Deconstruction is no game of mirrors, revealing the text as a play of surface against surface. Its more radical philosophical effort is to get behind the mirror and question the very nature of reflection. The Tain of the Mirror explores that gritty surface without which no reflection would be possible.
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 (...) and other realists, Frankfurt School-inspired Critical Theory, and recent analytic epistemological and metaphysical theories of cognitive bias, ideology, and social construction. The upshot is a novel account of realism as empirically-informed diagnosis- critique of social and political phenomena. This view rejects a sharp divide between descriptive and normative theory, and so is an alternative to the anti- empiricism of some approaches to Critical Theory as well as to the complacency towards existing power structures found within liberal realism, let alone mainstream normative political philosophy, liberal or otherwise. (shrink)
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 (...) liberal normative theory in a non-moralistic way. I conclude with wider methodological observations. I argue that unlike communitarianism, realism has the potential to open new vistas, though their novelty is to a large extent relative to the last forty years or so: realism is best thought of as a return to a more traditional way of doing political philosophy. (shrink)
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.
Since Saul Kripke’s influential work in the 1970s, the revisionary approach to semantic paradox—the idea that semantic paradoxes must be solved by weakening classical logic—has been increasingly popular. In this paper, we present a new revenge argument to the effect that the main revisionary approaches breed new paradoxes that they are unable to block.
Beall and Murzi :143–165, 2013) introduce an object-linguistic predicate for naïve validity, governed by intuitive principles that are inconsistent with the classical structural rules. As a consequence, they suggest that revisionary approaches to semantic paradox must be substructural. In response to Beall and Murzi, Field :1–19, 2017) has argued that naïve validity principles do not admit of a coherent reading and that, for this reason, a non-classical solution to the semantic paradoxes need not be substructural. The aim of this paper (...) is to respond to Field’s objections and to point to a coherent notion of validity which underwrites a coherent reading of Beall and Murzi’s principles: grounded validity. The notion, first introduced by Nicolai and Rossi, is a generalisation of Kripke’s notion of grounded truth, and yields an irreflexive logic. While we do not advocate the adoption of a substructural logic, we take the notion of naïve validity to be a legitimate semantic notion that points to genuine expressive limitations of fully structural revisionary approaches. (shrink)
Contextualist approaches to the Liar Paradox postulate the occurrence of a context shift in the course of the Liar reasoning. In particular, according to the contextualist proposal advanced by Charles Parsons and Michael Glanzberg, the Liar sentence L doesn’t express a true proposition in the initial context of reasoning c, but expresses a true one in a new, richer context c', where more propositions are available for expression. On the further assumption that Liar sentences involve propositional quantifiers whose domains may (...) vary with context, the Liar reasoning is blocked. But why should context shift? We argue that the paradox involves principles of contextualist reflection that explain, by analogy with well-known reflection principles for arithmetic, why context must shift from c to c' in the course of the Liar reasoning. This provides a diagnosis of the Liar Paradox—one that equally applies to two revenge arguments against contextualist approaches, one recently advanced by Andrew Bacon, the other mentioned by Charles Parsons and more recently revived by Cory Juhl. (shrink)
In this paper, we propose a defence of Value Realism that relies on the unusual combination of Values Realism with Sentimentalism. What this account, which we call “Sentimental Realism”, holds, in a nutshell, is that what makes evaluative facts special is their relationship to emotions. More precisely, Sentimental Realism claims that evaluative facts are fully objective facts, but that such facts are picked out by concepts that are response-dependent, in the sense that they are essentially tied to emotions. Our plan (...) is as follows. We shall start with a presentation of Sentimental Realism and a discussion of its main virtues. On the basis of this, we shall discuss an objection to Value Realism that draws on evolutionary considerations, the Evolutionary Debunking Argument. We shall argue that Sentimental Realism safely escapes from this dilemma. (shrink)
To what extent are questions of sovereign debt a matter for political rather than scientific or moral adjudication? We answer that question by defending three claims. We argue that (i) moral and technocratic takes on sovereign debt tend to be ideological in a pejorative sense of the term, and that therefore (ii) sovereign debt should be politicised all the way down. We then show that this sort of politicisation need not boil down to the crude Realpolitik of debtor-creditor power relations—a (...) conclusion that would leave no room for normative theory, among other problems. Rather, we argue that (iii) in a democratic context, a realist approach to politics centred on what Bernard Williams calls ‘The Basic Legitimation Demand’ affords a deliberative approach to the normative evaluation of public debt policy options. (shrink)
