Top PDF Realism, Liberalism and Non-ideal Theory Or, Are there Two Ways to do Realistic Political Theory?

Realism, Liberalism and Non-ideal Theory Or, Are there Two Ways to do Realistic Political Theory?

Realism, Liberalism and Non-ideal Theory Or, Are there Two Ways to do Realistic Political Theory?

legitimate) authority in conditions of discord and when the obedience of those over whom authority is claimed and power exercised is not to be assumed as inevitable. The complex manner in which patterns of authority and legitimacy are forged, sustained and reconstituted, and in particular the related but not necessarily harmonious roles that coercion, agency, principles, norms and values play in these processes, ensures that questions of practicability do not arise once we turn to the possibility of instantiating ideals in practice but are rather raised as soon as we start to consider how the first political question might be answered and continue to be answered (which always has to be a question raised in relation to a specific context). How one employs the monopoly of legitimate violence in conditions where law cannot be represented as reflecting the will of all; what the practical and moral limits of that force may be; the ways in which institutions and practices actually affect people's behaviour and actions; how the mechanisms and processes of legitimation function, including the importance of non-rational features such as charisma, myth and history; which normative principles might plausibly be appealed to that can be recognised as authorising political rule by those subject to it; what minimum level of competency can be tolerated in terms of the ordering of conflict; and which conflicts and differences can and cannot be settled at any one time, and which groups or individuals must be satisfied that such conflicts are settled, all become deeply important issues related to the first political question of creating order and subordinating conflict. Ideal/non-ideal theory assumes that such issues only arise in world that deviate from the ideal, or are secondary questions that we encounter only once we ask how we are to implement ideals in practice. By virtue of their relation to the first political question, realism takes them to be issues inherent in politics itself, and hence necessarily basic to any properly political theory.
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Rawls and Political Realism: Realistic Utopianism or Judgement in Bad Faith?

Rawls and Political Realism: Realistic Utopianism or Judgement in Bad Faith?

Perhaps the most constructive rapprochement between the two views is this: both the moralist and the realist are committed to truthfulness, in the sense of accuracy. An accurate history of how liberal principles have come to stand fast us need not always represent them as having done so by winning arguments. Williams’s emphasis on practice implies that sometimes societies become both sociologically and politic- ally modern as a result of social and cultural changes that are not driven by explicit theory. There are dramatic cases where founding legitimation myths are revealed to be myths, but also a range of cases where putative justifications do not need to be refuted, as social change simply puts them out of business. I agree with all of that, but it is puzzling to me why the Rawlsian cannot agree also; or, at least, why any part of their view forces them to deny it. Williams is particularly allergic to ‘Whiggish’ histories of liberalism, but that is surely an inessential part of any view like political liberalism. Rawls’s admittedly limited historical examples point to the experience of divisive religious war as one of the bases for political liberalism, but this is to point to a collective historical experience, not to the winning of any arguments.
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Realism and liberalism in the political thought of Bernard Williams

Realism and liberalism in the political thought of Bernard Williams

As we saw in Chapter One the refusal to insulate matters of principle from the exigencies of practice has a long history in Williams’s ethical thought (and is more generally part and parcel of his general characterisation of philosophy as a humanistic discipline). It is present in his earliest paper on political philosophy, ‘The Idea of Equality’, despite predating his later realist turn by around four decades. In this paper Williams distinguishes between two core principles of egalitarian thought – equality of respect and equality of opportunity – and emphasises the ways in which the pursuit of one is likely to engender a loss of the other. The pursuit of equality of opportunity will destroy a certain sense of common humanity which is itself a precondition of equality of respect, because ‘there are deep psychological and social obstacles’ to the idea that there could be a society in which equality of opportunity was the sole criterion of the distribution of goods and this did not have the effect of encouraging contempt and condescension’ (IBWD, p. 113). Yet Williams revealingly notes that it would also be wrong to focus on equality of respect alone, because ‘an ideal of equality of respect that made no contact with such things as the economic needs of society for certain skills, and human desire for some sorts of prestige, would be condemned to a futile Utopianism, and to having no rational effect on the distribution of goods, position and power that would inevitably proceed’ (IBWD, p. 114). He insists that we must recognise such practical constraints and that although we may find this uncomfortable, ‘the discomfort is just that of genuine political thought’ (IBWD, p. 114). Thus, just as his work in ethics seeks to make sense of ethical life as it is
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Some varieties of liberalism and pluralism with special reference to the political theory of Joseph Raz

