Social and Political Philosophy
Naomi Choi is the 2012-3 Democracy and Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow, under the supervision of Will Kymlicka. Her main interests are in political theory and the philosophy of social sciences, since the issue of justification underlying them both is what principally concerns her. She is currently on leave from the University of Alabama (USA) where she teaches courses in modern and contemporary political theory, as well as meta-methodology in the social sciences. She received her PhD in political science at the University of California-Berkeley in 2010 and before that her B.A. in both philosophy and political science at Barnard College – Columbia University in New York City.
During the 2012-13 year, she will be revising her manuscript Political Theory After the Interpretive Turn: Charles Taylor on Knowledge, Values, and Politics into her first book project. The project aims to show how Taylor’s engagements in the flight from positivism, his interventions in post-foundationalist challenges to modern moral philosophy, and his thinking on the problem of justification in diverse liberal democracies serve to define a widespread turn to interpretation in the 20th C. Despite growing consensus across knowledge disciplines on the essential role of interpretation in human life, however, the proliferation of theories of interpretation has given multiple and often incompatible answers to what positive direction that role should take. The project, therefore, aims to generate resources for thinking about the prospects for a political theory that is neither derived directly from moral philosophy, nor focused solely on structures or power, nor an apolitical exercise in uncovering the antiquarian meanings of past texts, but which might break the impasses within political theory between moral philosophers, critical theorists, and intellectual historians on how best to narrate and remake our practices. Her work on Taylor, the history of analytic philosophy, as well as liberal-democratic theories of law have appeared in History of Political Thought, History of European Ideas,andPhilosophy of History, respectively.
In Winter 2013, she will teach PHIL 407/807: Social and Political Philosophy III. The course will examine the ways in which the study of politics necessarily includes various theories about the nature of individuals, what constitutes an institution, a culture, a society, and how we might gain knowledge about them. Issues to be studied include the prospects and challenges that multiculturalism poses for human understanding, social explanation, and normative justification.