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  1. A World of Possibilities: The Place of Feasibility in Political Theory.Eva Erman & Niklas Möller - 2020 - Res Publica 26:1-23.
    Although the discussion about feasibility in political theory is still in its infancy, some important progress has been made in the last years to advance our understanding. In this paper, we intend to make a contribution to this growing literature by investigating the proper place of feasibility considerations in political theory. A motivating force behind this study is a suspicion that many presumptions made about feasibility in several current debates—such as that between practice-independence and practice-dependence, ideal and non-ideal theory, and (...)
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  • Rawls and Political Realism: Realistic Utopianism or Judgement in Bad Faith?Alan Thomas - 2017 - European Journal of Political Theory 16 (3):304-324.
    Political realism criticises the putative abstraction, foundationalism and neglect of the agonistic dimension of political practice in the work of John Rawls. This paper argues that had Rawls not fully specified the implementation of his theory of justice in one particular form of political economy then he would be vulnerable to a realist critique. But he did present such an implementation: a property-owning democracy. An appreciation of Rawls s specificationist method undercuts the realist critique of his conception of justice as (...)
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  • A Realistic Conception of Politics: Conflict, Order and Political Realism.Carlo Burelli - 2019 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-23.
    In this paper I unpack a realistic conception of politics by tightly defining its constitutive features: conflict and order. A conflict emerges when an actor is disposed to impose his/her views against the resistance of others. Conflicts are more problematic than moralists realize because they emerge unilaterally, are potentially violent, impermeable to content-based reason, and unavoidable. Order is then defined as an institutional framework that provides binding collective decisions. Order is deemed necessary because individuals need to cooperate to survive, but (...)
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  • The EU's Democratic Deficit in a Realist Key: Multilateral Governance, Popular Sovereignty, and Critical Responsiveness.Jan Pieter Beetz & Enzo Rossi - forthcoming - Transnational Legal Theory.
    This paper provides a realist analysis of the EU's legitimacy. We propose a modification of Bernard Williams' theory of legitimacy, which we term critical responsiveness. For Williams, 'Basic Legitimation Demand + Modernity = Liberalism'. Drawing on that model, we make three claims. (i) The right side of the equation is insufficiently sensitive to popular sovereignty; (ii) The left side of the equation is best thought of as a 'legitimation story': a non-moralised normative account of how to shore up belief in (...)
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  • István Hont and Political Theory.Paul Sagar - 2018 - European Journal of Political Theory 17 (4):476-500.
    This article explores the relevance of the work of Cambridge historian of political thought István Hont to contemporary political theory. Specifically, it suggests that Hont’s work can be of great help to the recent realist revival in political theory, in particular via its lending support to the account favoured by Bernard Williams, which has been a major source for recent realist work. The article seeks to make explicit the main political theoretic implications of Hont’s historically-focused work, which in their original (...)
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  • Political Realism as Ideology Critique.Janosch Prinz & Enzo Rossi - 2017 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 20 (3):334-348.
    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 (...)
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  • Can Modus Vivendi Save Liberalism From Moralism? A Critical Assessment of John Gray's Political Realism.Rossi Enzo - forthcoming - In John Horton, Manon Westphal & Ulrich Willems (eds.), The Political Theory of Modus Vivendi. Dordrecht: Springer.
    I argue that John Gray's modus vivendi-based justification for liberalism is preferable to the more orthodox deontological or teleological justificatory strategies, at least because of the way it can deal with the problem of diversity. But then I show how that is not good news for liberalism, for grounding liberal political authority in a modus vivendi undermines liberalism’s aspiration to occupy a privileged normative position vis-à-vis other kinds of regimes. So modus vivendi can save liberalism from moralism, but at cost (...)
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  • Understanding Religion, Governing Religion: A Realist Perspective.Enzo Rossi - 2017 - In Cecile Laborde & Aurelia Bardon (eds.), Religion in Liberal Political Philosophy. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    Cécile Laborde has argued that the freedom we think of as ‘freedom of religion’ should be understood as a bundle of separate and relatively independent freedoms. I criticise that approach by pointing out that it is insufficiently sensitive to facts about the sorts of entities that liberal states are. I argue that states have good reasons to mould phenomena such as religion into easily governable monoliths. If this is a problem from the normative point of view, it is not due (...)
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  • The Moral Standing of Modus Vivendi Arrangements.Fabian Wendt - 2016 - Public Affairs Quarterly 30 (4):351-370.
    While John Rawls made the notion of a “modus vivendi” prominent in political philosophy, he treats modus vivendi arrangements rather short and dismissively. On the other hand, some political theorists like John Gray praise modus vivendi as the only available and legitimate goal of politics. In the article I sketch the outlines of a different, more nuanced approach to modus vivendi arrangements. I argue that the moral standing of modus vivendi arrangements varies, and I try to spell out the factors (...)
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  • The Twilight of the Liberal Social Contract? On the Reception of Rawlsian Political Liberalism.Enzo Rossi - forthcoming - In Kelly Becker & Iain Thomson (eds.), The Cambridge History of Philosophy, 1945–2015. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    This chapter discusses the Rawlsian project of public reason, or public justification-based 'political' liberalism, and its reception. After a brief philosophical rather than philological reconstruction of the project, the chapter revolves around a distinction between idealist and realist responses to it. Focusing on political liberalism’s critical reception illuminates an overarching question: was Rawls’s revival of a contractualist approach to liberal legitimacy a fruitful move for liberalism and/or the social contract tradition? The last section contains a largely negative answer to that (...)
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  • Two Conceptions of Legitimacy: A Response to Fabian Wendt’s Moralist Critique of Political Realism.Uğur Aytaç - 2017 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 31 (3):57-76.
    Fabian Wendt argues that political realism is not capable of explaining how the state’s moral right to rule over its subjects is generated. I believe that Wendt’s criticism is not sound because his position relies on the false implicit assumption that realism and moralism ask the same philosophical questions on state authority. I contend that it is fallacious to evaluate the realist account of legitimacy by the standards of moralism, and vice versa, as these two accounts arrive at different conceptions (...)
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  • Realism in Normative Political Theory.Enzo Rossi & Matt Sleat - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (10):689-701.
    This paper provides a critical overview of the realist current in contemporary political philosophy. We define political realism on the basis of its attempt to give varying degrees of autonomy to politics as a sphere of human activity, in large part through its exploration of the sources of normativity appropriate for the political and so distinguish sharply between political realism and non-ideal theory. We then identify and discuss four key arguments advanced by political realists: from ideology, from the relationship of (...)
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  • On Realist Legitimacy.Fabian Wendt - 2016 - Social Philosophy and Policy 32 (2):227-245.
    In the last ten or fifteen years, realism has emerged as a distinct approach in political theory. Realists are skeptical about the merits of abstract theories of justice. They regard peace, order, and stability as the primary goals of politics. One of the more concrete aims of realists is to develop a realist perspective on legitimacy. I argue that realist accounts of legitimacy are unconvincing, because they do not solve what I call the “puzzle of legitimacy”: the puzzle of how (...)
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  • Compromise, Pluralism, and Deliberation.Daniel Weinstock - 2017 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 20 (5):636-655.
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  • Democratic Respect and Compromise.Christian F. Rostbøll - 2017 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 20 (5):619-635.
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  • Kant and the Critique of the Ethics-First Approach to Politics.Christian F. Rostbøll - 2019 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 22 (1):55-70.
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