One of my significant secondary interests concerns methodological debates in political science and political theory. In 2018, Alex Worsnip (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) and I published a paper on 'Is there a distinctively political normativity?' in the leading philosophy journal Ethics, interrogating an argument advocated by many 'political realists' that politics involved its own kinds of normative concerns that are not moral in nature.
In another major journal, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, political theorist Matt Sleat has recently advanced a critique of our Ethics paper, suggesting that we have mischaracterised realism. But this suggestion by Sleat appears to rest on a significant misunderstanding of what Alex Worsnip and I actually argue, and the position we impute to realists. We have therefore written a short reply to Sleat, seeking to clear up this misunderstanding.
We'd stress that we have a lot of respect for Sleat's broader work on realism - and particularly recommend his edited volume Politics Recovered: Essays on Realist Political Thought, and his Liberal Realism: A Realist Theory of Liberal Politics.
You can read our reply, here:
You can read Sleat's original critique of us here:
You can find out more about Matt Sleat's own work on his departmental web page, here:
You can find out more about Alex Worsnip's work on his website, here:
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