The lecture is organised by the CAS project What is a Good Policy? Political Morality, Feasibility, and Democracy (GOODPOL).


Practical information

This seminar will be a hybrid event. This means people can attend physically or online via Zoom. If you wish to join via Zoom, please register using the link below. The organisers will share login detail with registered participants before the event.


Register for Zoom here >


About the seminar

The use of stories is ubiquitous in moral and political philosophy. Under the general heading of The Method of Cases, such imaginary stories are used in a variety of ways. To illustrate arguments; analogically to suggest our judgments in one case should apply to similar cases; comparatively to tease out morally relevant differences in otherwise similar cases; as critical case studies to knock down general theories or principles; or more formally to provide structural relationships generalized across a class of cases. 

All such uses of imaginary stories can be critiqued, though not decisively.  Dowding discusses these problems in terms of the internal and external validity of real experiments. In his paper some of these ‘problems’ within the method of cases can be turned to advantage in what the authors call ‘Fictional Narratives’.  This seminar explains fictional narratives, demarcating them from the Method of Cases, and discusses how they can be fruitfully employed. 

About the speaker

Keith Dowding is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Political Philosophy at College of Arts and Social Sciences, Australian National University. His research is informed by the rational choice approach, and focuses both on empirical political science and political philosophy, with topics such as the careers of political elites, the relationship between power and freedom, and methodology.     

The seminar is organized as part of the project GOODPOL, hosted by the Centre for Advanced Study at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (CAS); the seminar is in organized cooperation with the Political Theory section at the Department of Political Science, University of Oslo.