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Enzo Rossi
University of Amsterdam
  1. Realism in Normative Political Theory.Enzo Rossi & Matt Sleat - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (10):689-701.
    This paper provides a critical overview of the realist current in contemporary political philosophy. We define political realism on the basis of its attempt to give varying degrees of autonomy to politics as a sphere of human activity, in large part through its exploration of the sources of normativity appropriate for the political and so distinguish sharply between political realism and non-ideal theory. We then identify and discuss four key arguments advanced by political realists: from ideology, from the relationship of (...)
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  2. Political Norms and Moral Values.Robert Jubb & Enzo Rossi - 2015 - Journal of Philosophical Research 40:455-458.
    This is a response to Erman and Moller's response to our reply to their 'Political Legitimacy in the Real Normative World', both also in this journal.
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  3. Political Realism as Ideology Critique.Janosch Prinz & Enzo Rossi - 2017 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 20 (3):334-348.
    This paper outlines an account of political realism as a form of ideology critique. Our focus is a defence of the normative edge of this critical-theoretic project against the common charge that there is a problematic trade-off between a theory’s groundedness in facts about the political status quo and its ability to consistently envisage radical departures from the status quo. To overcome that problem we combine insights from three distant corners of the philosophical landscape: theories of legitimacy by Bernard Williams (...)
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  4. Justice, Legitimacy, and (Normative) Authority for Political Realists.Enzo Rossi - 2012 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 15 (2):149-164.
    One of the main challenges faced by realists in political philosophy is that of offering an account of authority that is genuinely normative and yet does not consist of a moralistic application of general, abstract ethical principles to the practice of politics. Political moralists typically start by devising a conception of justice based on their pre-political moral commitments; authority would then be legitimate only if political power is exercised in accordance with justice. As an alternative to that dominant approach I (...)
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  5. Facts, Principles, and Politics.Enzo Rossi - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (2):505-520.
    Should our factual understanding of the world influence our normative theorising about it? G.A. Cohen has argued that our ultimate normative principles should not be constrained by facts. Many others have defended or are committed to various versions or subsets of that claim. In this paper I dispute those positions by arguing that, in order to resist the conclusion that ultimate normative principles rest on facts about possibility or conceivability, one has to embrace an unsatisfactory account of how principles generate (...)
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  6. Can Realism Move Beyond a Methodenstreit?The Political Theory of Political Thinking: The Anatomy of a Practice, by FreedenMichael. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.Liberal Realism: A Realist Theory of Liberal Politics, by SleatMatt. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2013. [REVIEW]Enzo Rossi - 2016 - Political Theory 44 (3):410-420.
    Is there more to the recent surge in political realism than just a debate on how best to continue doing what political theorists are already doing? I use two recent books, by Michael Freeden and Matt Sleat, as a testing ground for realism’s claims about its import on the discipline. I argue that both book take realism beyond the Methodenstreit, though each in a different direction: Freeden’s takes us in the realm of meta-metatheory, Sleat’s is a genuine exercise in grounding (...)
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  7. Reality and Imagination in Political Theory and Practice: On Raymond Geuss’s Realism. [REVIEW]Enzo Rossi - 2010 - European Journal of Political Theory 9 (4):504-512.
    Can political theory be action-guiding without relying on pre-political normative commitments? I answer that question affirmatively by unpacking two related tenets of Raymond Geuss’ political realism: the view that political philosophy should not be a branch of ethics, and the ensuing empirically-informed conception of legitimacy. I argue that the former idea can be made sense of by reference to Hobbes’ account of authorization, and that realist legitimacy can be normatively salient in so far as it stands in the correct relation (...)
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  8. Consensus, Compromise, Justice and Legitimacy.Enzo Rossi - 2013 - Critical Review of Social and International Political Philosophy 16 (4):557-572.
    Could the notion of compromise help us overcoming – or at least negotiating – the frequent tension, in normative political theory, between the realistic desideratum of peaceful coexistence and the idealistic desideratum of justice? That is to say, an analysis of compromise may help us moving beyond the contrast between two widespread contrasting attitudes in contemporary political philosophy: ‘fiat iustitia, pereat mundus’ on the one side, ‘salus populi suprema lex’ on the other side. More specifically, compromise may provide the backbone (...)
