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Editorial Board Foreword

Tianyu Zhou & Juno Tantipipatpong

“And did we not agree that the excellence or virtue of soul is justice and its defect injustice?"

In this issue, we welcomed articles that centered around the theme of “political theory as a vehicle of social change.” We’ll first introduce the thematic logic and then proceed with a brief summary of articles.

Can PPE theories serve as a vehicle for social change? Since the Axial Age (8th - 3rd century BCE), Vergeistigung, or spiritu- alization of the human mind, was complete among major world civilizations. Based on “rationality and rationally-clarified expe- riences,” humans began to question the current state of affairs, and political theories thus became a preoccupation for the pro- lific minds, not only as a description of how societies and polities are, but as a prescription of what they should become. The Socra- tic inquiries and Plato’s Republic were remarkable in defining, for the first time in the Western tradition, the role of a philosopher in society and polity–that is, to seek justice. Economics as a sci- entific matter emerged as a normative subject on how society may improve by scientific means.

Important studies of how PPE theories may serve as a ve- hicle of social change first emerged in the 1920s. In his book, Crystallizing Public Opinion, Edward Bernays proposed a theory that took the “public opinion” of political economic matters as the problematik. The study demonstrated the effect of news and factual information on society are a function of the channels through which they were transmitted. As Bernays himself put, “[the] public relations counsel must lift startling facts from his whole subject and present them as news. He must isolate ideas and develop them into events so that they can be more readily understood and so that they may claim attention as news.”

The tension caused by the question of how the logical and evidential basis of ideas may best correspond to their effects on society has haunted intellectuals ever since. The human rights theorists, Marxists, a number of political economists and the New Leftist intellectuals, and many scholars who began such inquiries in the aftermath of the Vietnam War have proposed various theories.

In our current issue, authors have discussed topics of vital import in a wide range of fields, from the study of the ethics of ignorance to gender and sexual consent, from political ideology and public discourse to the politics of secularization and religi- osity, and from economic disruption to the meaning of work. We believe these issues are best examined through the lenses of philosophy, politics, and economics jointly. Through our pieces, we wish to illuminate both the diversity of thoughts and advise reflection on how readers might use this knowledge to improve the social conditions.


[1] Plat. Rep. 1.353e, “ἡ μἡν ἡρα δικαία ψυχἡ καἡ ἡ δίκαιος ἡνἡρ εἡ βιώσεται, κακἡς δἡ ἡ ἡδικος”.

[2] Jaspers, K. (2017). Vom Ursprung und Ziel der Geschichte (K. Salamun, Ed.). Schwabe Verlag. https://doi. org/10.24894/978-3-7965-4059-2.Recommended translation is Jaspers, K. (2021). The Origin and Goal of History (C. Thornhill, Ed.; 1st ed.). Routledge.

[3] “[die] Rationalität und [die] rational [geklärte] Erfahrung (der Logos gegen den Mythos)”.

[4] Brown, E. (2017). Plato’s Ethics and Politics in The Republic. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2017 Edition).

[5] Samuels, W. J., Biddle, Jeff., & Davis, J. Bryan. (Eds.). (2003). A Companion to the History of Economic Thought (1st ed.). Blackwell. nomic+Thought-p-9780631225737.

[6] Bernays, E. L. (1923). Crystallizing Public Opinion. Liveright Publishing.

[7] I.e., Vilfredo Pareto and Antonio Gramsci, Quaderni del carcere. Serious scholars of Marxian thought and its history are referred to Kołakowski, Leszek. (1981). Main Currents of Marxism: The Founders, The Golden Age, The Breakdown (P. S. Falla, Ed.; Revised). W.W. Norton & Co. https:// human rights, see Jean Quataert, & Lora Wildenthal (Eds.). (2021). Routledge History of Human Rights (1st ed.). Routledge. book/9781032089669.8

[8] On politics, see T. Ball & R. Bellamy (Eds.), The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought (1st ed.). Cambridge University Press. On economic thought, see The Cambridge History of Philosophy, 1945–2015. (2019). In K. Becker & I. D. Thomson (Eds.), The Cambridge History of Philosophy, 1945-2015 (1st ed.). Cambridge University Press. https://

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