Political Realism and Epistemic Constraints

Social Theory and Practice 48 (1):1-27 (2022)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
This article argues that Bernard Williams’ Critical Theory Principle (CTP) is in tension with his realist commitments, i.e., deriving political norms from practices that are inherent to political life. The Williamsian theory of legitimate state power is based on the central importance of the distinction between political rule and domination. Further, Williams supplements the normative force of his theory with the CTP, i.e., the principle that acceptance of a justification regarding power relations ought not to be created by the very same coercive power. I contend that the CTP is an epistemic criterion of reflective (un)acceptability which is not strictly connected to the question of whether people are dominated or not. I show that there are cases of non-domination that fail the epistemic requirements of the CTP.
Reprint years
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Upload history
First archival date: 2021-01-21
Latest version: 5 (2021-12-13)
View other versions
Added to PP index

Total views
205 ( #35,709 of 71,349 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
63 ( #12,239 of 71,349 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.