This book continues and revises the ideas of justice as fairness that John Rawls presented in _A Theory of Justice_ but changes its philosophical interpretation in a fundamental way. That previous work assumed what Rawls calls a "well-ordered society," one that is stable and relatively homogenous in its basic moral beliefs and in which there is broad agreement about what constitutes the good life. Yet in modern democratic society a plurality of incompatible and irreconcilable doctrines--religious, philosophical, and moral--coexist within the (...) framework of democratic institutions. Recognizing this as a permanent condition of democracy, Rawls asks how a stable and just society of free and equal citizens can live in concord when divided by reasonable but incompatible doctrines? This edition includes the essay "The Idea of Public Reason Revisited," which outlines Rawls ' plans to revise _Political Liberalism,_ which were cut short by his death. "An extraordinary well-reasoned commentary on _A Theory of Justice_...a decisive turn towards political philosophy." --_Times Literary Supplement_. (shrink)
This new edition of Will Kymlicka's best selling critical introduction to contemporary political theory has been fully revised to include many of the most significant developments in Anglo-American political philosophy in the last eleven years, particularly the new debates over issues of democratic citizenship and cultural pluralism. The book now includes two new chapters on citizenship theory and multiculturalism, in addition to updated chapters on utilitarianism, liberal egalitarianism, libertarianism, socialism, communitarianism, and feminism. The many thinkers discussed include G. A. Cohen, (...) Ronald Dworkin, William Galston, Carol Gilligan, R. M. Hare, Chandran Kukathas, Catherine Mackinnon, David Miller, Philippe Van Parijs, Susan Okin, Robert Nozick, John Rawls, John Roemer, Michael Sandel, Charles Taylor, Michael Walzer, and Iris Young. Extended guides to further reading have been added at the end of each chapter, listing the most important books and articles on each school of thought, as well as relevant journals and websites. Covering some of the most advanced contemporary thinking, Will Kymlicka writes in an engaging, accessible, and non-technical way to ensure that the book is suitable for students approaching these difficult concepts for the first time. This second edition promises to build on the original edition's success as a key text in the teaching of modern political theory. (shrink)
Politics of Reality includes nine essays that examine sexism, the exploitation of women, the gay rights movement and other topics from a feminist perspective. -/- The essays "The Problem That Has No Name" and "A Note On Anger" have been translated into Spanish by Maria Lugones for circulation in la Asociacion Argentina de Mujeres en Filosofia.
Tainted political symbols ought to be confronted, removed, or at least recontextualized. Despite the best efforts to achieve this, however, official actions on tainted symbols often fail to take place. In such cases, I argue that political vandalism—the unauthorized defacement, destruction, or removal of political symbols—may be morally permissible or even obligatory. This is when, and insofar as, political vandalism serves as fitting counter-speech that undermines the authority of tainted symbols in ways that match their publicity, refuses to let them (...) speak in our name, and challenges the derogatory messages expressed through a mechanism I call derogatory pedestalling: the glorification or honoring of certain individuals or ideologies that can only make sense when members of a targeted group are taken to be inferior. (shrink)
This paper outlines an account of political realism as a form of ideology critique. Our focus is a defence of the normative edge of this critical-theoretic project against the common charge that there is a problematic trade-off between a theory’s groundedness in facts about the political status quo and its ability to consistently envisage radical departures from the status quo. To overcome that problem we combine insights from three distant corners of the philosophical landscape: theories of legitimacy by Bernard Williams (...) and other realists, Frankfurt School-inspired Critical Theory, and recent analytic epistemological and metaphysical theories of cognitive bias, ideology, and social construction. The upshot is a novel account of realism as empirically-informed diagnosis- critique of social and political phenomena. This view rejects a sharp divide between descriptive and normative theory, and so is an alternative to the anti- empiricism of some approaches to Critical Theory as well as to the complacency towards existing power structures found within liberal realism, let alone mainstream normative political philosophy, liberal or otherwise. (shrink)
Written in the intense political and intellectual tumult of the early years of the Weimar Republic, Political Theology develops the distinctive theory of sovereignty that made Carl Schmitt one of the most significant and controversial ...
