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The Lesson of Carl Schmitt’s Realism

The Autonomy and the Primacy of the Political

Attila Gyulai

Political realism claims that politics should be understood as politics and not as a derivative of any other field of human activity. While contemporary realists often argue for the autonomy of politics, this article suggests that only the primacy of politics can be the starting point of political realism. The aim of the article is to expose a conceptual deficiency, namely, the unclear difference between the autonomy and the primacy approach in contemporary realist theory by going back to Carl Schmitt’s contribution to political realism. It will be argued that Schmitt’s concept of the political foreshadowed the ambiguities of contemporary realist theory, exemplified by key authors such as Bernard Williams, Raymond Geuss and Mark Philp.

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Realistic Idealism

An Aristotelian Alternative to Machiavellian International Relations

Pedro Alexis Tabensky

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).

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Rethinking Realism (or Whatever) and the War on Terrorism in a Place Like the Balkans

Rory Conces

Political realism remains a powerful theoretical framework for thinking about international relations, including the war on terrorism. For Morgenthau and other realists, foreign policy is a matter of national interest defined in terms of power. Some writers view this tenet as weakening, if not severing, realism's link with morality. I take up the contrary view that morality is embedded in realist thought, as well as the possibility of realism being thinly and thickly moralised depending on the moral psychology of the agents. I argue that a prima facie case can be made within a thinly moralised realism for a relatively weak ally like Bosnia to enter the war on terrorism. An inflationary model of morality, however, explains how the moral horror of genocide in an ally's past may lead to a thickened moralised realism such that allied policy-makers question their country's entry into the war.

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The Realism of Political Liberalism

Bertjan Wolthuis

article is simply: is political liberalism a kind of political realism? The answer is: yes, in multiple ways. This answer is controversial and calls for argumentation which I provide in the main body of the article. The article is organised around three

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Political Realism, Commerce and Moral Psychology

Ze'ev Emmerich

What marks the difference between modern and non-modern political philosophy? Such a question could be understood in two ways. On the one hand, it could be understood as a question concerning formal differences between modern and pre/non-modern modes of philosophising. On the other hand, it could be understood as a question about the changing nature of the object of the philosophical enterprise, namely a question concerning the historical differences between modern and pre-modern (domestic as well as international) politics. Contemporary political philosophy has focused primarily on meeting the first, formal, challenge. By failing to take proper account of the effects that major historical developments—especially the rise of commercial society and global market economy—have had on the character of political life, much of contemporary political theory tend to view its enterprise as essentially an extension to or an application of ethics. What is needed instead is a 'political economy'. Political philosophy must rise to this challenge if it wishes to help us contend with our present predicament. The final part of the article outlines a realist, non-moralistic, political philosophy which takes account of the interplay between human 'sentiments' and 'reason' in a commercial world order.

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From Modern to Feudal

Conceptual Articulations of Federalism in Republican China

Federico Brusadelli

(to be correctly labeled “school of political realism,” as suggested by Kai Vogelsang), written in the third century BCE. 9 In chapter 8 of his manual for power-holders, master Han Fei writes: Affairs are conducted in the four corners, the

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Introduction

Value Pluralism and Public Ethics

Derek Edyvane and Demetris Tillyris

): 275 – 294 . doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11158-016-9323-4 Tillyris , D. 2019 . ‘ Political Realism and Dirty Hands: Value Pluralism, Moral Conflict and Public Ethics ’, Philosophia, OnlineFirst: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s

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Communication, Context, and Narrative

Habermas and Contemporary Realist Thought

Navid Hassanzadeh

and subvert his narrative of steady democratisation. Habermas and Realism The contours of political realism today are contested, and in certain respects indeterminate. Some common features nonetheless can be identified and be seen to overlap with

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Reviews

Klaus Oschema, Mette Thunø, Evan Kuehn, and Blake Ewing

, between what theorists nowadays characterize as a split between “political realism” and “ideal theory.” Hermeneutics and historicity are the domains of the interpretative-minded and a priori matters of the latter. Both theorize politics and various

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Sartre was not a Marxist

Alfred Betschart

, in Max Weber's terms an ethics of responsibility—in Moral Idealism and Political Realism and The Useless Mouths in 1945, The Responsibility of the Writer and What is Literature? 1947, Notebooks for an Ethics 1947/1948 , In the Mesh 1946