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Political realism and fact-sensitivity

Hall, Edward (2013) Political realism and fact-sensitivity. Res Publica, 19 (2). pp. 173-181. ISSN 1356-4765

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s11158-012-9199-x


Political realists complain that much contemporary political philosophy is insufficiently attentive to various facts about politics yet some political philosophers insist that any critique of normative claims on grounds of unrealism is misplaced. In this paper I focus on the methodological position G.A. Cohen champions in order assess the extent to which this retort succeeds in nullifying the realist critique of contemporary political philosophy. I argue that Cohen's work does not succeed in doing so because the political principles that we are prepared to endorse are hostage to various fact-sensitive judgements about how they apply to the political domain. I then argue that this discredits various philosophical approaches to political theorising which begin by utilising non-political thought-experiments, such as Cohen's own Why Not Socialism?

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 Springer
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2012 15:10
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2024 20:00
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council

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