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Utopophobia

Philosophy and Public Affairs 42 (2):113-134 (2014)

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  1. Scientific Models and Political Theory: The Ideal Theory Debate Revisited.Ryan M. Nefdt - 2021 - Theoria 87 (6):1585-1608.
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  • From Moral Principles to Political Judgments: The Case for Pragmatic Idealism.Pierre-Étienne Vandamme - 2021 - Moral Philosophy and Politics 8 (2):261-283.
    Political judgments usually combine a normative principle or intuition with an appreciation of empirical facts regarding the achievability of different options and their potential consequences. The interesting question dividing partisans of political idealism and realism is whether these kinds of considerations should be integrated into the normative principles themselves or considered apart. At first sight, if a theorist is concerned with guiding political judgments, non-ideal or realist theorizing can seem more attractive. In this article, however, I argue that ideal theorizing (...)
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  • Material scarcity and scalar justice.Matthew Adams & Ross Mittiga - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (7):2237-2256.
    We defend a scalar theory of the relationship between material scarcity and justice. As scarcity increases beyond a specified threshold, we argue that deontological egalitarian constraints should be gradually relaxed and consequentialist considerations should increasingly determine distributions. We construct this theory by taking a bottom-up approach that is guided by principles of medical triage. Armed with this theory, we consider the range of conditions under which justice applies. We argue that there are compelling reasons for thinking that justice applies under (...)
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  • Editorial ‘Political Normativity. Critical Essays on the Autonomy of the Political’.Carlo Burelli, Ilaria Cozzaglio, Chiara Destri & Greta Favara - 2022 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 25 (3):393-396.
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  • The Sources of Political Normativity: the Case for Instrumental and Epistemic Normativity in Political Realism.Carlo Burelli & Chiara Destri - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 25 (3):397-413.
    This article argues that political realists have at least two strategies to provide distinctively political normative judgements that have nothing to do with morality. The first ground is instrumental normativity, which states that if we believe that something is a necessary means to a goal we have, we have a reason to do it. In politics, certain means are required by any ends we may intend to pursue. The second ground is epistemic normativity, stating that if something is true, this (...)
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  • Feasibility beyond Non-ideal Theory: a Realist Proposal.Ilaria Cozzaglio & Greta Favara - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 25 (3):417-432.
    Some realists in political theory deny that the notion of feasibility has any place in realist theory, while others claim that feasibility constraints are essential elements of realist normative theorising. But none have so far clarified what exactly they are referring to when thinking of feasibility and political realism together. In this article, we develop a conception of the realist feasibility frontier based on an appraisal of how political realism should be distinguished from non-ideal theories. In this realist framework, political (...)
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  • Political Realism as Methods not Metaethics.Jonathan Leader Maynard - 2022 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 25 (3):449-463.
    This paper makes the case for a revision of contemporary forms of political realism in political theory. I argue that contemporary realists have gone awry in increasingly centring their approach around a metaethical claim: that political theory should be rooted in a political form of normativity that is distinct from moral normativity. Several critics of realism have argued that this claim is unconvincing. But I suggest that it is also a counterintuitive starting point for realism, and one unnecessary to avoid (...)
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  • Can the Welfare State Justify Restrictive Asylum Policies? A Critical Approach.Clara Sandelind - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (2):331-346.
    Liberal egalitarians tend to be committed both to generous asylum policies and generous, universal welfare states. Yet there may be political, social and economic reasons why there is a conflict in realising both. Asylum seekers may create economic pressures to the welfare state, or undermine national solidarity supposedly necessary to support redistribution. In this paper, I discuss how political theorists should approach these empirical concerns. I take issue with the view that theorists can simply move between ‘realism’ and ‘idealism’ by (...)
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  • Experimental philosophy and the fruitfulness of normative concepts.Matthew Lindauer - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (8):2129-2152.
    This paper provides a new argument for the relevance of empirical research to moral and political philosophy and a novel defense of the positive program in experimental philosophy. The argument centers on the idea that normative concepts used in moral and political philosophy can be evaluated in terms of their fruitfulness in solving practical problems. Empirical research conducted with an eye to the practical problems that are relevant to particular concepts can provide evidence of their fruitfulness along a number of (...)
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  • Republicanism as Critique of Liberalism.Lars J. K. Moen - forthcoming - Southern Journal of Philosophy.
    The revival of republicanism was meant to challenge the hegemony of liberalism in contemporary political theory on the grounds that liberals show insufficient concern with institutional protection against political misrule. This article challenges this view by showing how neorepublicanism, particularly on Philip Pettit’s formulation, demands no greater institutional protection than does political liberalism. By identifying neutrality between conceptions of the good as the constraint on institutional requirements that forces neorepublicanism into the liberal framework, the article shows that neutrality is what (...)