We discuss the principles for a primitive, object-linguistic notion of consequence proposed by ) that yield a version of Curry’s paradox. We propose and study several strategies to weaken these principles and overcome paradox: all these strategies are based on the intuition that the object-linguistic consequence predicate internalizes whichever meta-linguistic notion of consequence we accept in the first place. To these solutions will correspond different conceptions of consequence. In one possible reading of these principles, they give rise to a notion (...) of logical consequence: we study the corresponding theory of validity by showing that it is conservative over a wide range of base theories: this result is achieved via a well-behaved form of local reduction. The theory of logical consequence is based on a restriction of the introduction rule for the consequence predicate. To unrestrictedly maintain this principle, we develop a conception of object-linguistic consequence, which we call grounded consequence, that displays a restriction of the structural rule of reflexivity. This construction is obtained by generalizing Saul Kripke’s inductive theory of truth. Grounded validity will be shown to satisfy several desirable principles for a naïve, self-applicable notion of consequence. (shrink)
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 (...) ethics to politics, from the priority of legitimacy over justice and from the nature of political judgement. Next, we ask to what extent realism is a methodological approach as opposed to a substantive political position and so discuss the relationship between realism and a few such positions. We close by pointing out the links between contemporary realism and the realist strand that runs through much of the history of Western political thought. (shrink)
In this paper we put forward a realist account of the problem of the accommodation of conflicting claims over sacred places. Our argument takes its cue from the empirical finding that modern, Western-style states necessarily mould religion into shapes that are compatible with state rule. So, at least in the context of modern states there is no pre-political morality of religious freedom that states ought to follow when adjudicating claims over sacred spaces. In which case most liberal normative theory on (...) religious accommodation turns out to be wrong headed. As an alternative, we suggest the question of contested sacred places should be settled with reference to the state’s purposes—at least as long as one is committed to the existence of modern states. If one finds the state’s treatment of religion unsatisfactory, then our argument provides a pro tanto reason for seeking alternative forms of political organisation. (shrink)
This article reports the findings of AI4People, an Atomium—EISMD initiative designed to lay the foundations for a “Good AI Society”. We introduce the core opportunities and risks of AI for society; present a synthesis of five ethical principles that should undergird its development and adoption; and offer 20 concrete recommendations—to assess, to develop, to incentivise, and to support good AI—which in some cases may be undertaken directly by national or supranational policy makers, while in others may be led by other (...) stakeholders. If adopted, these recommendations would serve as a firm foundation for the establishment of a Good AI Society. (shrink)
A descriptive-exploratory analysis of assurance practices is presented in this paper, by analysing the patterns of sustainability assurance reporting in two national contexts with different levels of assurance activity over a period of 11 years. The study is based on theoretical insights drawn from institutional sociology and normativity production. It is framed both in the Italian situation, where assurance statements consistently include a narrow set of formal and procedural communications, and in an unsettled situation in the U.S., where assurance activity (...) is more incipient, but where experimentation in substantial assurance disclosure practices has more room to develop. Its main implication is that the diffusion of sustainability assurance and the creation of sustainability assurance disclosure norms are not without its cost: information quality does not increase with patterned practice. The results also point towards the noteworthy role of specific professionals in the earlier and later stages of assurance practice norms. They reveal a significant influence of non-Big4 firms in the diffusion of sustainability assurance disclosure norms. In contrast, the Big4 firms appear to be positively associated with the narrowing down of the assurance focus to a selected subset of this activity in later stages of the development of the assurance norm. In this regard, this study provides insight into the circumstantial—but relevant—carrier role of the Big4 firms in determining what “assurance” means. (shrink)
This paper explores trivalent truth conditions for indicative conditionals, examining the “defective” truth table proposed by de Finetti and Reichenbach. On their approach, a conditional takes the value of its consequent whenever its antecedent is true, and the value Indeterminate otherwise. Here we deal with the problem of selecting an adequate notion of validity for this conditional. We show that all standard validity schemes based on de Finetti’s table come with some problems, and highlight two ways out of the predicament: (...) one pairs de Finetti’s conditional with validity as the preservation of non-false values, but at the expense of Modus Ponens; the other modifies de Finetti’s table to restore Modus Ponens. In Part I of this paper, we present both alternatives, with specific attention to a variant of de Finetti’s table proposed by Cooper and Cantwell. In Part II, we give an in-depth treatment of the proof theory of the resulting logics, DF/TT and CC/TT: both are connexive logics, but with significantly different algebraic properties. (shrink)
