This article advances the case for ‘normative behaviourism’ – a new way of doing political philosophy that tries to turn facts about observable patterns of behaviour, as produced by different political systems, into grounds for specific political principles. This approach is applied to four distinct problems at the heart of the ideal/non-ideal theory and moralism/realism debates: (1) How to distinguish good from bad idealisations; (2) how to rank options of variable feasibility, cost, and danger; (3) how to distinguish legitimate acceptance of a given political system from acceptance based on coercion or false consciousness; and (4) how to translate abstract principles into concrete institutions. Objections against the general viability of normative behaviourism, and against the types of behaviour it tracks, are also considered.
|Number of pages||26|
|Journal||Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy|
|Early online date||1 Aug 2018|
|Publication status||Published - 23 Feb 2020|
- Normative behaviourism
- ideal theory
- non-ideal theory
- facts and principles
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- School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies - Associate Professor in Political Theory