Realism against Legitimacy

Social Theory and Practice 48 (1):29-60 (2022)
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Abstract

This article challenges the association between realist methodology and ideals of legitimacy. Many who seek a more “realistic” or “political” approach to political theory replace the familiar orientation towards a state of justice with a structurally similar orientation towards a state of legitimacy. As a result, they fail to provide more reliable practical guidance, and wrongly displace radical demands. Rather than orienting action towards any state of affairs, I suggest that a more practically useful approach to political theory would directly address judgments, by comparing the concrete possibilities for action faced by real political actors.

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Samuel Bagg
University of South Carolina

Citations of this work

Doing Realist Political Theory: Introduction.Manon Westphal & Ulrich Willems - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-16.
On Being a Realist about Migration.Adrian Kreutz - forthcoming - Res Publica:1-12.

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References found in this work

The Idea of Justice.Amartya Kumar Sen - 2009 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
What is the Point of Equality.Elizabeth Anderson - 1999 - Ethics 109 (2):287-337.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - Philosophy 52 (199):102-105.
Philosophy and Real Politics.Raymond Geuss - 2008 - Princeton University Press.

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