Some varieties of liberalism and pluralism with special reference to the political theory of Joseph Raz

that self-understanding'.263 Furthermore, it is rather unclear on which argument Raz puts most weight. Gray’s observation is very accurate since, indeed, on the one hand Raz claims that autonomy is particularly suited to the conditions ’in modem industrial societies', but on the other he holds that 'it would be wrong to identify the ideal with the ability to cope with the shifting dunes in modem society’ for ‘autonomy is an ideal o f self-creation’.264 The validity of Gray’s observation is enhanced by Raz’s endorsement of the idea that autonomy has been a feature of the good life even in non-modem contexts. Even though for Raz autonomy is not a necessary ingredient of the good life in non­ modem societies, he still holds that it is an ingredient which could be found in valuable lifestyles which are situated in non-modem societies. For Raz, ‘there were autonomous people in many past periods, whether or not they themselves or others around them thought of this as an ideal way of being'265 while for him 'the value of autonomy is a fact of life' and it is ultimately the case that 'those who live in an autonomy-enhancing culture can prosper only by being autonomous'.266 An important omission in Raz’s exposition here is the fact that there are lifestyles which entail the pursuit of values which are actually incompatible with autonomy. Moreover, if one is autonomous in a non- autonomous environment, there might be repercussions against one’s well-being despite Raz’s claim that ‘the value of autonomy is a fact of life’. All these issues add weight to Gray’s previously mentioned observation both with regards to the existence of the two different arguments in favour the priority o f autonomy in Raz’s system o f ideas, as well as with regards to the ambiguity in terms of which argument takes priority.
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How to do realistic political theory (and why you might want to)

How to do realistic political theory (and why you might want to)

In recent years a number of realist thinkers have charged much contemporary political theory with being idealistic and moralistic. While the basic features of the realist counter-movement are reasonably well understood, realism is still considered a critical, primarily negative creed which fails to offer a positive, alternative way of thinking normatively about politics. Aiming to counteract this general perception, in this article I draw on Bernard Williams’s claims about how to construct a politically coherent conception of liberty from the non-political value of freedom. I do this because Williams’s argument provides an illuminating example of the distinctive nature of realist political thinking and its attractions. I argue that Williams’s account of realist political thinking challenges the orthodox moralist claim that normative political arguments must be guided by an ideal ethical theory. I then spell out the repercussions Williams’s claims about the significance of political opposition and non-moralised accounts of motivation have for our understanding of the role and purpose of political theory. I conclude by defending the realist claim that action-guiding political theory should accordingly take certain features of our politics as given, most centrally the reality of political opposition and the passions and experiences that motivate them. On this reading political realism offers a viable way of thinking about political values which cannot be understood in terms of the categories of intellectual separation – ideal/nonideal or factinsensitive/fact-sensitive – that have marked political theory in recent years.
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Embellishing The Farce or the Tragedy in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children

Embellishing The Farce or the Tragedy in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children

he contradicts it . No sooner he falls asleep than we see him acting in real life; No sooner he awakes than we know he's dreaming. And if that wasn't enough, the witch Paarvati changes Saleem into an invisible being for some time. Ah! What a fine writer can do with language! When Saleem says: "Midnight has many children; the offspring of Independence were not all human. Violence, corruption, poverty, generals, chaos, greed, and pepper-pots....I had to go into exile to learn that the children of midnight were more varied than I-even I-had dreamed."
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Materials Discovery by Crystal Growth: Synthesis, Structure Determination, Magnetic, and Optical Properties of Complex Lanthanide Containing Oxides, Oxyhydroxides, and Oxyfluorides

Materials Discovery by Crystal Growth: Synthesis, Structure Determination, Magnetic, and Optical Properties of Complex Lanthanide Containing Oxides, Oxyhydroxides, and Oxyfluorides

