Experiments in Political Science and Political Philosophy: On Paper, Online and In Practice

Open Panel

Matching similar attempts in other areas of philosophy (applied epistemology, legal philosophy, applied metaphysics, philosophy of language, etc.), the aim of this panel is to bring together recent experimental work that centres on ordinary normative views about politics understood as a normative practice. In doing so, the panel is meant to highlight the importance of data-sensitive political philosophy and assess what taking people’s normative views seriously means for the content of various political theories. In particular, we are interested in papers that:

(1) Explore whether claims advanced by particular political theories/political philosophers about what ordinary citizens think about specific subject-matters (e.g. legitimacy, punishment, social justice, democratic deliberation, etc.) are empirically adequate;

(2) Offer a systematic methodological reflection on the role of experimental political philosophy within the broader field of (either analytic or critical) political philosophy;

(3) Reflect on the practical implications of various types of experimental political philosophy for concrete public policy areas (in particular, we are interested in the way in which different conceptions of public opinion might inform different ways of doing political philosophy).

(4) We also welcome paper proposals examining philosophical and practical considerations related to the recent evolution towards increased evidence-based policy-making and, specifically, in relation with the role of pilots and experiments in relation to the UBI idea. These considerations pertain mainly to the nature of the questions UBI experiments are meant to answer, the social epistemology of UBI experiments under conditions of epistemic uncertainty and policy disagreement, the epistemic status of evidence derived from UBI experiments in evidence-based policy-making, and the relation between experimental evidence and political theories offering a justification for adopting UBI policy.