Nielsen, Morten Ebbe Juul (eds.)
Political Questions: 5 Questions on Political Philosophy.
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Mason on the question: "What are the most important unsolved questions in political philosophy and/or related disciplines and what are the prospects for progress?"
Political philosophy rarely, if ever, solves problems once and for all. Old problems usually persist despite attempts to resolve them, and even when they are successfully resolved, new ones arise from the ashes of the old. In my view, however, it would be a mistake to conclude from this that political philosophy makes no progress. We should not measure progress in terms of problems solved or questions answered, but rather in terms of improved understanding. Progress occurs though clarifying the question that is being asked and by coming to a better understanding of which answers to that question are coherent. I think considerable progress has been made in the study of justice, in the sense that we understand the issues much better, though there are still many that we do not understand very well, for example, issues to do with the moral significance of national or state boundaries, and the issue of when justice requires people to bear the costs of their behaviour. I do not doubt that progress, in the sense of improved understanding, will be made on these issues as they come to the forefront of political philosophy.
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