all exemplify universals as well. 52 For example, one might think that numbers, which are abstract objects, if they exist at all, can exemplify the property “being prime,” and that the universal “redness” exemplifies the property “being a color.” Furthermore, the claim that universals come into and go out of existence raises problems for a realist account of certain facts. The realist may want the proposition, ‘A horse is a four-legged animal’ or ‘Murder is wrong’ to be true, even in a world in which God creates no horses and moral agents never kill one another unjustly. If one accepts the immanent account then it seems that either these sentences could lack truth-values or that their truth can be accounted for without reference to a universal. This is not necessarily a problem, but if it turns out that the truth-value of some sentences can be explained without universals, it may cast doubt on the motivation to account for the truth of any sentences in that way. Again, it may be the case that philosophers have been mistaken in thinking that universals play a primary role in accounting for the truth of discourse, but to so claim would be a rejection of at least one aspect of the classical understanding of the problem of universals. We may end up deciding that such a rejection is warranted, but one would have to decide that the other theories all do a worse job with reference to the criteria discussed above.
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Four-Fold Dimensionality in the Theoretical System of Cultural Construction of People’s Livelihood-- Some Thoughts Based on Cultural Construction of People’s Livelihood in Socialism With Chinese Characteristics

Four-Fold Dimensionality in the Theoretical System of Cultural Construction of People’s Livelihood-- Some Thoughts Based on Cultural Construction of People’s Livelihood in Socialism With Chinese Characteristics

At a new period of constructing a brand-new well-off society, the issue of people’s livelihood in China has far gone beyond the demand at the level of material, but more importantly, the thirst for spiritual culture. Culture is the soul of people’s livelihood. People’s livelihood without culture is unhealthy and incomplete and is deficient of life vitality. The theoretical system of cultural aspect of people’s livelihood with Chinese characteristics mainly has one guiding thought, two realistic requirements, three basic principles and four ultimate development goals. That is, to adhere to the cultural theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics as the guiding thought, the two realistic requirements of cultural self- consciousness and cultural self-confidence, the three basic principles of humanism, advancement and public welfare and the four ultimate development goals of cultural education to people, cultural intimacy to people, cultural benefaction to people and cultural enrichment to people.
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Theory of relativity and quantum mechanics as complementary parts of a unitary theory

Theory of relativity and quantum mechanics as complementary parts of a unitary theory

The starting point of this research is a contradiction of the conventional Schrödinger equation with one of the fundamental Hamilton equations – a minus sign, essential for the energy conservation, is missing. The full agreement of the Schrödinger equation with the Hamilton equations is obtained only when the Hamiltonian in the time dependent phases of the two wave packets representing a quantum particle in the coordinate and momentum spaces is replaced by its Lagrangian. We consider the Universe as a distribution of ‘intrinsic’ matter, characterized by curvilinear time-space coordinates, curved in a system of other coordinates, by an ‘extrinsic’ matter, with a density as another matter coordinate. According to the general theory of relativity, any acceleration of an extrinsic matter differential element in an ‘extrinsic’ (non-gravitational) field is perpendicular to the velocity. This characteristic describes a matter propagation in planes perpendicular to the velocity. This dynamics can be described by two Fourier conjugated wave packets, with a condition of quantization asserting that the space integral of the matter density is equal to the rest mass in the coefficient of the time dependent phases of these wave packets, which, according to their group velocities, appears as a Lagrangian. In this framework, fundamental physical problems are reconsidered by using the general theory of relativity in Dirac’s formulation, for the description of the quantum dynamics. Although in this paper we develop an essentially relativistic theory, in the proper system of a quantum particle we consider only small velocities of its differential matter elements, otherwise this particle being shattered in space, as the notion of ‘particle’ has no more any sense. We show that the Schwarzschild solution
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A Political Theory of Political Trials

A Political Theory of Political Trials

In trials of corruption or dissent both sides can say, for example, "We are all Americans in one legal and political tradition which is now violated and is in danger of being undermined [r]

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Contract Theory and Some Realism about Employee Covenant Not to Compete Cases

Contract Theory and Some Realism about Employee Covenant Not to Compete Cases

Contract Theory and Some Realism about Employee Covenant Not to Compete Cases SMU Law Review Volume 65 | Issue 1 Article 5 2012 Contract Theory and Some Realism about Employee Covenant Not to Compete[.]

