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Utopophobia

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

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  1. 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.
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  • Adversariality and Ideal Argumentation: A Second-Best Perspective.Marc-Kevin Daoust - 2021 - Topoi 40 (5):887-898.
    What is the relevance of ideals for determining virtuous argumentative practices? According to Bailin and Battersby (2016), the telos of argumentation is to improve our cognitive systems, and adversariality plays no role in ideally virtuous argumentation. Stevens and Cohen (2019) grant that ideal argumentation is collaborative, but stress that imperfect agents like us should not aim at approximating the ideal of argumentation. Accordingly, it can be virtuous, for imperfect arguers like us, to act as adversaries. Many questions are left unanswered (...)
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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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  • An Ideology Critique of Nonideal Methodology.Matthew Adams - 2019 - European Journal of Political Theory (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. Inde...
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  • Ideální konsenzus, reálná diverzita a výzva veřejného ospravedlnění: k limitům idealizace v liberální politické teorii [Ideal Consensus, Real Diversity, and the Challenge of Public Justification: On the Limits of Idealisation in Liberal Political Theory].Matouš Mencl & Pavel Dufek - 2021 - Acta Politologica 2 (13):49–70.
    The paper deals with the methodological clash between idealism and anti-idealism in political philosophy, and highlights its importance for public reason (PR) and public justification (PJ) theorising. Upon reviewing the broader context which harks back to Rawls’s notion of a realistic utopia, we focus on two major recent contributions to the debate in the work of David Estlund (the prototypical utopian) and Gerald Gaus (the cautious anti-utopian). While Estlund presents a powerful case on behalf of ideal theorising, claiming that motivational (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Political Legitimacy as a Problem of Judgment: What Distinguishes Moralist, Realist, and Pragmatist Approaches?Thomas Fossen - forthcoming - Social Theory and Practice.
    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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  • The Ethics of Climate Engineering: Solar Radiation Management and Non-Ideal Justice.Toby Svoboda - 2017 - Routledge.
    This book analyzes major ethical issues surrounding the use of climate engineering, particularly solar radiation management techniques, which have the potential to reduce some risks of anthropogenic climate change but also carry their own risks of harm and injustice. The book argues that we should approach the ethics of climate engineering via "non-ideal theory," which investigates what justice requires given the fact that many parties have failed to comply with their duty to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, it argues that (...)
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Feasibility beyond Non-ideal Theory: a Realist Proposal.Ilaria Cozzaglio & Greta Favara - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-16.
    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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  • Luck egalitarianism without moral tyranny.Jesse Spafford - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-25.
    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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  • Political Realism as Methods Not Metaethics.Jonathan Leader Maynard - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-15.
    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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  • 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. 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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  • The Interdependence of Risk and Moral Theory.Eva Erman - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (2):207-216.
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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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  • 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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  • "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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  • Political Normativity and the Functional Autonomy of Politics.Carlo Burelli - forthcoming - European Journal of Political Theory:147488512091850.
    This article argues for a new interpretation of the realist claim that politics is autonomous from morality and involves specific political values. First, this article defends an original normative source: functional normativity. Second, it advocates a substantive functional standard: political institutions ought to be assessed by their capacity to select and implement collective decisions. Drawing from the ‘etiological account’ in philosophy of biology, I will argue that functions yield normative standards, which are independent from morality. For example, a ‘good heart’ (...)
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  • How Cynical Can Ideal Theory Be?Aaron James - 2016 - Journal of International Political Theory 12 (2):118-133.
    This article characterizes the aims of a practice-based method of justification and explains why its form of “ideal theory” need to only assume that a group of agents “ideationally” endorse an aim or end. Our interpretation of a practice, according to its aims or ends, can thus be quite realistic about the selfish or corrupt motives of any particular agent. This helps to answer “selectorate theory” cynics that view rules as equilibrium solutions among elites optimizing for their personal “political survival.” (...)
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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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  • The Autonomy of the Political and the Challenge of Social Sciences.Dimitrios Tsarapatsanis - 2019 - 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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  • Differences of Difference.David Jenkins - 2021 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 24 (2):206-229.
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  • Stefano Bartolini: The Political: London: Rowman & Littlefield International, ECPR Press, 2018. Paperback (ISBN-10: 1786613093) 33,23 Euros. 170. [REVIEW]Carlo Burelli - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (2):483-485.
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • On the Normative Insignificance of Neuroscience and Dual-Process Theory.Peter Königs - 2018 - Neuroethics 11 (2):195-209.
    According to the dual-process account of moral judgment, deontological and utilitarian judgments stem from two different cognitive systems. Deontological judgments are effortless, intuitive and emotion-driven, whereas utilitarian judgments are effortful, reasoned and dispassionate. The most notable evidence for dual-process theory comes from neuroimaging studies by Joshua Greene and colleagues. Greene has suggested that these empirical findings undermine deontology and support utilitarianism. It has been pointed out, however, that the most promising interpretation of his argument does not make use of the (...)
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  • A Realistic Conception of Politics: Conflict, Order and Political Realism.Carlo Burelli - 2019 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-23.
    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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  • Social Reform in a Complex World.Jacob Barrett - 2020 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 17 (2).
    Our world is complex—it is composed of many interacting parts—and this complexity poses a serious difficulty for theorists of social reform. On the one hand, we cannot merely work out ways of ameliorating immediate problems of injustice, because the solutions we generate may interact to set back the achievement of overall long-term justice. On the other, we cannot supplement such problem solving with theorizing about how to make progress towards a long-term goal of ideal justice, because the very interactions that (...)
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Cautiously Utopian Goals : Philosophical Analyses of Climate Change Objectives and Sustainability Targets.Patrik Baard - 2016 - Dissertation, KTH Royal Institute of Technology
    In this thesis, the framework within which long-term goals are set and subsequently achieved or approached is analyzed. Sustainable development and climate change are areas in which goals have tobe set despite uncertainties. The analysis is divided into the normative motivations for setting such goals, what forms of goals could be set given the empirical and normative uncertainties, and how tomanage doubts regarding achievability or values after a goal has been set. Paper I discusses a set of questions that moral (...)
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  • The Tyranny of a Metaphor.David Wiens - 2018 - Cosmos + Taxis 5 (2):13-28.
    Debates on the practical relevance of ideal theory revolve around Sen's metaphor of navigating a mountainous landscape. In *The Tyranny of the Ideal*, Gerald Gaus presents the most thorough articulation of this metaphor to date. His detailed exploration yields new insight on central issues in existing debates, as well as a fruitful medium for exploring important limitations on our ability to map the space of social possibilities. Yet Gaus's heavy reliance on the navigation metaphor obscures questions about the reasoning by (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Differences of Difference.David Jenkins - 2018 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-24.
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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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  • Will the Real Principles of Justice Please Stand Up?David Wiens - 2017 - In Kevin Vallier & Michael Weber (eds.), Political Utopias: Contemporary Debates. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter develops a ``nesting'' model of deontic normative principles (i.e., principles that specify moral constraints upon action) as a means to understanding the notion of a ``fundamental normative principle''. I show that an apparently promising attempt to make sense of this notion such that the ``real'' or ``fundamental'' demands of justice upon action are not constrained by social facts is either self-defeating or relatively unappealing. We should treat fundamental normative principles not as specifying fundamental constraints upon action, but as (...)
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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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  • Skepticism About Unconstrained Utopianism.Edward Hall - 2016 - Social Philosophy and Policy 33 (1-2):76-95.
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  • Idealization, Justice, and the Form of Practical Reason.Simon Hope - 2016 - Social Philosophy and Policy 33 (1-2):372-392.
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