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  • A realistic conception of politics: conflict, order and political realism.Carlo Burelli - 2021 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 24 (7):977-999.
    In this paper I unpack a realistic conception of politics by tightly defining its constitutive features: conflict and order. A conflict emerges when an actor is disposed to impose his/her views against the resistance of others. Conflicts are more problematic than moralists realize because they emerge unilaterally, are potentially violent, impermeable to content-based reason, and unavoidable. Order is then defined as an institutional framework that provides binding collective decisions. Order is deemed necessary because individuals need to cooperate to survive, but (...)
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  • Global Democracy and Feasibility.Eva Erman - 2020 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 23 (3):1-21.
    While methodological and metatheoretical questions pertaining to feasibility have been intensively discussed in the philosophical literature on feasibility and justice in recent years, these discussions have not permeated the debate on global democracy. The overall aim in this paper is to demonstrate the fruitfulness of importing some of the advancements made in this literature into the debate on global democracy as well as to develop aspects that are relevant for explaining the role of feasibility in normative political theory. This is (...)
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  • Differences of difference.David Jenkins - 2021 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 24 (2):206-229.
    Realists criticise the moralised approaches that inform ideal political theory for being unable to handle the brute facts of disagreement that constitute political reality. As a result, such approaches are insufficiently political, too ambitious in terms of the substantive unanimity that can be expected to emerge from political differences, and naive in the proposals they make. In this paper, I use Brian Barry’s ‘moralised‘ approach – as developed in ’Justice as Impartiality’ – to argue that ideal theory can be reformulated (...)
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  • Differences of difference.David Jenkins - 2021 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 24 (2):206-229.
    Realists criticise the moralised approaches that inform ideal political theory for being unable to handle the brute facts of disagreement that constitute political reality. As a result, such approaches are insufficiently political, too ambitious in terms of the substantive unanimity that can be expected to emerge from political differences, and naive in the proposals they make. In this paper, I use Brian Barry’s ‘moralised‘ approach – as developed in ’Justice as Impartiality’ – to argue that ideal theory can be reformulated (...)
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  • Why not anarchism?Jason Brennan & Christopher Freiman - 2022 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 21 (4):415-436.
    Politics, Philosophy & Economics, Volume 21, Issue 4, Page 415-436, November 2022. Recent debates over ideal theory have reinvigorated interest in the question of anarchy. Would a perfectly just society need—or even permit—a state? Ideal anarchists such as Jason Brennan, G.A. Cohen, Christopher Freiman, and Jacob Levy argue that strict compliance with justice obviates the need for a state. Ideal statists such as David Estlund, Gregory Kavka, and John Rawls think that coercive political institutions serve indispensable functions even in ideal (...)
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  • An ideology critique of nonideal methodology.Matthew Adams - 2021 - European Journal of Political Theory 20 (4).
    Ideal theory has been extensively contested on the grounds that it is ideology: namely, that it performs the distorting social role of reifying and enforcing unjust features of the status quo. Indeed, a growing number of philosophers adopt a nonideal methodology—which dispenses with ideal theory—because of this ideology critique. I argue, however, that such philosophers are confused about the ultimate dialectical upshot of this critique even if it succeeds. I do so by constructing a parallel—equally plausible—ideology critique of nonideal methodology; (...)
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  • Politics and the vocation of political theory.Paul Raekstad - 2022 - Constellations 29 (4):447-459.
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  • Politics and the vocation of political theory.Paul Raekstad - 2022 - Constellations 29 (4):447-459.
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  • Motivational Limitations on the Demands of Justice.David Wiens - 2016 - European Journal of Political Theory 15 (3):333-352.
    Do motivational limitations due to human nature constrain the demands of justice? Among those who say no, David Estlund offers perhaps the most compelling argument. Taking Estlund’s analysis of “ability” as a starting point, I show that motivational deficiencies can constrain the demands of justice under at least one common circumstance — that the motivationally-deficient agent makes a good faith effort to overcome her deficiency. In fact, my argument implies something stronger; namely, that the demands of justice are constrained by (...)
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  • Political Ideals and the Feasibility Frontier.David Wiens - 2015 - Economics and Philosophy 31 (3):447-477.
    Recent methodological debates regarding the place of feasibility considerations in normative political theory are hindered for want of a rigorous model of the feasibility frontier. To address this shortfall, I present an analysis of feasibility that generalizes the economic concept of a production possibility frontier and then develop a rigorous model of the feasibility frontier using the familiar possible worlds technology. I then show that this model has significant methodological implications for political philosophy. On the Target View, a political ideal (...)
