What Normative Facts Should Political Theory Be About? Philosophy of Science meets Political Liberalism

In David Sobel, Steven Wall & Peter Vallentyne (eds.), Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy. New York, NY, USA: pp. 185-220 (2020)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Just as different sciences deal with different facts—say, physics versus biology—so we may ask a similar question about normative theories. Is normative political theory concerned with the same normative facts as moral theory or different ones? By developing an analogy with the sciences, we argue that the normative facts of political theory belong to a higher— more coarse-grained—level than those of moral theory. The latter are multiply realizable by the former: competing facts at the moral level can underpin the same facts at the political one. Consequently, some questions that moral theories answer are indeterminate at the political level. This proposal offers a novel interpretation of John Rawls’s idea that, in public reasoning, we should abstract away from comprehensive moral doctrines. We contrast our distinction between facts at different levels with the distinction between admissible and inadmissible evidence and discuss some implications for the practice of political theory.
No keywords specified (fix it)
(categorize this paper)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Upload history
Archival date: 2020-05-25
View other versions
Added to PP index

Total views
612 ( #8,358 of 2,427,865 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
478 ( #701 of 2,427,865 )

How can I increase my downloads?

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