Political Realism and Political Idealism: The Difference that Evil Makes

Public Reason 1 (2):73-87 (2009)
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According to a particular view of political realism, political expediency must always override moral considerations. Perhaps the strongest defense of such a theory is offered by Carl Schmitt in The Concept of the Political. A close examination of Schmitt’s main presuppositions can therefore help to shed light on the tenuous relation between politics and morality. Schmitt’s theory rests on two keystones. First, the political is seen as independent of and prior to morality. Second, genuine political theory depends on a view of human beings as evil by nature. I will argue that both claims are incomplete. Just as the political sometimes demands that morality be overridden, so morality can demand the overriding of political expediency. Moreover, the view of human beings as evil, which serves as the foundation of political realism, itself depends on affirming that human nature must also be, in some sense, good. Political realism is thus shown to have its theoretical foundation within a normative framework that demands the political pursuit of at least some moral aims.



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Roman Altshuler
Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

Citations of this work

La filosofía política de Husserl: un estado del arte.Pali Guíñez - 2022 - Hybris, Revista de Filosofí­A 13 (1):13-40.

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References found in this work

Critique of Pure Reason.Immanuel Kant - 1998 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Edited by J. M. D. Meiklejohn. Translated by Paul Guyer & Allen W. Wood.
Critique of pure reason.Immanuel Kant - 2007 - In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Late modern philosophy: essential readings with commentary. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 449-451.
The Concept of the Political.Carl Schmitt - 1996 - University of Chicago Press.
Critique of Pure Reason.Wolfgang Schwarz - 1966 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 26 (3):449-451.
The Challenge of Carl Schmitt.Chantal Mouffe - 2003 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 65 (1):158-159.

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