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THE STRUCTURE OF JUSTIFICATION IN POLITICAL CONSTRUCTIVISM

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Abstract

Abstract: In this article the author develops the view, held by some, that political constructivism is best interpreted as a pragmatic enterprise aiming to solve political problems. He argues that this interpretation's structure of justification is best conceived in terms of two separate investigations—one develops a normative solution to a particular political problem by working up into a coherent whole certain moral conceptions of persons and society; and the other is an empirically based analysis of the political problem. The author argues that the empirically based analysis can generate criteria for assessing whether the normative theory successfully works out a solution, thereby developing a functionalist structure of justification. He further argues that this interpretation overcomes a longstanding criticism of constructivism, namely, that the use of substantive moral concepts in the hypothetical choice procedure biases the defense of principles in a particular direction and therefore begs important philosophical questions.

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