Introduction -- A concept of bodies politic -- Above, below, and alongside the subject -- Bodies politic -- Bodies politic as organisms -- The organism in Aristotle and Kant -- The anorganic body in Deleuze and Guattari -- Love, rage, and fear -- Terri Schiavo : the somatic body politic -- The Columbine High School massacre : the transverse body politic -- Hurricane Katrina : the governmental body politic -- Conclusion.
The original edition of Kant: Political Writings was first published in 1970, and has long been established as the principal English-language edition of this important body of writing. In this new, expanded edition two important texts illustrating Kant's view of history are included for the first time, his reviews of Herder's Ideas on the Philosophy of the History of Mankind and Conjectures on the Beginning of Human History, as well as the essay What is Orientation in Thinking?. In addition to (...) a general introduction assessing Kant's political thought in terms of his fundamental principles of politics, this edition also contains such useful student aids as notes on the texts, a comprehensive bibliogaphy and a new postscript, looking at some of the principal issues in Kantian scholarship that have arisen since the first edition. (shrink)
This book continues and revises the ideas of justice as fairness that John Rawls presented in _A Theory of Justice_ but changes its philosophical interpretation in a fundamental way. That previous work assumed what Rawls calls a "well-ordered society," one that is stable and relatively homogenous in its basic moral beliefs and in which there is broad agreement about what constitutes the good life. Yet in modern democratic society a plurality of incompatible and irreconcilable doctrines--religious, philosophical, and moral--coexist within the (...) framework of democratic institutions. Recognizing this as a permanent condition of democracy, Rawls asks how a stable and just society of free and equal citizens can live in concord when divided by reasonable but incompatible doctrines? This edition includes the essay "The Idea of Public Reason Revisited," which outlines Rawls' plans to revise _Political Liberalism,_ which were cut short by his death. "An extraordinary well-reasoned commentary on _A Theory of Justice_...a decisive turn towards political philosophy." --_Times Literary Supplement_. (shrink)
Political judgment in its historical context -- The politics of managing decline -- Moralism and realpolitik -- On the very idea of a metaphysics of right -- The actual and another modernity : order and imagination in Don Quixote -- Culture as ideal and as boundary -- On museums -- Celan's Meridian -- Heidegger and his brother -- Richard Rorty at Princeton : personal recollections -- Melody as death -- On bourgeois philosophy and the concept of "criticism".
In the eyes of many, liberalism requires the aggressive secularization of social institutions, especially public media and public schools. The unfortunate result is that many Americans have become alienated from the liberal tradition because they believe it threatens their most sacred forms of life. This was not always the case: in American history, the relation between liberalism and religion has often been one of mutual respect and support. In Liberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation , Kevin Vallier attempts (...) to reestablish mutual respect by developing a liberal political theory that avoids the standard liberal hostility to religious voices in public life. He claims that the dominant form of academic liberalism, public reason liberalism, is far friendlier to religious influences in public life than either its proponents or detractors suppose. The best interpretation of public reason, convergence liberalism, rejects the much-derided "privatization" of religious belief, instead viewing religious contributions to politics as a resource for liberal political institutions. Many books reject privatization, Liberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation is unique in doing so on liberal grounds. (shrink)
This is a significantly expanded edition of one of the greatest works of modern political theory. Sheldon Wolin's Politics and Vision inspired and instructed two generations of political theorists after its appearance in 1960. This new edition retains intact the original ten chapters about political thinkers from Plato to Mill, and adds seven chapters about theorists from Marx and Nietzsche to Rawls and the postmodernists. The new chapters, which show how thinkers have grappled with the immense possibilities and dangers (...) of modern power, are themselves a major theoretical statement. They culminate in Wolin's remarkable argument that the United States has invented a new political form, "inverted totalitarianism," in which economic rather than political power is dangerously dominant. In this new edition, the book that helped to define