is, its justificatory constituency. McCabe’s Modus Vivendi Liberalism presents an interesting case of such a critique. Given the condition of deep pluralism that characterizes contemporary democracies, the liberal Justificatory Requirement (JR) should be (...)
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