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  9.  74
    Twilight of the Liberal Social Contract? On the Reception of Rawlsian Political Liberalism.Enzo Rossi - forthcoming - In Kelly Becker & Iain Thomson (eds.), The Cambridge History of Philosophy, 1945–2015. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    This chapter is a critical survey of the Rawlsian project of "political" or "public reason" liberalism, and of its reception. After a brief philosophical rather than philological reconstruction of political liberalism, the chapter revolves around a distinction between idealist and realist responses to that project. Focusing on political liberalism’s critical reception illuminates an overarching question: was Rawls’ revival of a contractualist approach to liberal legitimacy a fruitful move for liberalism and/or the social contract tradition? The last section contains a largely (...)
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  10. Noumenal Power, Reasons, and Justification: A Critique of Forst.Sameer Bajaj & Enzo Rossi - forthcoming - In Ester Herlin-Karnell & Matthias Klatt (eds.), Constitutionalism Justified. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    In this essay we criticise Rainer Forst's attempt to draw a connection between power and justification, and thus ground his normative theory of a right to justification. Forst draws this connection primarily conceptually, though we will also consider whether a normative connection may be drawn within his framework. Forst's key insight is that if we understand power as operating by furnishing those subjected to it with reasons, then we create a space for the normative contestation of any exercise of power. (...)
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  11.  11
    Consensus, Compromise, Justice and Legitimacy.Enzo Rossi - 2013 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 16 (4):557-572.
  12.  45
    Is This What Democracy Looks Like?Gordon Arlen & Enzo Rossi - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-14.
    ABSTRACTThis essay is a critical study of Jason Brennan's Against Democracy. We make three main points. First, we argue that Brennan's proposal of a right to competent government only works if one considers the absence of government a viable proposition, something most of his opponents are not prepared to do. Second, we suggest that Brennan's account of competent decision-making is blind to forms of oligarchic power that work against the very ideals of justice and epistemic virtue that competence is meant (...)
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  13. Pluralism Slippery Slopes and Democratic Public Discourse.Maria Paola Ferretti & Enzo Rossi - 2013 - Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory 60 (137):29-47.
    Agonist theorists have argued against deliberative democrats that democratic institutions should not seek to establish a rational consensus, but rather allow political disagreements to be expressed in an adversarial form. But democratic agonism is not antagonism: some restriction of the plurality of admissible expressions is not incompatible with a legitimate public sphere. However, is it generally possible to grant this distinction between antagonism and agonism without accepting normative standards in public discourse that saliently resemble those advocated by (some) deliberative democrats? (...)
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  14. Can Tolerance Be Grounded in Equal Respect?Enzo Rossi - 2013 - European Journal of Political Theory 12 (3):240-252.
    In this paper I argue that equal respect-based accounts of the normative basis of tolerance are self-defeating, insofar as they are unable to specify the limits of tolerance in a way that is consistent with their own commitment to the equal treatment of all conceptions of the good. I show how this argument is a variant of the long-standing ‘conflict of freedoms’ objection to Kantian-inspired, freedom-based accounts of the justification of systems of norms. I criticize Thomas Scanlon’s defence of ‘pure (...)
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  15. Why Moralists Should Be Afraid of Political Values.Robert Jubb & Enzo Rossi - 2015 - Journal of Philosophical Research 40:465-468.
    In this rejoinder to Erman and Möller’s reply to our “Political Norms and Moral Values” we clarify the sense in which there can be specifically political values, and expound the practice-dependent notion of legitimacy adopted by our preferred version of political realism.
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  16. Legitimacy, Democracy and Public Justification: Rawls' Political Liberalism Versus Gaus' Justificatory Liberalism.Enzo Rossi - 2014 - Res Publica 20 (1):9-25.