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The problem of the state in Marxist theory and practice from Marx to Lenin

The problem of the state in Marxist theory and practice from Marx to Lenin

empirical studies Marx recognised that this was not the case. However, granted that a class would be able to translate its general material interests into political terms, the concept of the state as an organ of class rule reinforced Marx's conviction that the role of the state in s o c iety was f u n d a m e n t a l l y negative. In a mode of production based on competition a class would have real unity only in r e l a t i o n to other classes. Therefore the unified political action of the group would be basically limited to the negative f u nction of coercion against the rest of society.
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Labour process theory and critical realism

Labour process theory and critical realism

Most of the attention to agency issues within recent labour process debates has been on labour agency. Reflecting this, we focus our attention on this sphere, using the logic of morphogenetic cycles to consider how social agents are connected to the broader antecedent structures of the political economy. The labouring subjects conceived within mainstream LPT are attributed potential causal powers, as can be seen in classic accounts of the dialectical relations between control and resistance (R. Edwards, 1979; P.K. Edwards and Scullion, 1982) and misbehaviour and managerial regimes (Ackroyd and Thompson, 1999). Worker self-organisation is conceptualised at both formal and informal levels, and labour as socially diverse sets of actors rather than homogenous class warriors. Furthermore, agency is not confined to recalcitrant behaviour, evidenced in Burawoy (1979) and other accounts of workplace consent. This is not to say that theorisations of labour agency are without problems. As spelt out in other chapters from Edwards and Bélanger and Thuderoz, existing analyses need to do more to expand the repertoire of employee oppositional practices and more systematically explain their logics, conditions and consequences.
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Reflections on Todd Wolfson’s Book “Digital Rebellion: The Birth of the Cyber Left”

Reflections on Todd Wolfson’s Book “Digital Rebellion: The Birth of the Cyber Left”

Social movement media studies are typically untheoretical or only engage in micro- sociological analyses and theorising that neglect how macro-sociological structures condition social movements’ practices, organisation and communication. Such theory-less micro stud- ies tend to neglect issues of capitalism, labour and class as well as Marxism with the argu- ments that contemporary movements are “more complex”, one should avoid “economic re- ductionism”, that Marxism has a state-centred ideology and stands for political centralisation that social movements oppose. At the same time, actually existing global capitalism has re- sulted in culminating inequalities, immense precarious labour, especially among the young generation, a prolonged world economic and social crisis, and an intensification and exten- sion of neoliberal austerity politics and along with it militarised right-wing law and order poli- tics and surveillance ideologies. The neglect of the engagement with Marxist theory and polit- ical economy, class and capitalism in social movement research and social movement media studies makes these fields not just relatively uncritical, but also politically idealist and naïve. I do not argue that Marxist theory and political economy alone are always sufficient for under- standing contemporary political problems, struggles and movements, but that a critical un- derstanding of class and capitalism, whose analysis has been most advanced by Marxist theories, needs to be dialectically mediated with the analysis of non-class and structures of domination in order to understand contemporary society’s contradictions, its social move- ments and their mediated communication. All contemporary movements are inevitably condi- tioned by and confronted with issues having to do with labour, precarity, the commons, the commodity form, neoliberalism, capitalism, the capitalist state, capitalist ideologies, etc. Ig- noring this importance and the theoretical significance of these dimensions analysed by Marxist theories is inappropriate for social movements studies and deprives them from the political, theoretical and analytical richness they deserve and require.
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Economic and Political Theory

Economic and Political Theory

We have now arrived at the beginning of the modern bourgeoisie’s response to various iterations of the labor theory of value. And it is also at this point that we shift our focus of the discussion of value from objectivity to subjectivity. The classical economists – Smith, Richardo, Petty, Marx, etc – identified production as the starting point of value. Put in another way, “value was identified with cost of production, or revolved around it” (Mandel). Though they all approached this in different ways, these thinkers all remained this central idea in common (Marx’s approach – socially necessary labor time – was addressed in prior paragraphs). And in accepting this idea, the “influence of demand upon value, as an independent variable, was denied” (Mandel). The
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Power Point 1

Power Point 1

6. Political influence in society is unequally distributed, but power is widely dispersed. Access to decision making is often determined by how much interest people have in a particular decision. Because leadership is fluid and mobile, power depends on one’s interest in public affairs, skills in leadership, information about issues, knowledge of democratic processes, and skill in organization and public relations.

