Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


One Cheer for Autonomy-centered Perfectionism: An Arm’s-length Defense of Joseph Raz’s Perfectionism Against an Allegation of Internal Inconsistency

Issue: Issue 1 • Author/s: Matthew H. Kramer
Topics: Political philosophy

In the present article, I will concentrate sustainedly on a central strand of Jonathan Quong’s critique of Joseph Raz’s autonomy-centered liberal perfectionism. Rightly taking Raz to have offered the most elaborate and prominent version of autonomy-centered perfectionism in the contemporary debates over such matters, Quong devotes much of the first half of his book to contesting a number of Raz’s positions. This article will defend Raz against one of Quong’s chief objections, an allegation of internal inconsistency.

The Democratic Riddle

Issue: Issue 2 • Author/s: Philip Pettit
Topics: Political philosophy

Democracy means popular control, by almost all accounts. And by almost all accounts democracy entails legitimacy. But popular control, at least as that is understood in many discussions, does not entail  legitimacy. So something has got to give. Democratic theories divide on what this is, so that the question prompts a taxonomy of approaches. The most appealing answer, so the paper suggests, involves a reinterpretation of the notion of popular control.

Unreasonableness and Rights: On Quong’s Liberalism without Perfection

Issue: Issue 2 • Author/s: Hillel Steiner
Topics: Philosophy of law, Political philosophy

This article argues that Quong’s Liberalism without Perfection errs in claiming that the grounds for enforceably prohibiting unreasonable conduct are that it is unreasonable. What grounds that prohibition is, rather, that such conduct violates independently determined distributively just rights. Political liberalism presupposes a theory of distributive justice.

When THUNCing Trumps Thinking: What Distant Alternative Worlds Can Tell Us About the Real World [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 6 • Author/s: Stephan Lewandowsky, Elisabeth A. Lloyd, Scott Brophy
Topics: Epistemology, Ethics, Political philosophy

By and large, our cognition is a truth-tracking device. There is much evidence that people’s cognition can be optimal in many circumstances. Non-conventional forms of cognition, such as conspiracist ideation and belief in the paranormal, are considered less suited as a reality-tracking device. We suggest that actual conspiracies are preferentially identified by conventional cognition, whereas non-existent conspiracies that are the objects of conspiracy theories fall within the domain of conspiracist cognition. We explore the implications of this suggestion through an analysis of President Donald Trump’s Twitter discourse.

The Study of Conspiracy Theories [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 6 • Author/s: Joseph E. Uscinski
Topics: Epistemology, Ethics, Political philosophy

The study of conspiracy theories has undergone a drastic transformation in the last decade. While early scholarly treatments relied on historical cases and cultural analyses, more recent works focus on the individuals who subscribe either to specific conspiracy beliefs or to more generalized conspiratorial thinking. This shift in focus presents scholars with an opportunity to learn more about how and why conspiracy theories gain followers. But also, this new focus presents dangers which have yet to be fully considered by the psychologists, social-psychologists, and political scientists spearheading the research. In…

The Problem of Conspiracism [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 6 • Author/s: Matthew Dentith
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophy of language, Political philosophy, Theoretical philosophy

Belief in conspiracy theories is typically considered irrational, and as a consequence of this, conspiracy theorists––those who dare believe some conspiracy theory––have been charged with a variety of epistemic or psychological failings. Yet recent philosophical work has challenged the view that belief in conspiracy theories should be considered as typically irrational. By performing an intra-group analysis of those people we call “conspiracy theorists”, we find that the problematic traits commonly ascribed to the general group of conspiracy theorists turn out to be merely a set of stereotypical behaviours and thought…