Political Theory: Public Values and Normative Guidance
Endorsed by the ECPR Standing Group on Political Theory
Recently, there has been a considerable debate on how to make ethical and philosophical reflection relevant in offering normative guidance to public policy.
For some, the ambition of intervening with the instruments of philosophical inquiry in the political debate is misplaced. Gerald Gaus, for one, has argued that we should be wary of ‘participation in public controversy masked as philosophy corrupts philosophy’, because it tends to transform philosophical reasoning in policy advocacy (Gaus, Should philosophers ‘apply ethics’?, 2005: 67).
Others, like Jo Wolff (Wolff, Ethics and Public Policy. A Philosophical Enquiry, 2011) and Henry Shue (Shue, Ethical Dimensions of Public Policy, 2006), defend the role of theorists and philosophers in understanding ethical dilemmas in public policy, informing the debate by bringing in a variety of perspectives, detecting ambiguities and confusions, pointing at injustices, clarifying objectives.
This section, supported by the ECPR Standing Group on Political Theory, invites discussions and reflections on the relevance, the methods, and applicability of ethics in public policy.
Topics that may be discussed include, but are not limited to: environmental policies, the ethics of taxation, the regulation of technology innovation, values in public education, the separation of state and church, poverty and social exclusion, the ethics of public officials.
We welcome proposals from all traditions and subfields of political theory. We aim to facilitate engagement across sub-disciplinary boundaries and to support innovative research within particular traditions or on particular problems. To promote engagement across different traditions, we welcome panel proposals that address problems, themes and concepts from multiple perspectives. To promote specialized work on particular topics, we welcome panel proposals that either address the complexities and diversity of particular traditions in political theory, or focus on particular problems or issues from within the confines of one particular tradition, such as the analytical tradition.
Maria Paola Ferretti is senior research fellow in political theory at the Cluster of Excellence “The Formation of Normative Orders” at the Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main, where she works on a project on the ethics of risk. Her research interests include contemporary liberalism, the ethics of public policy, democratic participation and corruption. She has published in journals such as Politics, Philosophy and Economics, Philosophy Compass, the Journal of Applied Philosophy, Review of Policy Research, Global Society. She is currently co-convenor of the ECPR Political Theory Standing Group.
Emanuela Ceva is Associate Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Pavia. She has held visiting positions at Oxford, St. Andrews, Montréal, Harvard. She works on value conflict, toleration, democracy, and corruption. Recent articles have appeared in Philosophy Compass, Social Theory and Practice, Journal of Social Philosophy, Journal of Applied Philosophy, Politics, Philosophy & Economics. She is currently co-convenor of the ECPR Political Theory Standing Group.