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Contemporary Political Theory

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 69–104 | Cite as

Who cares what the people think? Revisiting David Miller’s approach to theorising about justice

  • Alice Baderin
  • Andreas Busen
  • Thomas Schramme
  • Luke UlaşEmail author
  • David Miller
Critical Exchange

David Miller’s methodological approach to theorising about justice, articulated most explicitly in Principles of Social Justice (1999) but informing his work up to and including the recent Strangers in Our Midst (2016), takes people’s existing beliefs and sentiments – ‘what the people think’ – to play a fundamental constitutive role in the development of normative principles of justice. In this critical exchange, Alice Baderin, Andreas Busen, Thomas Schramme and Luke Ulaş subject differing aspects of this methodology to critique, before Miller responds.

Alice Baderin questions the focus on supposed ‘fundamental principles’ within Miller’s account of what the people think. Baderin claims that Miller assumes a hierarchical relationship between persons’ fundamental principles and specific political judgements, such that the former can be used as a ‘critical mirror’ for the latter. Empirical evidence from moral and political psychology, however, does not bear out this hierarchical...

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alice Baderin
    • 1
  • Andreas Busen
    • 2
  • Thomas Schramme
    • 3
  • Luke Ulaş
    • 4
    Email author
  • David Miller
    • 1
  1. 1.Nuffield CollegeOxfordUK
  2. 2.Universität HamburgHamburgGermany
  3. 3.University of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK
  4. 4.Durham UniversityDurhamUK

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