    Public justification-based accounts of liberal legitimacy rely on the idea that a polity’s basic structure should, in some sense, be acceptable to its citizens. In this paper I discuss the prospects of that approach through the lens of Gerald Gaus’ critique of John Rawls’ paradigmatic account of democratic public justification. I argue that Gaus does succeed in pointing out some significant problems for Rawls’ political liberalism; yet his alternative, justificatory liberalism, is not voluntaristic enough to satisfy the desiderata of a (...)
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  17.  74
    Modus Vivendi, Consensus, and (Realist) Liberal Legitimacy.Enzo Rossi - 2010 - Public Reason 2 (2):21-39.
    A polity is grounded in a modus vivendi (MV) when its main features can be presented as the outcome of a virtually unrestricted bargaining process. Is MV compatible with the consensus-based account of liberal legitimacy, i.e. the view that political authority is well grounded only if the citizenry have in some sense freely consented to its exercise? I show that the attraction of MV for consensus theorists lies mainly in the thought that a MV can be presented as legitimated through (...)
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  18. Legitimacy and Consensus in Rawls' Political Liberalism.Enzo Rossi - 2014 - Iride: Filosofia e Discussione Pubblica 27:37-56.
    In this paper I analyze the theory of legitimacy at the core of John Rawls’ political liberalism. Rawls argues that a political system is well grounded when it is stable. This notion of stability embodies both pragmatic and moral elements, each of which constitutes a key desideratum of Rawlsian liberal legitimacy. But those desiderata are in tension with each other. My main claim is that Rawls’ strategy to overcome that tension through his theory of public justification is ultimately unsuccessful, because (...)
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  19. Review of Raymond Geuss, Reality and Its Dreams. [REVIEW]Enzo Rossi - 2016 - Notre Dame Philosophical Review.
    In this review I try and show the ways in which Geuss’ new work may advance the (radical) realist programme. The main contribution in the new essays, as I see it, is the emphasis on the counterintuitively transformative potential of a realist approach, as opposed to the false promise of highly moralised approaches. I also highlight some open questions about Geuss’ realism, primarily to do with his contextualism and with the role of feasibility constraints.
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  20.  42
    The Exemption That Confirms the Rule: Reflections on Proceduralism and the Uk Hybrid Embryos Controversy.Enzo Rossi - 2009 - Res Publica 15 (3):237-250.
    This paper provides an interpretation of the licensing provisions envisaged under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 as a model for a rule and exemption-based procedural strategy for the adjudication of potential ethical controversies, and it offers an account of the liberal-democratic legitimacy of the procedure’s outcomes as well as of the legal procedure itself. Drawing on a novel articulation of the distinction between exceptions and exemptions, the paper argues that such a rule and exemption mechanism, while not devoid (...)
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  21. Liberalism, Modernity, and Communal Being. [REVIEW]Enzo Rossi - 2010 - Imprints: Egalitarian Theory and Practice 10 (3):257-264.
    A critical discussion of Toula Nicolacopoulos' 'The Radical Critique of Liberalism'. I analyse her methodology of 'critical reconstructionism' and argue that considerations about the epistemic status of the inquiring practices leading to the formulation of liberal political theory need not affect the viability and desirability of liberal political practice, especially if we adopt a historically-informed realist account of the foundations of liberalism.
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  22.  28
    Introduction: Justice, Legitimacy and Diversity.Emanuela Ceva & Enzo Rossi - 2012 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 15 (2):101-108.
  23. Liberal Democracy and the Challenge of Ethical Diversity.Enzo Rossi - 2008 - Human Affairs 18 (1):10-22.
    What do we talk about when we talk about ethical diversity as a challenge to the normative justifiability of liberal democracy? Many theorists claim that liberal democracy ought to be reformed or rejected for not being sufficiently ‘inclusive’ towards diversity; others argue that, on the contrary, liberalism is desirable because it accommodates (some level of) diversity. Moreover, it has been argued that concern for diversity should lead us to favour (say) neutralistic over perfectionist, universalistic over particularistic, participative over representative versions (...)
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  24.  60
    The EU's Democratic Deficit in a Realist Key: Multilateral Governance, Popular Sovereignty, and Critical Responsiveness.Jan Pieter Beetz & Enzo Rossi - forthcoming - Transnational Legal Theory.
