By Glen Newey
Why do political philosophers shrink back from politics? Glen Newey deals a demanding and unique critique of liberalism, the dominant political philosophy of our time, tackling such key matters as country legitimacy, value-pluralism, neutrality, the character of politics, public cause, and morality in politics. examining significant liberal theorists, Newey argues that liberalism bypasses politics since it ignores or misunderstands human motivation, and elevates educational systembuilding over political realities of clash and gear.
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Extra resources for After Politics: The Rejection of Politics in Contemporary Liberal Philosophy
14 In this respect real-world politics is apt to appear irrational, and requiring rational control. Insofar as it figures at all, politics is taken to require historical inquiry rather than philosophical analysis. This assumption reinforces the demarcation between political philosophers and historians of political thought. 22 After Politics Anglophone political philosophy is nowadays largely practised as a branch of ‘applied’ ethics. Discussion occurs at what I shall call the level of political design – that is, the level at which political structures, institutions and procedures, are determined philosophically.
Apart from familiar questions of hermeneutic circularity, there is also the problem of determining non-circular criteria for fixing contextual relevance. Intractable difficulties also attend the strong form of semantic realism which Skinner’s approach demands – not because there are problems in defending a truth-conditional semantics, but because it is far from clear, even in principle, what the relevant truth-conditions would consist in. Given that, the theoretical space exists for radical disagreement over what counts as hermeneutic success, even within a blankly realist view of truth-conditions.
There is room for significant debate between political philosophers both at a descriptive level and at a metaethical level as well. My suggestions about the direction which future research in the discipline should take inevitably reflect my own theoretical commitments. But this does not mean that the research programme proposed must take a neo-Aristotelian form. Below I set out suggestions as to the direction which future research in the discipline might take. I do not deny of course that some interesting work has already been 34 After Politics done in the areas listed – indeed, some of it is cited in the annotations.
After Politics: The Rejection of Politics in Contemporary Liberal Philosophy by Glen Newey