Facts, Principles, and (Real) Politics

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (2):505-520 (2016)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
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 normative political judgments. So political theorists have to choose between principles ostensibly unbiased by our current understanding of human motivation and political reality, or principles capable of reliably generating political judgments. I conclude with wider methodological observations in defence of the latter option, and so of a return to political philosophy’s traditional blend of normative and descriptive elements.
ISBN(s)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
ROSFPA-3
Upload history
Archival date: 2015-11-21
View other versions
Added to PP index
2015-10-07

Total views
758 ( #4,623 of 51,477 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
101 ( #4,605 of 51,477 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.