•  63
    Collective Action, Constituent Power, and Democracy: On Representation in Lindahl’s Philosophy of Law
    Etica and Politica / Ethics and Politics 21 (3): 383-390. 2019.
    This contribution develops two objections to Hans Lindahl’s legal philosophy, as exhibited in his Authority and the Globalization of Inclusion and Exclusion. First, his conception of constituent power overstates the necessity of violence in initiating collective action. Second, his rejection of the distinction between participatory and representative democracy on the grounds that participation is representation is misleading, and compromises our ability to differentiate qualitatively among vario…Read more
  •  101
    Constructivism and the Logic of Political Representation
    American Political Science Review 113 (3): 824-837. 2019.
    There are at least two politically salient senses of “representation”—acting-for-others and portraying-something-as-something. The difference is not just semantic but also logical: relations of representative agency are dyadic (x represents y), while portrayals are triadic (x represents y as z). I exploit this insight to disambiguate constructivism and to improve our theoretical vocabulary for analyzing political representation. I amend Saward’s claims-based approach on three points, introducing…Read more
  •  27
    Voting advice applications (VAAs) are interactive online tools designed to assist voters by improving the basis on which they decide how to vote. Current VAAs typically aim to do so by matching users’ policy-preferences with the positions of parties or candidates. But this ‘matching model’ depends crucially on implicit, contestable presuppositions about the proper functioning of the electoral process and about the forms of competence required for good citizenship—presuppositions associated with …Read more
  •  152
    This essay examines the promise of the notion of modus vivendi for realist political theory. I interpret recent theories of modus vivendi as affirming the priority of peace over justice, and explore several ways of making sense of this idea. I proceed to identify two key problems for modus vivendi theory, so conceived. Normatively speaking, it remains unclear how this approach can sustain a realist critique of Rawlsian theorizing about justice while avoiding a Hobbesian endorsement of absolutism…Read more
  •  135
    Voting Advice Applications (VAAs) are interactive online tools designed to assist voters by improving the basis on which they decide how to vote. In recent years, they have been widely adopted, but their design is the subject of ongoing and often heated criticism. Most of these debates focus on whether VAAs accurately measure the standpoints of political parties and the preferences of users and on whether they report valid results while avoiding political bias. It is generally assumed that if th…Read more
  •  93
    Language and legitimacy: Is pragmatist political theory fallacious?
    European Journal of Political Theory 18 (2): 293-305. 2019.
    Eva Erman and Niklas Möller have recently criticised a range of political theorists for committing a pragmatistic fallacy, illicitly drawing normative conclusions from politically neutral ideas abo...
  •  1248
    Agonistic Critiques of Liberalism: Perfection and Emancipation
    Contemporary Political Theory 7 (4). 2008.
    Agonism is a political theory that places contestation at the heart of politics. Agonistic theorists charge liberal theory with a depoliticization of pluralism through an excessive focus on consensus. This paper examines the agonistic critiques of liberalism from a normative perspective. I argue that by itself the argument from pluralism is not sufficient to support an agonistic account of politics, but points to further normative commitments. Analyzing the work of Mouffe, Honig, Connolly, and O…Read more
  •  1071
    The grammar of political obligation
    Politics, Philosophy and Economics 13 (3): 215-236. 2014.
    This essay presents a new way of conceptualizing the problem of political obligation. On the traditional ‘normativist’ framing of the issue, the primary task for theory is to secure the content and justification of political obligations, providing practically applicable moral knowledge. This paper develops an alternative, ‘pragmatist’ framing of the issue, by rehabilitating a frequently misunderstood essay by Hanna Pitkin and by recasting her argument in terms of the ‘pragmatic turn’ in recent p…Read more
  •  425
    Electoral Dioramas: On the Problem of Representation in Voting Advice Applications
    with Bert van den Brink
    Representation 51 (3): 341-358. 2015.
    Voting Advice Applications (VAAs) are online tools designed to help citizens decide how to vote. They typically offer their users a representation of what is at stake in an election by matching user preferences on issues with those of parties or candidates. While the use of VAAs has boomed in recent years in both established and new democracies, this new phenomenon in the electoral landscape has received little attention from political theorists. The current academic debate is focused on epistem…Read more
  •  491
    Judgment and imagination in Habermas' theory of law
    Philosophy and Social Criticism 41 (10): 1069-1091. 2015.
    Recent debates in political theory display a renewed interest in the problem of judgment. This article critically examines the different senses of judgment that are at play in Jürgen Habermas’ theory of law. The article offers a new critical reading of Habermas’ account of the legitimacy of law, and a revisionary interpretation of the reconstructive approach to political theory that underpins it. Both of these are instrumental to an understanding of what is involved in judging the legitimacy of…Read more
  •  476
    Agonism and the law (review)
    Philosophy and Social Criticism 38 (3): 327-331. 2012.
  •  1211
    This paper provides an agonistic interpretation of Robert Brandom's social-pragmatic account of normativity. I argue that social practice, on this approach, should be seen not just as cooperative, but also as contestatory. This aspect, which has so far remained implicit, helps to illuminate Brandom's claim that normative statuses are ‘instituted’ by social practices: normative statuses are brought into play in mutual engagement, and are only in play from an engaged social perspective among other…Read more