After summarizing the content of Philip Rossi’s book, The Ethical Commonwealth in History: Peace-Making as the Moral Vocation of Humanity, I pose two main questions. First, does politics or religion play a more important role in Kant’s philosophy when it comes to the task of ushering humanity to the realization of its ultimate vocation, the establishment of a lasting peace for human society? I argue that Kant portrays politics as a means to a religious end, whereas Rossi tends (...) to reverse their Kantian order of priority. Second, what concrete details does Kant give in defense of his theory that establishing an ethical community is a universal duty of humankind? As Rossi tends to overlook Kant’s details, I provide an overview. Kant argues that the ethical community can only be established in the form of a church and that the rational content constituting the core of the true church consists of four requirements: universality, integrity, freedom, and unchangeableness. After challenging Rossi’s claim that Kantian hope is necessarily social, I conclude with two minor questions: Is Kant’s theory of human nature dualist or monist? and Must the church create a political form of peace that applies to all human beings? (shrink)
Are values objective or subjective? To clarify this question we start with an overview of the main concepts and debates in the philosophy of values. We then discuss the arguments for and against value realism, the thesis that there are objective evaluative facts. By contrast with value anti-realism, which is generally associated with sentimentalism, according to which evaluative judgements are grounded in sentiments, value realism is commonly coupled with rationalism. Against this common view, we argue that value realism can be (...) combined with sentimentalism, and we suggest that a plausible account, which we call ‘sentimental realism’, and according to which evaluative judgements are closely related to emotions, can be developped. (shrink)
In this article, identity politics is understood as a form of politics stressing collective but malleable group identities as the basis of political action. This notion of identity politics also allows thinking of identity as intersectional. The focus of this article, and a problem related to identity politics, is that when discussed in the context of the neoliberal order, identity politics has a tendency to become harnessed by the ethos of vulnerability. Some implications of the ‘vulnerabilizisation’ are considered in the (...) field of education, which is a field currently thoroughly affected by neoliberalism. Therefore, it is also important to look closer at the relationship between identity politics and the ethos of vulnerability. In addition, we re-consider poststructuralist thinking as a theoretical and political approach to see what it can offer in terms of re-thinking identity politics and in analyzing the ethos of vulnerability. When categories of vulnerability keep expanding into various psycho-emotional vulnerabilities defining subjects that can be known and spoken about, it is crucial to ask whether we regard these changes as educationally and politically progressive. The article discusses some problematic policies in educational environments and the phenomenon of trigger warnings. (shrink)
It is often argued that fully structural theories of truth and related notions are incapable of expressing a nonstratified notion of defectiveness. We argue that recently much-discussed non-contractive theories suffer from the same expressive limitation, provided they identify the defective sentences with the sentences that yield triviality if they are assumed to satisfy structural contraction.
In our 2018 paper, “Hypocrisy and the Standing to Blame,” we offer an argument justifying the Nonhypocrisy Condition on the standing to blame. Benjamin Rossi (2018) has recently offered several criticisms of this view. We defend our account from Rossi’s criticisms and emphasize our account’s unique advantage: explaining why hypocritical blamers lack the standing to blame.
Deflationists argue that ‘true’ is merely a logico-linguistic device for expressing blind ascriptions and infinite generalisations. For this reason, some authors have argued that deflationary truth must be conservative, i.e. that a deflationary theory of truth for a theory S must not entail sentences in S’s language that are not already entailed by S. However, it has been forcefully argued that any adequate theory of truth for S must be non-conservative and that, for this reason, truth cannot be deflationary :493–521, (...) 1998; Ketland in Mind 108:69–94, 1999). We consider two defences of conservative deflationism, respectively proposed by Waxman :429–463, 2017) and Tennant :551–582, 2002), and argue that they are both unsuccessful. In Waxman’s hands, deflationists are committed either to a non-purely expressive notion of truth, or to a conception of mathematics that does not allow them to justifiably exclude non-conservative theories of truth. Tennant’s conservative deflationism fares no better: if deflationist truth must be conservative over arithmetic, it can be shown to collapse into a non-conservative variety of deflationism. (shrink)
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 (...) (i.e. post-Rawls) liberalism: a broadly procedural understanding of autonomy and the idea of deliberative democracy. That is to say, the difficulties with pluralism we identify can be traced back to the particular version of Kantian deontology prevalent in contemporary liberalism, and to the equally prevalent aspiration to ground political legitimacy in a moralised consensus. (shrink)
In this chapter, we evaluate the politically generative dynamic of urban space. Notably, we put forward the notion of the ‘multiplier effect’ of the urban, referring to its ingrained tendency to multiply resistance to oppression and violence being exerted against subaltern groups and minorities and, in doing so, to turn this multiplied resistance into an active force of social change. We, therefore, look at the twofold valence of ‘resistance’: negative and affirmative. Resistance initially takes form as a defensive response to (...) oppression and violence. When this happens, the urban becomes the living platform for a multiplying dynamic of encounter and, potentially, of inter-group solidarity, thus laying the foundations for a cooperative – rather than competitive, as in neoliberal rationality, or inimical, as in national-populist reason – way of ‘being together’. After having developed this argument against the backdrop of the women’s movement in Tehran and the urban disobedience to anti-immigration policies in Italy, our chapter concludes by reflecting on the multiplier effect of urban resistance within the current context of national revanchism. (shrink)
