ECPR & BA Summer School

ECPR SUMMER SCHOOL ON METHODS IN NORMATIVE POLITICAL THEORY
SPECIAL TOPIC: POLITICAL EPISTEMOLOGY
ORGANISERS: SIEGEN UNIVESITY (GERMANY) AND KEELE UNIVERSITY (UK)
VENUE: SIEGEN UNIVERSITY

Political epistemology is the theory of knowledge applied to politically relevant aspects of our lives. Assuming that one aim of politics should be to bring about just societies and a just world, one question political epistemology will try to answer is the question of how to acquire knowledge of what is just. We can therefore consider at least three types of investigation which will preoccupy political epistemologists.

First, there will be higher-order questions concerning the nature of political knowledge and justice – for instance, whether we can talk about knowledge with regard to the justice of the society or whether justice is rather a matter of sheer force or compromise; or what the relation between justice and the ethical good is. Secondly, there will be normative questions concerning the standards (if any) which guide us in acquiring knowledge about just political processes – for instance, whether knowing what justice is, is a matter of some form of agreement (hypothetical, actual or modal) or the result of some form of scientific process (for instance, concerned with the calculation of the situation where happiness or some other factor is maximised) or the outcome of some practices which reflect the citizens’ responsible character. Thirdly, there will be applied questions concerning the possibility of knowing what justice requires in particular cases - for instance, in the case of climate change, the behaviour of politicians (e.g. should sincerity play a role) or electoral processes.

During the summer school, participants will attend lectures delivered by academics with expertise in political epistemology and will have the opportunity to reflect on the topics by presenting their own work with relevance for issues in political epistemology. Issues considered during the summer school may include:

- The role of knowledge and justification in politics;
- The problem of deep disagreement;
- The role of force in a just society;
- Epistemic injustice;
- Deliberative democracy and its problems;
- The role of ideal theory in politically relevant epistemic processes;
- Constructivist and contractualist accounts of justice;
- The role of sincerity and trust in politics;
- The epistemic value of electoral processes;
- The use of ignorance in political processes, including populism, propaganda and manipulation;
- Climate change and its political implications;
- Uncertainty and Freedom of Speech
- International politics and the possibility of global justice.