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  • Impure theorizing in an imperfect world: Politics, utopophobia and critical theory in Geuss’s realism.Peter J. Verovšek - 2018 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 45 (3):265-283.
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  • Gerechtigkeit und Moralismus.Amadeus Ulrich - 2022 - Zeitschrift für Praktische Philosophie 8 (2):89-116.
    Der neue politische Realismus erkennt in John Rawls einen Erzfeind. In jüngeren Debatten scheint oft evident zu sein, dass gerade Eine Theorie der Gerechtigkeit exemplarisch für einen Moralismus sei, der die politische Wirklichkeit verzerre. Doch die Sache ist kompliziert. In diesem Aufsatz blicke ich zurück auf sein Frühwerk im Lichte dieser Kritik. Dabei geht es mir um vier Einwände: dass Rawls’ Idealtheorie kein Ratgeber für das politische Handeln und ideologisch verblendet sei; Macht und ihre Legitimierbarkeit nicht überzeugend konzipiere; die Bedeutung (...)
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  • The autonomy of the political and the challenge of social sciences.Dimitrios Tsarapatsanis - 2021 - European Journal of Political Theory 20 (2).
    In 2010, Martin Loughlin published his opus magnum Foundations of Public Law, the culmination of years of intensive research on the topics of public law and constitutional theory. In Questioning the Foundations of Public Law, Michael Wilkinson and Michael Dowdle put together a rich collection of papers that probe deeply into various facets of Loughlin’s work. In this review article, I critically examine an aspect of this probing, articulated by Wilkinson, to do with the autonomy of the political as the (...)
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  • What (if Anything) is Ideological about Ideal Theory?Titus Stahl - 2022 - European Journal of Political Theory:147488512211071.
    It is sometimes argued that ideal theories in political philosophy are a form of ideology. This article examines arguments building on the work of Charles Mills and Raymond Geuss for the claim that ideal theories are cognitively distorting belief systems that have the effect of stabilizing unjust social arrangements. I argue that Mills and Geuss neither succeed in establishing that the content of ideal theories is necessarily cognitively defective in the way characteristic for ideologies, nor can they make plausible which (...)
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  • Luck egalitarianism without moral tyranny.Jesse Spafford - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (2):469-493.
    Luck egalitarians contend that, while each person starts out with a claim to an equal quantity of advantage, she can forfeit this claim by making certain choices. The appeal of luck egalitarianism is that it seems to satisfy what this paper calls the moral tyranny constraint. According to this constraint, any acceptable theory of justice must preclude the possibility of an agent unilaterally, discretionarily, and foreseeably leaving others with less advantage under conditions of full compliance with the theory. This paper (...)
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  • The feasibility issue.Nicholas Southwood - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (8):e12509.
    It is commonly taken for granted that questions of feasibility are highly relevant to our normative thinking – and perhaps especially our normative thinking about politics. But what exactly does this preoccupation with feasibility amount to, and in what forms if any is it warranted? This article aims to provide a critical introduction to, and clearer characterization of, the feasibility issue. I begin by discussing the question of how feasibility is to be understood. I then turn to the question of (...)
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  • "Actual" does not imply "feasible".Nicholas Southwood & David Wiens - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (11):3037-3060.
    The familiar complaint that some ambitious proposal is infeasible naturally invites the following response: Once upon a time, the abolition of slavery and the enfranchisement of women seemed infeasible, yet these things were actually achieved. Presumably, then, many of those things that seem infeasible in our own time may well be achieved too and, thus, turn out to have been perfectly feasible after all. The Appeal to History, as we call it, is a bad argument. It is not true that (...)
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  • Feasibility as a Constraint on ‘Ought All-Things-Considered’, But not on ‘Ought as a Matter of Justice’?Nicholas Southwood - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (276):598-616.
    It is natural and relatively common to suppose that feasibility is a constraint on what we ought to do all-things-considered but not a constraint on what we ought to do as a matter of justice. I show that the combination of these claims entails an implausible picture of the relation between feasibility and desirability given an attractive understanding of the relation between what we ought to do as a matter of justice and what we ought to do all-things-considered.
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  • Contractualism for Us As We Are.Nicholas Southwood - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (3):529-547.
    A difficult problem for contractualists is how to provide an interpretation of the contractual situation that is both subject to appropriately stringent constraints and yet also appropriately sensitive to certain features of us as we actually are. My suggestion is that we should embrace a model of contractualism that is structurally analogous to the “advice model” of the ideal observer theory famously proposed by Michael Smith (1994; 1995). An advice model of contractualism is appealing since it promises to deliver a (...)
