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‘Recover it From the Facts as We Know Them’

Practice-dependence’s Predecessors

In: Journal of Moral Philosophy
Author: Robert Jubb1
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  • 1 Lecturer in Political Theory, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Leicester, rj138@le.ac.uk
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In Andrea Sangiovanni’s words, practice-dependent theorists hold that “[t]he content, scope, and justification of a conception of [a given value] depends on the structure and form of the practices that the conception is intended to govern”. They have tended to present this as methodologically innovative, but here I point to the similarities between the methodological commitments of contemporary practice-dependent theorists and others, particularly P. F. Strawson in his Freedom and Resentment and Bernard Williams in general. I suggest that by looking at what Strawson and Williams did, we can add to the reasons for adopting one form or another of practice-dependence. The internal complexity of the practices we hope our principles will govern may require it. However, this defence of practice-dependence also puts pressure on self-identified practice-dependence theorists, suggesting that they need to do more work to justify the interpretations of the practices their theories rely on.

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