Data based radicalism? data usage and the problem of critical distance in contextual and empirical political theory

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Abstract

Empirical political theory has grown in importance. In empirical political theory, attention to data is part of the evaluative step. A concern was raised that being attentive to the content of political science data implies that such attentiveness would limit the normative contours of empirical political theory, and will create a status-quo bias. This concern has been called the ‘problem of critical distance’. One way to appraise the significance of this problem is to examine the work done by empirical political theorists such as Anderson (on racial integration), Wenar (on international trade), and Carens (on immigration). All three scholars suggest radical policies that differ from existing institutions and rules. The likelihood that a theory will suffer from the problem of critical distance will depend on the type of usage of data by a given theorist, her/his normative standpoint, and the manner in which they coalesce or differ.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Status quo bias
  • contextualism
  • empirical political theory
  • methodology
  • radicalism

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