‘Passions and constraint’: The marginalization of passion in liberal political theory

Philosophy and Social Criticism 28 (6):727-748 (2002)
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Positive arguments on behalf of passion are scarce in liberal political theory. Rather, liberal theorists tend to push passion to the margins of their theories of politics, either by ignoring it or by explicitly arguing that passion poses a danger to politics and is best kept out of the public realm. The purpose of this essay is to criticize these marginalizations and to illustrate their roots in impoverished conceptions of passion. Using a richer conception of passion as the desire for an envisioned good, I argue that it is neither possible nor desirable to eliminate passion from politics. Passion should therefore be established as a central category of analysis in political theory alongside other key concerns. Key Words: passion • reason • politics • liberalism • eros.



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Citations of this work

Languages of political support: Engaging with the public realm.Michael Freeden - 2009 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 12 (2):183-202.

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References found in this work

Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
Leviathan.Thomas Hobbes - 1651 - New York: Harmondsworth, Penguin.
On Nationality.David Miller - 1995 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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