Philosophia 45 (2):487-501 (2017)

This paper explores two different versions of ‘the realist turn’ in recent political theory. It begins by setting out two principal realist criticisms of liberal moralism: that it is both descriptively and normatively inadequate. It then pursues the second criticism by arguing that there are two fundamentally different responses among realists to the alleged normative inadequacy of ideal theory. First, prescriptive realists argue that the aim of realism is to make political theory more normatively adequate by making it more realistic. Interpretative realists, on the other hand, argue that realist theorising should detach itself from such an aspiration, and instead aim at theoretical understanding rather than normative prescription. After some further elaboration of what interpretative realism might look like, it is acknowledged that both approaches still need to address the question of political normativity.
Keywords Ideal theory   Interpretative realism   Liberal moralism   Normativity   Prescriptive realism
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DOI 10.1007/s11406-016-9799-3
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References found in this work BETA

Justice as Fairness: A Restatement.John Rawls (ed.) - 2001 - Harvard University Press.
Philosophy and Real Politics.Raymond Geuss - 2008 - Princeton University Press.
Justice as Fairness: A Restatement.C. L. Ten - 2003 - Mind 112 (447):563-566.
Ideal and Nonideal Theory.A. John Simmons - 2010 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 38 (1):5-36.

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Citations of this work BETA

Being Realistic and Demanding the Impossible.Enzo Rossi - 2019 - Constellations 26 (4):638-652.
Can Political Realism Be Action-Guiding?Luke Ulaş - 2020 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-26.
Feasibility beyond Non-ideal Theory: a Realist Proposal.Ilaria Cozzaglio & Greta Favara - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-16.
Arendt and Political Realism: Towards a Realist Account of Political Judgement.Gisli Vogler & Demetris Tillyris - 2021 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 24 (6):821-844.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

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