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  • What is a political value? Political philosophy and fidelity to reality.Matt Sleat - 2016 - Social Philosophy and Policy 33 (1-2):252-272.
    :This essay seeks to defend the claim that political philosophy ought to be appropriately guided by the phenomenon of politics that it seeks to both offer a theory of and, especially in its normative guise, offer a theory for. It does this primarily through the question of political values. It begins by arguing that for any value to qualify as a value for the political domain, it must be intelligible in relation to the constitutive features of politics as a human (...)
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  • Systemic domination, social institutions and the coalition problem.Hallvard Sandven - 2020 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 19 (4):382-402.
    This article argues for a systemic conception of freedom as non-domination. It does so by engaging with the debate on the so-called coalition problem. The coalition problem arises because non-domination holds that groups can be agents of power, while also insisting that freedom be robust. Consequently, it seems to entail that everyone is in a constant state of domination at the hands of potential groups. However, the problem can be dissolved by rejecting a ‘strict possibility’ standard for interpreting non-domination’s robustness (...)
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  • Facts, Principles, and (Real) 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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  • Being realistic and demanding the impossible.Enzo Rossi - 2019 - Constellations 26 (4):638-652.
    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. (...)
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  • Utopía y derecho: un argumento en favor del reconocimiento de su vínculo.Lucas Emmanuel Misseri - 2019 - Escritos 27 (58):119-139.
    The main idea of the article is that there is a complementary link between utopia and law. Thus, the purpose is to show, through a conceptual and historical analysis, that denying such a link, at least, means the existence of an unclear and biased view of the concept of utopia and its historical development. For this purpose, it presents a provisional definition of utopia along with two assumptions underlying such definition: an economical and an anthropological one. It also presents a (...)
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  • Justice, Feasibility, and Social Science as it is.Emily McTernan - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (1):27-40.
    Political philosophy offers a range of utopian proposals, from open borders to global egalitarianism. Some object that these proposals ought to be constrained by what is feasible, while others insist that what justice demands does not depend on what we can bring about. Currently, this debate is mired in disputes over the fundamental nature of justice and the ultimate purpose of political philosophy. I take a different approach, proposing that we should consider which facts could fill out a feasibility requirement. (...)
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  • Rawls’s Ideal Theory: A Clarification and Defense.D. C. Matthew - 2019 - Res Publica 25 (4):553-570.
    In recent work in political philosophy there has been much discussion of two approaches to theorizing about justice that have come to be called ‘ideal theory’ and ‘non-ideal theory’. The distinction was originally articulated by Rawls, who defended his focus on ideal theory in terms of a supposed ‘priority’ of the latter over non-ideal theory. Many critics have rejected this claim of priority and in general have questioned the usefulness of ideal theory. In diagnosing the problem with ideal theory, they (...)
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  • Friend or Foe?: Bernard Williams and Political Constitutionalism.Cormac S. Mac Amhlaigh - 2021 - Res Publica 27 (2):219-234.
    This article looks at Bernard Williams’s relevance to particular debates in constitutional theory about the legitimacy of two competing models of institutional design: political constitutionalism which endorses giving the final say on the meaning of constitutional rights to legislatures; and legal constitutionalism which endorses giving the final say on the meaning of rights to courts. Recent defences of political constitutionalism have made claims about the realism of their accounts when compared with legal constitutionalism and have co-opted Bernard Williams’s realism to (...)
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  • To every thing there is a season: Theory, history, and global justice.Amnon Lev - 2021 - Constellations 28 (2):221-233.
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  • The challenges of ideal theory and appeal of secular apocalyptic thought.Ben Jones - 2020 - European Journal of Political Theory 19 (4):465-488.
    Why do thinkers hostile or agnostic toward Christianity find in its apocalyptic doctrines—often seen as bizarre—appealing tools for interpreting politics? This article tackles that puzzle. First, i...
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  • Idealization, justice, and the form of practical reason.Simon Hope - 2016 - Social Philosophy and Policy 33 (1-2):372-392.
    :Current debates about ideal theory and idealization in modern moral and political philosophy do not typically scrutinize the form of reflection itself. This is an unfortunate oversight: assumptions about the form of reflection shape the positions defended in those debates. I argue that the appropriate form of reflection on the nature and justification of standards of justice and morality is the form of practical reason. I further argue that the form of practical reason cannot support many of the idealizations typically (...)
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  • What should relational egalitarians believe?Anne-Sofie Greisen Hojlund - 2021 - Sage Publications: Politics, Philosophy and Economics 21 (1):55-74.
