In this paper I criticize political realism in International Relations for not being realistic enough, for being unrealistically pessimistic and ultimately incoherent. For them the international arena will always be a place where a battle of wills, informed by the logic of power, is fought. I grant that it may be true that the international political domain is a place where such battles are fought, but this alleged infelicitous situation does not in and of itself entail the normative pessimism informing their assessments of the international domain, and it does not entail the recommendations offered by political realists, particularly relating to balance of power concerns. Their lack of realism stems from total or partial blindness to the proper and coherent ideals that ought to be informing their analyses of the international domain. Such blindness does not allow them properly to grasp what actually is the case. As we can only properly understand what an eye is by knowing the ideal that defines eyes — proper vision — so too we can only properly identify the movements of the international political arena in relation to ideals that ultimately define this arena, ideals that stem from a proper understanding of the human person. Following an Aristotelian teleological technique of analysis, I show that ideals are a constitutive part of the international domain and I recommend an alternative to political realism, namely, realistic idealism (or, if you prefer, idealistic realism).
An Aristotelian Alternative to Machiavellian International Relations
Pedro Alexis Tabensky
Sartre's Eighteenth Century: A Model for Engagement?
Sartre's thoughts on the eighteenth century are ambiguous and schematic at best but they do contain an interesting analysis of materialism that continues from this period through to the early 1940s. Even though Sartre refers to the eighteenth-century as a paradise soon-to-be lost, it is argued here that his condemnation of atomistic materialism as it was conceived during this period is directly linked to his rejection of the dialectical materialism of the Communist Party and bourgeois ideology. This article examines the relationship between these different modes of thought and seeks to demonstrate how Sartre's take on the eighteenth century provided a stern warning to the communists about the pitfalls associated with basing a revolution on materialist doctrine.
Knowledge, Travel, and Embodied Thought
Restlessness in Herder’s Journal of My Voyage in the Year 1769
John K. Noyes
, Idealism, Empiricism In an essay written in Riga on the topic of learning foreign languages, Herder had argued that, through geographical separation and through the different languages, nature organizes human life into separate cultures, but it also
In Fortune Fair and Foul
Happiness and Care of the Self in Sir Kenelm Digby's Letter-Book In Praise of Venetia
embraced ‘the passionate idealism of Dante and Petrarch’ as well as ‘the frivolous hedonism of Boccaccio and Aretino’. 16 Among the books he purchased was a copy of Petrarch's Sonnets and Triumphs which had allegedly belonged to Aeneas Piccolomini, the
Nationalism and Internationalism Reconciled
British Concepts for a New World Order during and after the World Wars
Antero Holmila and Pasi Ihalainen
imperialistically oriented Conservatives to support the scheme. Decisive was that Wilson viewed the League as a way to replace a European tradition of secret diplomacy and war with American idealism. As the United States entered the war on 6 April 1917, the
A Différance of Nothing: Sartre, Derrida and the Problem of Negative Theology
As Christina Howells notes in ‘Sartre and Negative Theology’, it is easily assumed that Sartre was ‘a God-haunted or Spirit-haunted atheist, one haunted if not by the god of Christianity then at least by the god of idealism’.1 Sartre himself, as the above epigraph suggests, was all too aware of the spectre of idealism that haunted—or better, tainted—his early philosophical endeavours.
Sartre and Realism-All-the-Way-Down
In this article, I situate and reconstruct Sartre's rejections of subjective and objective idealism in order both to sketch his realism-all-the-way-down and to contrast it with Richard Rorty's pragmatic, anti-essentialist contextualism. The contrast with Rorty is important because his contextualism is one of the most prominent approaches within the relatively recent proliferation of antiessentialist views mobilized under the banners of pragmatism, hermeneutics, postmodernism, constructivism, etc. Although Rorty's contextualism is both compelling and comparable to Sartre's realism-all-the-way-down, I shall argue that the latter does not throw out the baby that the former throws out with the bathwater. Realism-all-the-way-down is not compelled to throw out realism along with subjective and objective idealism, whereas contextualism must throw out the whole lot. If compelling intuitions recommend realism to us, and if Rorty's rejection of realism is unconvincing, there are good reasons to prefer Sartre's realism-all-the-way-down.
The ‘Ideal’ Atheist
Nonreligion and Moral Exemplarism
Drawing on theories of moral exemplarism and ethnographic research with an atheist movement in South India, this article explores how narratives of idealism and the Telugu concept of ‘ādarśam’ signal a distinct register of moral experience. By foregrounding the role of concrete interpersonal and affective relationships, the article complicates methodological approaches to the ethics of nonreligion that concentrate on forms of moral reasoning based on semiotic or ontological distinctions between religion and nonreligion. Rather than positing idealism as an intrinsic attribute of nonreligion, the article investigates ethnographically how atheist activists draw on different moral registers and ambivalent investments in the making and policing of boundaries between religion and nonreligion for making moral judgments and working out what it means to lead an idealist life.
Agency and the Anstoß
Max Planck Directors as Fichtean Subjects
One of the core assumptions in agency theory has been that agency is a primordial attribute of persons: an agent is 'the origin of causal events'. However, rather than situating agency at the origin, this article argues that we should a end to where agency, within a given context, itself originates. In Germany's Max Planck Society the departmental heads – so-called 'directors' – possess a significant degree of 'agency' in realizing their personal will. Yet they are not its authors. On the contrary their agency is a secondary product of the philosophies of German Idealism, which eulogize the subjectivity of a heroic intellectual. In this analysis, the agency of the directors is not a precondition of their humanity, but the off spring of a specific cultural inheritance which frames the organization's intramural life. Organizational theorists should thus pay close attention to the geo-cultural location of their object before drawing conclusions about agency.
Remarks on Emmanuel Levinas's Contribution to Classical and “Situated” Justice
In 1968, at the height of political unrest in Europe and North America, in the heyday of French existentialism, Marxism, and psychoanalysis, Emmanuel Levinas published an essay curiously opposed to the emerging “canon” of the time, in defence of humanism. Both with and against psychoanalysis’ and structuralism’s decentring of the subject and the Marxist critiques of bourgeois humanism, Levinas called for a different conception of humanism. He suggested that humanism had never been truly humanist because metaphysics (and ethics) had given priority to a conception of subjectivity characterized exclusively by activity and rationality. But Levinas did not toll the death knell of reason; rather he suggested that the rationalist subjectivity of humanism and idealism covered over depths of our intersubjective life. Against these, he proposed a humanism whose beginning would not be the self-positing of the ego, but rather would lie in the peculiar character of our sensuous vulnerability to other human beings. This vulnerability – whose ethical implications can be elucidated by an inquiry into the possibility of the sentiments of responsibility and obligation – belongs to a philosophical anthropology characterized by a certain optimism. Such an optimism is envisionable for Levinas even in the wake of skepticism over the meaning and coherence of ethical judgement. Thus, in the following passage Levinas summarizes his conception of the subject and the starting point of his humanism, using the Fichtean ego (inter alia) as its foil.