political theory in the late twentieth century should energize, enlighten, and provoke generations of scholars to come. Wolin originally wrote Politics and Vision to challenge the idea that political analysis should consist simply of the neutral observation of objective reality. He argues that political thinkers must also rely on creative vision. Wolin shows that great theorists have been driven to shape politics to some vision of the Good that lies outside the existing political order. As he tells it, the history of theory is thus, in part, the story of changing assumptions about the Good. In the new chapters, Wolin displays all the energy and flair, the command of detail and of grand historical developments, that he brought to this story forty years ago. This is a work of immense talent and intense thought, an intellectual achievement that will endure. (shrink)
This seminal work by political philosopher C.B. Macpherson was first published by the Clarendon Press in 1962, and remains of key importance to the study of liberal-democratic theory half-a-century later. In it, Macpherson argues that the chief difficulty of the notion of individualism that underpins classical liberalism lies in what he calls its "possessive quality" - "its conception of the individual as essentially the proprietor of his own person or capacities, owing nothing to society for them." Under such a conception, (...) the essence of humanity becomes freedom from dependence on the wills of others; society is little more than a system of economic relations; and political society becomes a means of safeguarding private property and the system of economic relations rooted in property. As the New Statesman declared: "It is rare for a book to change the intellectual landscape. It is even more unusual for this to happen when the subject is one that has been thoroughly investigated by generations of historians.... Until the appearance of Professor Macpherson's book, it seemed unlikely that anything radically new could be said about so well-worn a topic. The unexpected has happened, and the shock waves are still being absorbed." A new introduction by Frank Cunningham puts the work in a twenty-first-century context. (shrink)
A rich exploration of the idea of friendship and its political consequences, past and future, by the most influential of contemporary philosophers. Until relatively recently, Jacques Derrida was seen by many as nothing more than the high priest of Deconstruction, by turns stimulating and fascinating, yet always somewhat disengaged from the central political questions of our time. Or so it seemed. Derrida's "political turn," marked especially by the appearance of Specters of Marx, has surprised some and delighted others. In The (...)Politics of Friendship Derrida renews and enriches this orientation through an examination of the political history of the idea of friendship pursued down the ages. Derrida's thoughts are haunted throughout the book by the strange and provocative address attributed to Aristotle, "my friends, there is no friend" and its inversions by later philosophers such as Montaigne, Kant, Nietzsche, Schmitt and Blanchot. The exploration allows Derrida to recall and restage the ways in which all the oppositional couples of Western philosophy and political thought—friendship and enmity, private and public life—have become madly and dangerously unstable. At the same time he dissects genealogy itself, the familiar and male-centered notion of fraternity and the virile virtue whose authority has gone unquestioned in our culture of friendship and our models of democracy The future of the political, for Derrida, becomes the future of friends, the invention of a radically new friendship, of a deeper and more inclusive democracy. This remarkable book, his most profoundly important for many years, offers a challenging and inspiring vision of that future. (shrink)
Cheryl Misak argues that truth ought to be reinstated to a central position in moral and political philosophy. She argues that the correct account of truth is one found in a certain kind of pragmatism: a true belief is one upon which inquiry could not improve, a belief which would not be defeated by experience and argument. This account is not only an improvement on the views of central figures such as Rawls and Habermas, but it can also make sense (...) of the idea that, despite conflict, pluralism, and the expression of difference, our moral and political beliefs aim at truth and can be subject to criticism. Anyone interested in a fresh discussion of political theory and philosophy will find this a fascinating read. (shrink)