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Transformational grounded theory: theory, voice, and action

Transformational grounded theory: theory, voice, and action

grounded theory? Has the inclusion of these critical approaches already been addressed in grounded theory literature? A number of authors have made important contributions about social justice in grounded theory. In particular, Charmaz (2006, 2011, 2012) has written extensively about social justice and grounded theory. Oliver (2012) has shown how critical realism can enhance the applicability of grounded theory as a research methodology in the human services such as social work. Building upon this important base, transformational grounded theory is a methodology that can be used to explore differences in power between the researcher and coresearchers, and how this power difference affects the data generated to be used for a socially just outcome. Transformational grounded theory adds to decolonizing methodologies as a way of setting a shared agenda and increasing coresearcher participation. Often, researchers benefit greatly from coresearchers’ knowledge, experiences, and generously shared stories. It is transformative when mutual benefits for understanding the phenomena are explicitly stated (Redman-MacLaren et al., 2012).
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The political responsibility of the church: On the necessity and boundaries of the theory of the two kingdoms

The political responsibility of the church: On the necessity and boundaries of the theory of the two kingdoms

Barth’s social ethics elicited fierce criticism, particularly from Lutherans but also from Calvinists. The Lutheran Gerhard Ebeling accused Barth of never having been able to understand the deepest intentions of the Lutheran theory of two kingdoms. According to Ebeling, Barth could never understand the radical difference between divine and human justice. For this reason, Ebeling said Barth expected too much of ethics, confused the law and the gospel, and moved from an indefensible political use of the law to an equally indefensible political use of the gospel. In this way Barth reduced theology to a theory of morality. Theology as the discourse of man coram Deo is therefore replaced by a permanent meddling with earthly justice (Ebeling 1962:412; 1982:323-325; Ebeling 1986:66-75). Other Lutherans, such as Gerhard Sauter, also expressed criticism in this vein. Sauter (1973:231-243) also raised the complaint against the Barthians that in theology they were no longer concerned about salvation, but only about justice. As a result of the exaggerated emphasis placed on worldly responsibility, the church became elevated to the bringer of salvation, whereas there was no longer trust in God’s management of the world.
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A Theory of Political Entrepreneurship

A Theory of Political Entrepreneurship

The theory of the entrepreneur is a branch of the broader field of the theory of income distribution, which seeks to explain the different returns or rents to various economic functions. Income theory may be divided into three broad categories: the theories of wages, interest on capital, and entrepreneurial profit. 8 This paper discusses the income of the entrepreneur, and how this economic function and income category relate to the political sphere. What con- cern us are the following characteristics of entrepreneur- ship: ownership, the direction of scarce resources through production for the future satisfaction of consumer wants, and uncertainty-bearing [5]. We will show that the idea of entrepreneurship in economic theory proper has an analogous function in the sphere of government opera- tions; that is, in the sphere of socially organized, coercive economic exchanges. 9 Put another way, in order to an- swer the question “What is political entrepreneurship?” we might also ask “Who are the political entrepreneurs?” It appears reasonable to describe as “political entrepre- neurs” those individuals who perform the same or similar functions in the political sphere as entrepreneurs perform in the free market economy. It is important though that in the theory of political entrepreneurship, as in the theory of the market entrepreneur, we deal with an economic function and not an economic personality. 10
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Kauṭilya's Arthaśāstra: A Classic Text of Statecraft and an Untapped Political Science Resource

Kauṭilya's Arthaśāstra: A Classic Text of Statecraft and an Untapped Political Science Resource

This anthropologically derived basic situation of anarchy and arbitrariness among human beings can, however, be 'managed' in a 'social contract' mode. Submitting a kind of 'contract theory', Kauṭilya argues: as men have increasingly suffered from the condition of matsya-nyāya – fearing for their life and property – they concluded that a ruler with supreme executive power – i.e. armed with the “rod” of force and punishment – was needed. (cf. I, 4, 5) In agreeing to install a supreme ruler, the matsya-nyāya principle of 'might makes right' is monopolized by the ruler resp. the (patrimonial) state. Endowed with the monopoly of the use of force, the state punishes any person who would illegally use force (in the form of murder, assault or robbery etc) within its territory. In the Arthaśāstra, Kauṭilya lets a secret agent tell a crowd that their forebears feared for their life when matsya-nyāya ruled, so they decided to install a king who would enforce order and end violent anarchy. Thus the people should be grateful for having the king and should not complain about paying taxes to him. If the state were incapacitated, matsya-nyāya would return. (cf. I, 13, 2-14) However, while the state 'contains' matsya-nyāya on its territory by monopolizing the use of force, in interstate relations anarchy remains unrestricted. For Kauṭilya, the world of political entities/states is divided and conflicted and interstate relations are characterized by unrestrained matsya-nyāya.
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