Empirical Approaches to Normative Theory

Empirical Approaches to Normative Theory E M P I R I C A L A P P R O A C H E S T O N O R M AT I V E T H I N K I N G Empirical Approaches to Normative Theory1 Societies are constantly trying to beat people into shape because they stubbornly fail to conform to some preconceived pattern of human possibility. Political theory is in this sense an empirical discipline whose hypotheses give hostages to the future, and whose experiments can be very costly. (Nagel, 1991, p. 7) Nagel's position has been taken to heart neither by philosophers nor normative political theorists. Both have been reluctant to embrace empirical techniques. Yet, some empirical elements must be understood if one is to tackle the philosophical questions of justice, fairness, and welfare. Here we address extending empirical techniques, such as experiments,2 into social and political philosophy as a means of clarifying the nature of reality about which we ordinarily know too little. covered and documented in a set of famous, and seemingly ever expanding, set of laboratory experiments (Kahnemann, 1982; Tversky, 1988; Quattrone, 1988; Grether and Plott, 1979). Value instability is not a question of under-specification. An http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Good Society Penn State University Press

Empirical Approaches to Normative Theory

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Abstract

E M P I R I C A L A P P R O A C H E S T O N O R M AT I V E T H I N K I N G Empirical Approaches to Normative Theory1 Societies are constantly trying to beat people into shape because they stubbornly fail to conform to some preconceived pattern of human possibility. Political theory is in this sense an empirical discipline whose hypotheses give hostages to the future, and whose experiments can be very costly. (Nagel, 1991, p. 7) Nagel's position has been taken to heart neither by philosophers nor normative political theorists. Both have been reluctant to embrace empirical techniques. Yet, some empirical elements must be understood if one is to tackle the philosophical questions of justice, fairness, and welfare. Here we address extending empirical techniques, such as experiments,2 into social and political philosophy as a means of clarifying the nature of reality about which we ordinarily know too little. covered and documented in a set of famous, and seemingly ever expanding, set of laboratory experiments (Kahnemann, 1982; Tversky, 1988; Quattrone, 1988; Grether and Plott, 1979). Value instability is not a question of under-specification. An

Journal

The Good SocietyPenn State University Press

Published: Mar 12, 2002

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