Recent methodological debates regarding the place of feasibility considerations in normative political theory are hindered for want of a rigorous model of the feasibility frontier. To address this shortfall, I present an analysis of feasibility that generalizes the economic concept of a production possibility frontier and then develop a rigorous model of the feasibility frontier using the familiar possible worlds technology. I then show that this model has significant methodological implications for political philosophy. On the Target View, a political ideal (...) presents a long-term goal for morally progressive reform efforts and, thus, serves as an important reference point for our specification of normative political principles. I use the model to show that we can- not reasonably expect that adopting political ideals as long-term reform objectives will guide us toward the realization of morally optimal feasible states of affairs. I conclude by proposing that political philosophers turn their attention to the analysis of actual social failures rather than political ideals. (shrink)
Political legitimacy is a virtue of political institutions and of the decisions—about laws, policies, and candidates for political office—made within them. This entry will survey the main answers that have been given to the following questions. First, how should legitimacy be defined? Is it primarily a descriptive or a normative concept? If legitimacy is understood normatively, what does it entail? Some associate legitimacy with the justification of coercive power and with the creation of political authority. Others associate it with the (...) justification, or at least the sanctioning, of existing political authority. Authority stands for a right to rule—a right to issue commands and, possibly, to enforce these commands using coercive power. An additional question is whether legitimate political authority is understood to entail political obligations or not. Most people probably think it does. But some think that the moral obligation to obey political authority can be separated from an account of legitimate authority, or at least that such obligations arise only if further conditions hold. (shrink)
Experiences of solidarity have figured prominently in the politics of the modern era, from the rallying cry of liberation theology for solidarity with the poor and oppressed, through feminist calls for sisterhood, to such political movements as Solidarity in Poland. Yet very little academic writing has focused on solidarity in conceptual rather than empirical terms. Sally Scholz takes on this critical task here. She lays the groundwork for a theory of political solidarity, asking what solidarity means and how it (...) differs fundamentally from other social and political concepts like camaraderie, association, or community. Scholz distinguishes a variety of types and levels of solidarity by their social ontologies, moral relations, and corresponding obligations. Political solidarity, in contrast to social solidarity and civic solidarity, aims to bring about social change by uniting individuals in their response to particular situations of injustice, oppression, or tyranny. The book explores the moral relation of political solidarity in detail, with chapters on the nature of the solidary group, obligations within solidarity, the “paradox of the privileged,” the goals of solidarity movements, and the prospects for global solidarity. . (shrink)
No other English-language translation comes close to the standard of accuracy and readability set here by Reeve. This volume provides the reader with more of the resources needed to understand Aristotle's argument than any other edition. An introductory essay by Reeve situates _Politics_ in Aristotle's overall thought and offers an engaging critical introduction to its central argument. A detailed glossary, footnotes, bibliography, and indexes provide historical background, analytical assistance with particular passages, and a guide both to Aristotle’s philosophy and to (...) scholarship on it. (shrink)
Political philosophy, perhaps even more than other branches of philosophy, calls for constant renewal to reflect not just re-readings of the tradition but also the demands of current events. In this lively and readable survey, Jean Hampton has created a text for our time that does justice both to the great traditions of the field and to the newest developments. In a marvelous feat of synthesis, she links the classical tradition, the giants of the modern period, the dominant topics of (...) the twentieth century, and the new questions and concerns that are just beginning to rewrite contemporary political philosophy.Hampton presents these traditions in an engaging and accessible manner, adding to them her own views and encouraging readers to critically examine a range of ideas and to reach their own conclusions. Of particular interest are the discussions of the contemporary liberalism-communitarianism debates, the revival of interest in issues of citizenship and nationality, and the way in which feminist concerns are integrated into all these discussions. Political Philosophy is the most modern text on the topic now available, the ideal guide to what is going on in the field. It will be welcomed by scholars and students in philosophy and political science, and it will serve as an introduction for readers from outside these fields. (shrink)
