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Volume #25, Number #2

Published in December, 2021

This paper reconsiders Hannah Arendt’s “method” of political thinking and its implicated critiques of the Rawlsian methodology of political philosophy today, namely, the reflective equilibrium. By addressing Arendt’s approach to political thinking and comparing it with John Rawls’ counterpart, I argue that inasmuch as thinking cannot be reduced to philosophising, the outcome of thinking is by no means nothing but philosophy, either. That is to say, in opposition to the analytic method of normative political philosophy ever since Rawls, I contend that reflective equilibrium, as Rawls and some political philosophers proposed, is not the paradigmatic method of thinking on political matters and that political philosophy (or in Rawls’ words the coherent theory) is not the only possible product of political thinking. Based on these points, this paper concludes that Arendt’s approach to political thinking, namely, thinking in plurality and judgmental theory, could provide a trenchant critique of the belief that is held by Rawlsians and most philosophers today. That is, reflective equilibrium and political philosophising are neither adequate for theorising politics nor the best way of thinking about political matters.

Kun-Feng Tu

This study addresses an interesting question on political participation in direct versus representative democracies. That is, are citizens more likely to turn out to vote in direct issue-oriented referendums or in indirect candidate-oriented public office elections? In order to answer this question, this study takes advantage of a rare case of a natural experiment in Taiwan’s 2018 concurrent referendum and local elections. Capitalizing on a gap between the voting-age eligibility rule of 18 for referendums and 20 for local offices, this study develops rigorous regression-discontinuity (RD) designs in causal inference with the “two cutoffs model” for the referendums and “the standard single cutoff model” for the local elections. The two RD designs are then applied to a unique set of individual-level validated turnout data with large sample size released by the Central Election Commission. Empirical estimates of the two RD designs confirm our hypothesis that, other things being equal, the first-time voters are much more likely to turn out when they are eligible for both referendum and public office ballots than when they are only eligible for referendum ballots. This finding has important implications not only for theories of direct versus indirect democracies but also in practice for democratic decision-making mechanisms.

Chi Huang

In recent years, the Taipei City Government has been pushing, ahead of other municipalities in Taiwan, for a reduction and rapid settlement of its litigation cases, through the concentrated management of such cases by a dedicated unit. The innovation implementation has borne fruit, having reduced not only the amount of new litigation but also the number of old cases, according to statistics compiled by the city government’s Department of Legal Affairs. From the point of view of an organization, the implementation of effective innovation needs the support of institutional enablers, which can forge the conviction of an organization’s members in, as well as their reaction to, an innovative system, thereby affecting the outcome of internal innovation. Given the features of the public sector, this study treats management support and resource availability as the institutional enablers for litigation reduction. The study used a questionnaire survey that targeted the city government’s legal officials, the results of which were subjected to statistical analysis. Subsequent regression analysis showed that the legal officials confirmed the importance of the standpoints of government-agency chiefs in terms of implementing the innovation for litigation reduction. Moreover, encouragement from or acknowledgement by the mayor also affected the standpoints of the government-agency chiefs in relation to litigation reduction. Meanwhile, the operating procedure for litigation reduction is an important resource available to legal officials and has a significant influence on innovation implementation. In practice, this study suggests that city governments should put in place an environment conducive to law enforcement, thereby facilitating efforts to reduce the amount of litigation.

Chun-Ta Lee

Since the 2016 US presidential election, fake news has become a topic, and a consensus on the urgency of cracking down on such news has now been reached. In this age of fake news, do people consider that fake news should be regulated? This study found that 85% of people agreed with the government’s regulation of fake news. Among them, the Third-person effect obviously affected the public’s belief that fake news needs to be regulated, by which was meant that the spread of fake news would affect the judgment of “other” citizens on public affairs. For this reason, people hoped that the government would regulate the fake news, but considered that the spread of fake news would affect “self” judgments on public affairs and would not support the regulation of fake news. This was a typical Third-person effect.

However, should the government regulate fake news? From this study, it was found that party identification is an important factor that affects people’s perceptions in terms of the regulation of fake news. Therefore, the government’s regulation of fake news is still political and not a purely third-person effect. The results showed that 76% of people believed that “In order to avoid liability, the government will treat the news that is bad for the government as false news.” It is thus recommended that the government respond cautiously, and if the government does regulate fake news, the degree of regulation should also be considered. It is not appropriate to violate freedom of speech.

Jia-Wei Liu

There are many factors that affect college students' political participation, but the factor of personality ignored for a long time. The more researches related to personality and political participation in recent years, the participation of college students in political activities in our country is also valued. Therefore, the topic of how college students' personality affects their political participation is worthy of discussion. This research is based on the theory of the big five personality traits, using the survey data to analyze the possible factors of college students' big five personality traits, partisanship and political interests on their participation in Sunflower movement.
This study found that: personality traits will not affect partisanship, but will affect personal political interests. Personality traits will not directly or indirectly affect the participation in the Sunflower movement after controlling the interaction with partisanship and political interests, but the openness and agreeableness will indirectly affect participation in the Sunflower movement. The higher openness, the higher their political interest will affect their participation in the Sunflower movement; the lower the agreeableness, the higher their political interest will affect their participation in the Sunflower student movement. In addition, students from social sciences related departments are also more inclined to participate in the Sunflower student movement.

Tsung-Han Liao, Lu-Huei Chen