    This paper provides a realist analysis of the EU's legitimacy. We propose a modification of Bernard Williams' theory of legitimacy, which we term critical responsiveness. For Williams, 'Basic Legitimation Demand + Modernity = Liberalism'. Drawing on that model, we make three claims. (i) The right side of the equation is insufficiently sensitive to popular sovereignty; (ii) The left side of the equation is best thought of as a 'legitimation story': a non-moralised normative account of how to shore up belief in (...)
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  25.  69
    Pluralism, Preferences, and Deliberation: A Critique of Sen's Constructive Argument for Democracy.Carlo Argenton & Enzo Rossi - 2013 - Journal of Social Philosophy 44 (2):129-145.
    In this paper we argue that Sen's defence of liberal democracy suffers from a moralistic and pro-liberal bias that renders it unable to take pluralism as seriously as it professes to do. That is because Sen’s commitment to respecting pluralism is not matched by his account of how to individuate the sorts of preferences that ought to be included in democratic deliberation. Our argument generalises as a critique of the two most common responses to the fact of pluralism in contemporary (...)
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  26.  80
    Understanding Religion, Governing Religion: A Realist Perspective.Enzo Rossi - 2017 - In Cecile Laborde & Aurelia Bardon (eds.), Religion in Liberal Political Philosophy. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    Cécile Laborde has argued that the freedom we think of as ‘freedom of religion’ should be understood as a bundle of separate and relatively independent freedoms. I criticise that approach by pointing out that it is insufficiently sensitive to facts about the sorts of entities that liberal states are. I argue that states have good reasons to mould phenomena such as religion into easily governable monoliths. If this is a problem from the normative point of view, it is not due (...)
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  27.  57
    Liberal Legitimacy : A Study of the Normative Foundations of Liberalism.Enzo Rossi - unknown
    This thesis is a critique of the prominent strand of contemporary liberal political theory which maintains that liberal political authority must, in some sense, rest on the free consent of those subjected to it, and that such a consensus is achieved if a polity’s basic structure can be publicly justified to its citizenry, or to a relevant subset of it. Call that the liberal legitimacy view. I argue that the liberal legitimacy view cannot provide viable normative foundations for political authority, (...)
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  28.  14
    A Year in the Life of the European Journal of Political Theory.Enzo Rossi, Matt Sleat & Rob Jubb - 2016 - European Journal of Political Theory 15 (4):375-376.
  29.  25
    Contested Identities and Spatial Marginalization: The Case of Roma and Gypsy-Travelers in Wales.Francesco Chiesa & Enzo Rossi - forthcoming - In Stefano Moroni & David Weberman (eds.), Space and Pluralism.
    In this paper we analyse the connection between the contested ethno-cultural labelling of Gipsy-Travellers in Wales and their position of social marginalisation, with special reference to spatial issues, such as the provision of campsites and public housing. Our main aim is to show how the formal and informal (mis)labelling of minority groups leads to a number of morally and politically questionable outcomes in their treatment on the part of political authorities. Our approach combines a close reading of official policy documents, (...)
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  30.  13
    A Message From the New Editors.Enzo Rossi, Matt Sleat & Rob Jubb - 2014 - European Journal of Political Theory 13 (4):385-387.
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  31.  12
    Teaching and Learning Guide For: Realism in Normative Political Theory.Enzo Rossi & Matt Sleat - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (10):741-744.
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  32.  51
    Justice, Legitimacy, and Diversity: Political Authority Between Realism and Moralism.Emanuela Ceva & Enzo Rossi (eds.) - 2012 - Routledge.
    Most contemporary political philosophers take justice—rather than legitimacy—to be the fundamental virtue of political institutions vis-à-vis the challenges of ethical diversity. Justice-driven theorists are primarily concerned with finding mutually acceptable terms to arbitrate the claims of conflicting individuals and groups. Legitimacy-driven theorists, instead, focus on the conditions under which those exercising political authority on an ethically heterogeneous polity are entitled to do so. But what difference would it make to the management of ethical diversity in liberal democratic societies if legitimacy (...)
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