These remarkable essays include Cornelius Castoriadis's latest contributions to philosophy, political and social theory, classical studies, development theory, cultural criticism, science, and ecology. Examining the "co-birth" in ancient Greece of philosophy and politics, Castoriadis shows how the Greeks' radical questioning of established ideas and institutions gave rise to the "project of autonomy". The "end of philosophy" proclaimed by Postmodernism would mean the end of this project. That end is now hastened by the lethal expansion of technoscience, the waning of (...) political and social conflict, and the resignation of intellectuals who blindly defend Western culture as it is or who merely denounce or "deconstruct" it as it has been. Discussing and criticizing Plato, Aristotle, Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, Weber, Heidegger, and Habermas, the author of The Imaginary Institution of Society and Crossroads in the Labyrinth poses a radical challenge to our inherited philosophy. (shrink)
Political liberalism’s central commitments to recognizing reasonable pluralism and institutionalizing a substantive conception of justice are inconsistent. If reasonable pluralism applies to conceptions of justice as it applies to conceptions of the good, then some reasonable people will reject even many liberal conceptions of justice as unreasonable. If so, then imposing these conceptions of justice on citizens violates the liberal principle of legitimacy and related public justification requirements. This problem of justice pluralism requires that political liberals abandon their commitment to (...) institutionalizing a substantive conception of justice. Instead, political justification should be limited to the public justification of a modest scheme of rights and a set of constitutional rules. Justice pluralism chastens the ambitions of political liberalism while pushing the political liberal research program in new and promising directions. (shrink)
Editors Rachel Brown and Deva Woodly bring together Mara Marin, Shatema Threadcraft, Christopher Paul Harris, Jasmine Syedullah, and Miriam Ticktin to examine the question: what would be required for care to be an ethic and political practice that orients people to a new way of living, relating, and governing? The answer they propose is that a 21st-century approach to the politics of care must aim at unmaking racial capitalism, cisheteropatriarchy, the carceral state, and the colonial present. The politics (...) of care is an approach to political thought and action that moves beyond the liberal approach which situates care as a finite resource to be distributed among autonomous individuals, or as a necessarily feminine virtue. Instead, those elucidating the politics of care for the contemporary era draw on rich interdisciplinary traditions and social movements to theorize and practice care as an inherently interdependent survival strategy, a foundation for political organizing, and a prefigurative politics for building a world in which all people can live and thrive. (shrink)
In this book, Livingston develops the political implications of formal results obtained over the course of the twentieth century in set theory, metalogic, and computational theory. He argues that the results achieved by thinkers such as Cantor, Russell, Godel, Turing, and Cohen, even when they suggest inherent paradoxes and limitations to the structuring capacities of language or symbolic thought, have far-reaching implications for understanding the nature of political communities and their development and transformation. Alain Badiou's analysis of logical-mathematical structures forms (...) the backbone of his comprehensive and provocative theory of ontology, politics, and the possibilities of radical change. Through interpretive readings of Badiou's work as well as the texts of Giorgio Agamben, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, Livingston develops a formally based taxonomy of critical positions on the nature and structure of political communities. These readings, along with readings of Parmenides and Plato, show how the formal results can transfigure two interrelated and ancient problems of the One and the Many: the problem of the relationship of a Form or Idea to the many of its participants, and the problem of the relationship of a social whole to its many constituents. (shrink)
Introduction : the politics of our selves -- Foucault, subjectivity, and the enlightenment : a critical reappraisal -- The impurity of practical reason : power and autonomy in Foucault -- Dependency, subordination, and recognition : Butler on subjection -- Empowering the lifeworld? autonomy and power in Habermas -- Contextualizing critical theory -- Engendering critical theory.
