• Can deliberation neutralise power?
    European Journal of Political Theory 17 (3): 257-279. 2018.
    Most democratic theorists agree that concentrations of wealth and power tend to distort the functioning of democracy and ought to be countered wherever possible. Deliberative democrats are no exception: though not its only potential value, the capacity of deliberation to ‘neutralise power’ is often regarded as ‘fundamental’ to deliberative theory. Power may be neutralised, according to many deliberative democrats, if citizens can be induced to commit more fully to the deliberative resolution of …Read more
  • Beyond the search for the subject: An anti-essentialist ontology for liberal democracy
    European Journal of Political Theory 147488511876388. forthcoming.
    Reading Foucault’s work on power and subjectivity alongside “developmentalist” approaches to evolutionary biology, this article endorses poststructuralist critiques of political ideals grounded in the value of subjective agency. Many political theorists embrace such critiques, of course, but those who do are often skeptical of liberal democracy, and even of normative theory itself. By contrast, those who are left to theorize liberal democracy tend to reject or ignore poststructuralist insights, …Read more
  • When will a Darwinian approach be useful for the study of society?
    Politics, Philosophy and Economics 16 (3): 259-281. 2017.
    In recent years, some have claimed that a Darwinian perspective will revolutionize the study of human society and culture. This project is viewed with disdain and suspicion, on the other hand, by many practicing social scientists. This article seeks to clear the air in this heated debate by dissociating two claims that are too often assumed to be inseparable. The first is the ‘ontological’ claim that Darwinian principles apply, at some level of abstraction, to human society and culture. The seco…Read more
  • Between Critical and Normative Theory
    Political Research Quarterly 69 1-12. 2016.
    Over the last decade, a call for greater “realism” in political theory has challenged the goals and methods that are implicit in much contemporary “normative” theory. However, realists have yet to produce a convincing alternative research program that is “constructive” rather than primarily “critical” in nature. I argue that given their common wariness of a devotion to abstract principles, realists should consider adopting John Dewey’s vision of theoretical expertise as an expansive kind of pred…Read more