Political Theory Workshop

The Political Theory Workshop has been convened since February 2014 by the founding members of the Center, at the Faculty of Political Science within SNSPA [see http://politice.ro/ro/atelier_teorie_politica for a description in Romanian]. Its main aim is to provide students and researchers based in Bucharest with a forum in which to explore various topics within contemporary analytical political philosophy.

Furthermore, the Political Theory Workshop seeks to foster the development of a scholarly community engaged in normative thinking (and, especially, political philosophy), the stimulation of critical thinking and the encouragement of students to study and write on subjects belonging to the realm of political philosophy.

The Workshop is held on a weekly basis and every meeting consists in a critical discussion of one or more articles/book chapters. Each semester a new general theme is proposed. So far, the following themes have been discussed:”

The weekly meetings entail the critical discussion of one or more articles / book chapters. Each semester a different approach is studied. So far we have discussed the following themes:

  1. Ronald Dworkin’s ethical and political theory
  2. The capabilities approach
  3. David Estlund’s epistemic proceduralism
  4. Bruce Ackerman’s institutional proposals for strengthening the US democracy as presented in his The Decline and Fall of the American Republic
  5. Fabienne Peter’s conception of democratic legitimacy
  6. Republicanism, with a focus on Pettit’s neo-Roman version of republicanism
  7. Ethics of voting, studying questions such as: do we have the moral duty to vote? Are there any moral constraints on how we should vote (e.g. for the common good)? Should our electoral options be open or secret?

Starting with October 2017 we have been discussing ideal and non-ideal theory, tackling especially the following dimensions: Is the feasibility criterion important in theorizing about justice? Should our normative theories be transcendental or comparative? Should principles of justice be sensitive to facts? This semester we also benefit from the presence of a member of our Advisory Board – Adrian Miroiu, Professor at the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration.

Several of the ideas discussed in our meetings have been materialized in academic papers:

• Volacu, Alexandru, Derviş, Oana-Alexandra (2016), “Pluralist Welfare Egalitarianism and the Expensive Tastes Objection”, Contemporary Political Theory, 15 (3), pp.285-303 (ISI impact factor (2015): 0.577). Previously presented at the 8th European Congress in Analytic Philosophy, Bucharest, August-September 2014.

• Dumitru, Adelin (2015), “Beyond the impact and the challenge models. A moderate communitarian model of the good life”, 2ndAnnual Student Conference of the Faculty of Political Science (SNSPA), Bucharest, March 2015.

• Dumitru, Adelin (2016), “On the moral irrelevance of a global basic structure. Prospects for a satisficing sufficientarian theory of global justice”, 4th Annual Graduate Conference in International Political Theory, University of St. Andrews, May 2016 ( for an early draft follow this link)

Ideal Theory Syllabus: