In Herman Cappelen, Tamar Szabó Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology. Oxford University Press (2016)

Laura Valentini
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
Christian List
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
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 on how abstract and idealized political theory should be, and assesses the significance of disagreement in political theory. The discussion is carried out from an angle inspired by the philosophy of science.
Keywords Political theory  Political philosophy  Methodology  Political concepts  Principles and theories  Theory testing, including reflective equilibrium  Ideal versus non-ideal theory  Disagreement in political theory  Normative and evaluative versus positive theories  Philosophy of science
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2016
Buy the book Find it on
DOI 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199668779.013.10
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Chapters BETA

References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
Rescuing Justice and Equality.G. A. Cohen (ed.) - 2008 - Harvard University Press.

View all 100 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

On the Justification of Basic Rights.Laura Valentini - 2016 - Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy 45 (3):52-63.
Defining the Duty to Contribute: Against the Market Solution.Markus Furendal - 2017 - European Journal of Political Theory 18 (4):469-488.
Zum Status von Intuitionen in Gedankenexperimenten.Jakob Huber - 2020 - Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 68 (5):689-704.
Political Realism as Methods Not Metaethics.Jonathan Leader Maynard - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-15.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

What is Political About Political Obligation? A Neglected Lesson From Consent Theory.Dorota Mokrosińska - 2013 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 16 (1):88-108.
What is Political Theory?Stephen K. White & J. Donald Moon (eds.) - 2003 - Sage Publications.
What is a Political Theory of Education.Steinar Bøyum - 2008 - Nordic Journal Education:30-37.
The Political Theory Reader.Paul Schumaker (ed.) - 2010 - Wiley-Blackwell.
Three Failed Charges Against Ideal Theory.Eva Erman & Niklas Möller - 2013 - Social Theory and Practice 39 (1):19-44.
Feasibility Constraints for Political Theories.Holly Lawford-Smith - 2010 - Dissertation, Australian National University


Added to PP index

Total views
443 ( #18,257 of 2,448,640 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
62 ( #10,055 of 2,448,640 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes