David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (5):535 - 556 (2005)
Rationalism in political philosophy is the view that politics should be governed by moral principles and that those principles can and should be justified independently of the situations and circumstances that make up political reality. This traditional view of political philosophy implies that the meaning of right political action is determined by moral principles the rational authority of which derives from abstract philosophical reasoning, not from the situations and circumstances that are the substance of political reality. In this essay I argue that rationalist moralities must presuppose the understanding of particular situations and circumstances for their meaningful and correct interpretation. This means, I argue, that the rightness of political judgement and action is immanent in particular situations, not in abstract moralities. And this, I argue, suggests a shift from the traditional view of political society as the embodiment of abstract principles, towards a view of political society as the embodiment of the activity of situational judgement. A society worth hoping for, then, is one in which we can live in the light of our understanding of the situations and circumstances that are the substance of everyday life, rather than in the shadow of abstract moralities. Such a society would be sensitive to the particularities and complexities of political reality, but at the same time it does not succumb to moral relativism and skepticism.
|Keywords||abstract pictures action deliberation judgement practical reasoning principles rationalism situations|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Jonathan Dancy (2004). Ethics Without Principles. Oxford University Press.
Bernard Arthur Owen Williams (1981). Moral Luck: Philosophical Papers, 1973-1980. Cambridge University Press.
Robert Nozick (1993). The Nature of Rationality. Princeton University Press.
Iris Murdoch (1970/1971). The Sovereignty of Good. New York,Schocken Books.
Hilary Putnam (1983). Realism and Reason: Philosophical Papers Vol. 3. Cambridge University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Alan Thomas (2006). Value and Context: The Nature of Moral and Political Knowledge. Oxford University Press.
Alan Carter (2006). Political Liberalism and Political Compliance: Part 2 of the Problem of Political Compliance in Rawls’s Theories of Justice. Journal of Moral Philosophy 3 (2):135-157.
George Klosko (2004). Duties to Assist Others and Political Obligations. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 3 (2):143-159.
Steven Lukes (1991). Moral Conflict and Politics. Clarendon Press.
Roman Altshuler (2009). Political Realism and Political Idealism: The Difference That Evil Makes. Public Reason 1 (2):73-87.
Archon Fung (2005). Deliberation Before the Revolution: Toward an Ethics of Deliberative Democracy in an Unjust World. Political Theory 33 (3):397 - 419.
Pat White (1980). Political Education and Moral Education or Bringing Up Children to Be Decent Members of Society. Journal of Moral Education 9 (3):147-155.
R. McCormick (1980). Political Education as Moral Education in Tanzania. Journal of Moral Education 9 (3):166-177.
Veit Bader & Ewald R. Engelen (2003). Taking Pluralism Seriously: Arguing for an Institutional Turn in Political Philosophy. Philosophy and Social Criticism 29 (4):375-406.
Alice MacLachlan, An Ethic of Plurality: Reconciling Politics and Morality in Hannah Arendt. History and Judgment: IWM JVF Conference Vol. 21.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads23 ( #164,172 of 1,796,166 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #468,527 of 1,796,166 )
How can I increase my downloads?