Monthly Archives: June 2012

Follow-up post at Big Think: “Why Failing the Rationality Quiz Shouldn’t Alarm You”

Recent best-selling books by cognitive psychologists point toward a thesis of human irrationality — a claim that hasn’t greeted with enough critical analysis by political philosophers.

If you took the three-question quiz linked here last week, chances are you answered some items incorrectly. I argue today that the human capacity for reason may be fragile and partial but is not belied by studies in which large percentages of subjects answer a few tricky questions incorrectly.

Public Reason members and readers are invited to contribute their reactions and insights. read more...

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Teoria politica – Call for paper

International Journal of Theory of Politics – Teoria politica

From Democracy In the Net to Democracy On the Net?

Over the decades a transformation process that is different according to location but essentially homogeneous has taken place. Regimes commonly considered to be democratic tend to develop non-democratic features. To express the nature of these regimes terms have been coined such as «post-democracy», «audience democracy», «electoral dictatorship», «elective autocracy», or «technocratic caesaropapism» to highlight a different direction that might be shaping the erosion of self-government. In this context, the sensational events of popular protests that have affected many areas of the globe, resulting in some cases, as in North Africa, in revolutions, in other cases setting mass dissent against decisions imposed from above, can be interpreted as strengthening and recovering of the democratic spirit. Beyond the obvious differences, all these movements are united in pursuing the goal, intensive and extensive use of ICTs. Could democracy trapped «in the net» of various degenerative processes pull itself out of it by going «on the net»? Internet seems to some scholars a suitable tool to promote new forms of participation and deliberation: Can horizontally «inter(net)connected» citizens avoid limitations and distortions of traditional political decision-making processes? Other scholars have pointed out that political action mediated by ICTs risk falling into new traps, not necessarily different from those in which democracy has fallen before: populist tendencies, inequality and exclusion (digital divide), manipulations and autocratic control. How you can prevent Internet from becoming another trap? read more...

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New blog post at Big Think: “How Rational Are You? Try This Quiz”

Irony lurks in the surge of interest in cognitive psychologists’ research on human reasoning: we seem to be desperately interested in thinking about how poorly we think. Here’s a quiz to test your own powers of rationality, with some questions about what the results might mean:

Public Reason readers are invited to join the conversation.

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Collective Responsibility: Ethics, Law, and Public Policy for the Twenty-First Century (3-4 July 2012)

The conference will be hosted by the Centre for Advanced Studies, Justitia AmplificataGoethe-Universität Frankfurt, with funding from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

Venue: Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften, Bad Homburg v.d. Höhe, Germany (near Frankfurt)

To register, please email Ms Valérie Bignon at Please indicate whether you would like to attend the conference dinner (there will be a charge of €30) and whether you have any special dietary requirements.


Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen (Aarhus University)

Christian List (London School of Economics)

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Symposium on John Tomasi’s Free Market Fairness

The Bleeding Heart Libertarians blog is hosting a symposium on John Tomasi’s newest book, Free Market Fairness. The symposium begins today, June 11th, and runs through next Monday, June 18th.

The schedule for the symposium is below. Please see the introduction page here for more information.

Monday: Deirdre McCloskey – “Giving a Damn: The Missing Ethics in Political Philosophy

Tuesday: Elizabeth Anderson – “Recharting the Map of Social and Political Theory: Where is Government? Where is Conservatism?”

Wednesday: Will Wilkinson – “Market Democracy and Dirty Ideal Theory” read more...

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Oxford Handbook in Political Philosophy

Readers may be interested in the appearance of this volume. OUP plans to make the chapters available online (by institutional subscription) later in the summer.

The Oxford Handbook of Political Philosophy
Edited by David Estlund

Even though political philosophy has a long tradition, it is much more than the study of old and great treatises. Contemporary philosophers continue to press new arguments on old and timeless questions, but also to propose departures and innovations. The field changes over time, and new work inevitably responds both to events in the world and to the directions of thought itself. This volume includes 22 new pieces by leaders in the field on both perennial and emerging topics of keen interest to contemporary political philosophers. In addition to longstanding issues such as Authority, Equality, and Freedom, and Democracy, there are articles on less classical topics such as Race, Historical Injustice, Deliberation, Money and Politics, Global Justice, and Ideal and Non-Ideal Theory. All of the pieces combine clarity and accessibility with a top scholar’s critical and original point of view. The introductory essay briefly situates this snapshot of the state of the art in a broader view of developments in political philosophy in the last 40 years, and looks forward to future developments. Students and scholars alike will find the pieces to be valuable not only surveys but as provocations to think further about the questions, puzzles, and practical problems that animate recent work in political philosophy. The issues will be of interest to many working in philosophy, political science, law, economics, and more. read more...

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