Political realism is characterised by fidelity to the facts of politics and a refusal to derive political judgments from pre- political moral commitments. Even when they are not taken to make normative theorising impossible or futile, those characteristics are often thought to engender a conservative slant, or at least a tendency to prefer incremental reformism to radicalism. I resist those claims by distinguishing between three variants of realism—ordorealism, contextual realism, and radical realism—and contrasting them with both non-ideal theory and utopianism. (...) I then develop a version of radical realism as a form of debunking and vindicatory genealogy. Even though this new approach eschews both feasibility constraints (unlike non-ideal theory) and prescriptions about the ideal society (unlike utopianism), I show how it has more radical potential than morality-driven (and hence often ideological) political theory, and how it supports both open-ended, radical social critique and concrete forms of prefigurative political action. (shrink)
Hypocrisy is widely thought to be morally objectionable in a way that undermines the hypocrite’s moral standing to blame others. To wit, we seem to intuitively accept the “Nonhypocrisy Condition:” R has the standing to blame S for some violation of a moral norm N only if R’s blaming S is not hypocritical. This claim has been the subject of intensifying philosophical investigation in recent years. However, we can only understand why hypocrisy is morally objectionable and has an effect on (...) standing to blame if we can correctly characterize hypocrisy itself. Unfortunately, some recent discussions fail to do this, which fatally undermines subsequent arguments concerning the effect of hypocrisy on the standing to blame. This paper’s central aim is to develop and defend a better account of hypocrisy. The hope is that with such an account in hand, we can explain and perhaps justify our moral aversion to hypocrisy in general as well as the Nonhypocrisy Condition in particular. (shrink)
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 (...) put forward the idea that upturning the relationship between justice and legitimacy affords a normative notion of authority that does not depend on a pre-political account of morality, and thus avoids some serious problems faced by mainstream theories of justice. I then argue that the appropriate purpose of justice is simply to specify the implementation of an independently grounded conception of legitimacy, which in turn rests on a context- and practice-sensitive understanding of the purpose of political power. (shrink)
This paper argues that Deonna and Teroni's attitudinal theory of emotions faces two serious problems. The first is that their master argument fails to establish the central tenet of the theory, namely, that the formal objects of emotions do not feature in the content of emotions. The second is that the attitudinal theory itself is vulnerable to a dilemma. By pointing out these problems, our paper provides indirect support to the main competitor of the attitudinal theory, namely, the perceptual theory (...) of emotions. (shrink)
The Táin Bó Cuailnge, centre-piece of the eighth-century Ulster cycle of heroic tales, is Ireland's greatest epic. It tells the story of a great cattle-raid, the invasion of Ulster by the armies of Medb and Ailill, queen and king of Connacht, and their allies, seeking to carry off the great Brown Bull of Cuailnge. The hero of the tale is Cuchulainn, the Hound of Ulster, who resists the invaders single-handed while Ulster's warriors lie sick. Thomas Kinsella presents a complete and (...) living version of the story. His translation is based on the partial texts in two medieval manuscripts, with elements from other versions, and adds a group of related stories which prepare for the action of the Táin. Illustrated with brush drawings by Louis le Brocquy, this edition provides a combination of medieval epic and modern art. (shrink)
Crowdfunding is regarded a financing mechanism that could improve the funding opportunities of businesses with a pro-social orientation. Indeed, it is assumed that on digital platforms, citizens are inclined to provide more support to projects with a social benefit than to those without such an orientation, with significant ethical implications for the common good. Yet, extant empirical evidence regarding such a claim is still inconclusive. To advance this discussion, the present paper analyzes the conditions that influence crowd support for projects (...) displaying a pro-social orientation on a reward-based crowdfunding platform. To build our hypotheses, we adopt the lens of framing theory, and we relate it to the digital context. Beginning from the premise that, on crowdfunding platforms, information about projects has a hierarchical structure, we argue that a project’s success crucially depends on how much its proponent emphasizes the pro-social cues within this structure. Moreover, we propose that because pro-social cues demarcate a project over others, the effectiveness of pro-social framing is enhanced when the number of projects on the platform, i.e., its crowdedness, increases. Logit estimates on 8631 Kickstarter projects indicate that pro-social framing is positively associated with success as we expected, yet only when it is moderately emphasized. Further, we find that crowdedness on the platform positively moderates the effect of pro-social orientation on success. (shrink)