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Title: Political theory as moral philosophy
Author: Turner, Jonathan
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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I argue against the claim that normative political theory is 'autonomous' with respect to moral philosophy. I take the simple view that political theory is a form of moral philosophy, and is differentiated by pragmatic rather than theoretically significant criteria. I defend this view by criticizing arguments for the autonomy thesis. In the first three chapters I introduce and analyse the autonomy thesis and provide a framework for understanding the various claims that are made in the literature. In Chapters 4 to 8 I proceed to criticize a series of arguments for the autonomy thesis. In Chapter 4 I explain why Kant's division of morality into ethics and right is not as useful as it may seem to those who wish to defend the autonomy thesis, and argues that Arthur Ripstein gives no reason to think that political philosophy is autonomous that can be endorsed independently of commitment to a Kantian normative theory. In Chapter 5 I examine the political liberal argument for the autonomy thesis, concluding that even if a freestanding political conception of justice can be regarded as autonomous, it does not follow that political philosophy can also. Chapters 6 to 8 tackle various political realist arguments for the autonomy thesis. In Chapter 6 I argue that political theory is not required to deal with empirical facts in any way that distinguishes it from moral philosophy, and any argument for its autonomy that is based on a prior claim about the purpose of political theorizing would be question-begging. In Chapters 7 and 8 I provide various arguments against the idea that there is a distinctively political form of normativity, and diagnose some of the mistaken assumptions about morality that I take to lie at the heart of the realist case. In Chapter 9 I conclude.
Supervisor: Gardner, John ; Stemplowska, Zofia Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political theory ; Political science--Philosophy ; Political philosophy ; autonomy of political theory ; autonomy of politics ; autonomy of political philosophy