We provide a justification for political liberalism’s Reciprocity Principle, which states that political decisions must be justified exclusively on the basis of considerations that all reasonable citizens can reasonably be expected to accept. The standard argument for the Reciprocity Principle grounds it in a requirement of respect for persons. We argue for a different, but compatible, justification: the Reciprocity Principle is justified because it makes possible a desirable kind of political community. The general endorsement of the Reciprocity Principle, we will (...) argue, helps realize joint political rule and relationships of civic friendship. The main obstacle to the realization of these values is the presence of reasonable disagreement about religious, moral, and philosophical issues characteristic of liberal societies. We show the Reciprocity Principle helps to overcome this obstacle. (shrink)
_Moral Politics_ takes a fresh look at how we think and talk about political and moral ideas. George Lakoff analyzed recent political discussion to find that the family—especially the ideal family—is the most powerful metaphor in politics today. Revealing how family-based moral values determine views on diverse issues as crime, gun control, taxation, social programs, and the environment, George Lakoff looks at how conservatives and liberals link morality to politics through the concept of family and how these ideals (...) diverge. Arguing that conservatives have exploited the connection between morality, the family, and politics, while liberals have failed to recognized it, Lakoff explains why conservative moral position has not been effectively challenged. A wake up call to political pundits on both the left and the right, this work redefines how Americans think and talk about politics. (shrink)
Is the corrupt behaviour of public officials a politically relevant kind of wrong only when it causes the malfunctioning of institutions? We challenge recent institutionalist approaches to political corruption by showing a sense in which the individual corrupt behaviour of certain public officials is wrong not only as a breach of personal morality but in inherently politically salient terms. To show this sense, we focus on a specific instance of individual corrupt behaviour on the part of public officials entrusted with (...) the power to implement public rules in a liberal democracy. Although not necessarily unlawful, their behaviour is politically wrong qua corrupt when it contradicts surreptitiously the requirement of public justification that undergirds the public order. Then, we distinguish this form of corruption as surreptitious action from such unlawful but publicly justifiable kinds of political misbehaviour as civil disobedience. (shrink)
The editor of Political Theory asked us to respond to the question, 'What is political theory?' This question is as old as political theory or political philos- ophy. The activity of studying politics, whether it is called science, theory, or philosophy, always brings itself into question. The question does not ask for a single answer, for there are countless ways of studying politics and no univer- sal criteria for adjudicating among them. Rather, the question asks, 'What comparative difference (...) does it make to study politics this way rather than that?' Political theory or philosophy not only spans three millennia of study- ing politics in innumerable ways but also three millennia of dialogues among practitioners over various approaches, their relative merits, and the contest- able criteria for their comparison. Because there is no definitive answer, there is no end to this dialogue. Rather, it is the kind of open-ended dialogue that brings insight through the activity of reciprocal elucidation itself. Dialogue partners gain insight into what ruling, being ruled, and contesting rule is through the exchange of questions and answers over different ways of study-ing politics and different criteria for their assessment in relation to how they throw light on different aspects of the complex worlds of politics-and what counts as the 'different aspects of the complex worlds of politics' is also ques- tioned in the course of the dialogue.'. (shrink)
This book offers a systematic overview of Aristotle's conception of well-being, virtue and justice in the Nicomachean Ethics, and then explores the major themes of Politics: civic-mindedness, slavery, family, property, the common good, class conflict, the limited wisdom of the multitude, and the radically egalitarian institutions of the ideal society.
The Politics of Paradigms shows that America’s most famous and influential book about science, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions of 1962, was inspired and shaped by Thomas Kuhn’s political interests, his relationship with the influential cold warrior James Bryant Conant, and America’s McCarthy-era struggle to resist and defeat totalitarian ideology. Through detailed archival research, Reisch shows how Kuhn’s well-known theories of paradigms, crises, and scientific revolutions emerged from within urgent political worries—on campus and in the public sphere—about the invisible, (...) unconscious powers of ideology, language, and history to shape the human mind and its experience of the world. (shrink)
Contemporary political philosophers disagree about whether theories of justice should be utopian or realistic. Contributors to this volume largely deny that the choice between realism and idealism is binary. Their contributions represent a continuum between realism and idealism that best represents the contemporary state of the debate.