    Politics, Philosophy & Economics, Volume 21, Issue 1, Page 55-74, February 2022. Many find that the objectionable nature of paternalism has something to do with belief. However, since it is commonly held that beliefs are directly governed by epistemic as opposed to moral norms, how could it be objectionable to hold paternalistic beliefs about others if they are supported by the evidence? Drawing on central elements of relational egalitarianism, this paper attempts to bridge this gap. In a first step, it (...)
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  • What should relational egalitarians believe?Anne-Sofie Greisen Hojlund - 2022 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 21 (1):55-74.
    Many find that the objectionable nature of paternalism has something to do with belief. However, since it is commonly held that beliefs are directly governed by epistemic as opposed to moral norms, how could it be objectionable to hold paternalistic beliefs about others if they are supported by the evidence? Drawing on central elements of relational egalitarianism, this paper attempts to bridge this gap. In a first step, it argues that holding paternalistic beliefs about others implies a failure to regard (...)
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  • Distributive Justice, Feasibility Gridlocks, and the Harmfulness of Economic Ideology.Lisa Herzog - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (5):957-969.
    Many political theorists think about how to make societies more just. In recent years, with interests shifting from principles to their institutional realization, there has been much debate about feasibility and the role it should play in theorizing. What has been underexplored, however, is how feasibility depends on the attitudes and perceptions of individuals, not only with regard to their own behaviour, but also with regard to the behaviour of others. This can create coordination problems, which can be described as (...)
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  • Skepticism about unconstrained utopianism.Edward Hall - 2016 - Social Philosophy and Policy 33 (1-2):76-95.
    :In this essay, I critically engage with a methodological approach in contemporary political theory — unconstrained utopianism — which holds that we can only determine how we should live by first giving an account of the principles that would govern society if people were perfectly morally motivated. I provide reasons for being skeptical of this claim. To begin with I query the robustness of the principles unconstrained utopianism purportedly delivers. While the method can be understood as offering existence proofs, because (...)
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  • Political Legitimacy as a Problem of Judgment.Thomas Fossen - 2022 - Social Theory and Practice 48 (1):89-113.
    This paper examines the differences between moralist, realist, and pragmatist approaches to political legitimacy by articulating their largely implicit views of judgment. Three claims are advanced. First, the salient opposition among approaches to legitimacy is not between “moralism” and “realism.” Recent realist proposals for rethinking legitimacy share with moralist views a distinctive form, called “normativism”: a quest for knowledge of principles that solve the question of legitimacy. This assumes that judging legitimacy is a matter of applying such principles to a (...)
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  • With radicals like these, who needs conservatives? Doom, gloom, and realism in political theory.Lorna Finlayson - 2017 - European Journal of Political Theory 16 (3):1474885114568815.
    This paper attempts to get some critical distance on the increasingly fashionable issue of realism in political theory. Realism has an ambiguous status: it is sometimes presented as a radical challenge to the _status quo_; but it also often appears as a conservative force, aimed at clipping the wings of more ‘idealistic’ political theorists. I suggest that what we might call ‘actually existing realism’ is indeed a conservative presence in political philosophy, and that its ambiguous status plays a part in (...)
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  • Low-Fee Private Schools in Developing Nations: Some Cautionary Remarks.Juan Espindola - 2020 - Global Justice : Theory Practice Rhetoric 12 (1):55-77.
    This paper examines and rejects two normative justifications for low-fee private schools, whose expansion throughout the Global South in recent years has been significant. The first justification – what I shall call the ideal thesis – contends that LFPS are the best mechanism to expand access to quality education, particularly at the primary level, and that the premise of their success is that they reject educational equality and state intervention in educational affairs, traditionally associated with public schools, embracing instead educational (...)
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  • The Interdependence of Risk and Moral Theory.Eva Erman - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (2):207-216.
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  • A World of Possibilities: The Place of Feasibility in Political Theory.Eva Erman & Niklas Möller - 2020 - Res Publica 26:1-23.
    Although the discussion about feasibility in political theory is still in its infancy, some important progress has been made in the last years to advance our understanding. In this paper, we intend to make a contribution to this growing literature by investigating the proper place of feasibility considerations in political theory. A motivating force behind this study is a suspicion that many presumptions made about feasibility in several current debates—such as that between practice-independence and practice-dependence, ideal and non-ideal theory, and (...)
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  • Sexual Reorientation in Ideal and Non‐Ideal Theory.Candice Delmas & Sean Aas - 2018 - Journal of Political Philosophy 26 (4):463-485.
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