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Thomas Fossen
Leiden University
  1. Taking Stances, Contesting Commitments: Political Legitimacy and the Pragmatic Turn.Thomas Fossen - 2013 - Journal of Political Philosophy 21 (1):426-450.
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  2. The Grammar of Political Obligation.Thomas Fossen - 2013 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics (3):1470594-13496072.
    This essay presents a new way of conceptualizing the problem of political obligation. On the traditional ‘normativist’ framing of the issue, the primary task for theory is to secure the content and justification of political obligations, providing practically applicable moral knowledge. This paper develops an alternative, ‘pragmatist’ framing of the issue, by rehabilitating a frequently misunderstood essay by Hanna Pitkin and by recasting her argument in terms of the ‘pragmatic turn’ in recent philosophy, as articulated by Robert Brandom. From this (...)
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  3. Politicizing Brandom's Pragmatism: Normativity and the Agonal Character of Social Practice.Thomas Fossen - 2012 - European Journal of Philosophy 20 (4):371-395.
    This paper provides an agonistic interpretation of Robert Brandom's social-pragmatic account of normativity. I argue that social practice, on this approach, should be seen not just as cooperative, but also as contestatory. This aspect, which has so far remained implicit, helps to illuminate Brandom's claim that normative statuses are ‘instituted’ by social practices: normative statuses are brought into play in mutual engagement, and are only in play from an engaged social perspective among others. Moreover, in contrast to a positivist or (...)
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  4. Agonistic Critiques of Liberalism: Perfection and Emancipation.Thomas Fossen - 2008 - Contemporary Political Theory 7 (4):376–394.
    Agonism is a political theory that places contestation at the heart of politics. Agonistic theorists charge liberal theory with a depoliticization of pluralism through an excessive focus on consensus. This paper examines the agonistic critiques of liberalism from a normative perspective. I argue that by itself the argument from pluralism is not sufficient to support an agonistic account of politics, but points to further normative commitments. Analyzing the work of Mouffe, Honig, Connolly, and Owen, I identify two normative currents of (...)
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  5. Nietzsche's Aristocratism Revisited.Thomas Fossen - 2008 - In Siemens Herman W. & Roodt Vasti (eds.), Nietzsche, Power and Politics: Rethinking Nietzsche's Legacy for Political Thought. De Gruyter.
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  6. Electoral Dioramas: On the Problem of Representation in Voting Advice Applications.Thomas Fossen & Bert van den Brink - 2015 - Representation 51 (3):341-358.
    Voting Advice Applications (VAAs) are online tools designed to help citizens decide how to vote. They typically offer their users a representation of what is at stake in an election by matching user preferences on issues with those of parties or candidates. While the use of VAAs has boomed in recent years in both established and new democracies, this new phenomenon in the electoral landscape has received little attention from political theorists. The current academic debate is focused on epistemic aspects (...)
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  7. Agonism and the Law. [REVIEW]Thomas Fossen - 2012 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 38 (3):327-331.
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  8.  57
    Review of Bert van Roermund, Legal Thought and Philosophy: What Legal Scholarship is About. [REVIEW]Thomas Fossen - forthcoming - Political Theory.
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  9.  28
    Voting Advice Applications and Political Theory: Citizenship, Participation and Representation.Joel Anderson & Thomas Fossen - 2014 - In Garzia Diego & Marschall Stefan (eds.), Matching Voters with Parties and Candidates: Voting Advice Applications in Comparative Perspective. Colchester, UK: ECPR Press. pp. 217-226.
    Voting Advice Applications (VAAs) are interactive online tools designed to assist voters by improving the basis on which they decide how to vote. In recent years, they have been widely adopted, but their design is the subject of ongoing and often heated criticism. Most of these debates focus on whether VAAs accurately measure the standpoints of political parties and the preferences of users and on whether they report valid results while avoiding political bias. It is generally assumed that if their (...)
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