Public Reason: Vol. 10, No. 2, 2018 & Vol. 11, No. 1, 2019
A Methodological Turn in Political Philosophy: Making Political Philosophy More Scientific?
Tereza Krepelová

The emergence of the first literature concerning the methodology of political philosophy, which we have witnessed over the last decade, indicates a general methodological shift within the discipline. This shift can be interpreted as a sign of the ongoing adjustment of political philosophy to the domain of science that had already begun when analytical political philosophy incorporated from logical positivism the premise of the unity of method of science and philosophy. The urge to have an epistemic source of justification for normative political theories lead analytical political philosophy to the development of various methodological frameworks from among which reflective equilibrium became the most influential one and nowadays it is being considered as the most widely used method in the contemporary political philosophy overall. Reflective equilibrium aims to provide knowledge that falls into the same category as scientific knowledge; however, it can also lead to various normative distortions resulting in the elimination of metaphysics, meta-ethics and religious claims from the normative part of political philosophical theorising. These normative distortions not only can result in epistemically wrong conclusions; above all, they implicitly affirm the normative propositions of political conceptions of liberalism. Hence, the prevalence and uncritical use of reflective equilibrium might narrow the topical scope and undermine the reflective and critical role of the discipline of political philosophy itself.

Key words: political science, political philosophy, methodology, analytical political philosophy, logical positivism, political liberalism, epistemic value, epistemic justification, reflective equilibrium, philosophy of science.


Krepelov√°, Tereza.2019. A Methodological Turn in Political Philosophy: Making Political Philosophy More Scientific?Public Reason 10 (2) - 11 (1): 77-92.