This chapter brings together debates in political philosophy and epistemology over what we should do when we disagree. While it might be tempting to think that we can apply one debate to the other, there are significant differences that may threaten this project. The specification of who qualifies as a civic or epistemic peer are not coextensive, utilizing different idealizations in denoting peerhood. In addition, the scope of disagreements that are relevant vary according to whether the methodology chosen falls within (...) ideal theory or nonideal theory. Finally, the two literatures focus on different units of analysis that diverge according to the philosophical purpose behind their investigation of disagreement. Epistemologists analyze the rationality of individuals’ belief states whereas political philosophers focus on the just governance of a diverse society. Despite these differences, political epistemologists can learn valuable lessons by considering these debates side by side in order to provide insights that address a host of different challenges posed by political disagreement. The core lesson to draw from the disanalogies outlined in this paper is that to make progress, careful attention should be paid to specifying the goal of any particular project within political epistemology. (shrink)
Reviewing the literature on political participation and civic engagement, the article offers a critical examination of different conceptual frameworks. Drawing on previous definitions and operationalisations, a new typology for political participation and civic engagement is developed, highlighting the multidimensionality of both concepts. In particular, it makes a clear distinction between manifest “political participation” and less direct or “latent” forms of participation, conceptualized here as “civic engagement” and “social involvement”. The article argues that the notion of “latent” forms of participation is (...) crucial to understand new forms of political behaviour and the prospects for political participation in different countries. Due to these innovations it contributes to a much-needed theoretical development within the literature on political participation and citizen engagement. (shrink)
In Political Theory and Feminist Social Criticism, Brooke Ackerly demonstrates the shortcomings of contemporary deliberative democratic theory, relativism and essentialism for guiding the practice of social criticism in the real, imperfect world. Drawing theoretical implications from the activism of Third World feminists who help bring to public audiences the voices of women silenced by coercion, Brooke Ackerly provides a practicable model of social criticism. She argues that feminist critics have managed to achieve in practice what other theorists do only incompletely (...) in theory. Complemented by Third World feminist social criticism, deliberative democratic theory becomes critical theory - actionable, coherent, and self-reflective. While a complement to democratic theory, Third World feminist social criticism also addresses the problem in feminist theory associated with attempts to deal with identity politics. Third World feminist social criticism thus takes feminist theory beyond the critical impasse of the tension between anti-relativist and anti-essentialist feminist theory. (shrink)
This paper examines the differences between moralist, realist, and pragmatist approaches to political legitimacy by articulating their largely implicit views of judgment. Three claims are advanced. First, the salient opposition among approaches to legitimacy is not between “moralism” and “realism.” Recent realist proposals for rethinking legitimacy share with moralist views a distinctive form, called “normativism”: a quest for knowledge of principles that solve the question of legitimacy. This assumes that judging legitimacy is a matter of applying such principles to a (...) case at hand. Second, neither Rawls nor Habermas is a normativist about political legitimacy. The principles of legitimacy they proffer claim to express rather than adjudicate the legitimacy of a liberal-democratic regime, and thus cannot solve the question of legitimacy at a fundamental level. But perhaps we should question the normativist aspiration to theoretically resolving the problem to begin with. My third claim is that a “pragmatist” approach enables us to rethink political legitimacy more deeply by shifting focus from the articulation of principles to the activity of judging. Implicit in Rawls and Habermas’s theories I then find clues towards an alternative account of judgment, in which the question of legitimacy calls not for theoretical resolution but for ongoing practical engagement. (shrink)
The paper offers five desiderata on a realist normative theory of politics: that it should avoid moralism, deontologism, transcendentalism, utopianism, and vanguardism. These desiderata argue for a theory that begins from values rooted in a people’s experience; that avoids prescribing a collective deontological constraint; that makes the comparison of imperfect regimes possible; that takes feasibility and sustainability into account; and that makes room for the claims of democracy. The paper argues, in the course of exploring the desiderata, that a (...) neo-republican philosophy of government does pretty well in satisfying them. (shrink)