European Journal of Philosophy 26 (1):145-168 (2018)

Authors
Paul Raekstad
Cambridge University
Abstract
One of the more debated topics in the recent realist literature concerns the compatibility of realism and utopianism. Perhaps the greatest challenge to utopian political thought comes from Bernard Williams' realism, which argues, among other things, that political values should be subject to what he calls the ‘realism constraint’, which rules out utopian arguments based on values which cannot be offered by the state as unrealistic and therefore inadmissible. This article challenges that conclusion in two ways. First, it argues that the rationale for accepting Williams' original argument for the ‘realism constraint’ fails. Secondly, it argues that there is at least one genuinely political value of liberty available which is both compatible with realism and something that cannot be offered by the state, namely that of the political anarchist. This opens the way for far more ambitious and utopian forms of realist political thought and implies that the arguments of what we call political anarchists must be met by political argumentation, not simply ruled out by methodological stipulation.
Keywords Realism  Political Realism  Utopianism  Political Theory  Political Philosophy  Anarchism  Bernard Williams  Raymond Geuss
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Reprint years 2016, 2018
DOI 10.1111/ejop.12193
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References found in this work BETA

Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - Philosophy 52 (199):102-105.
Ideal Vs. Non‐Ideal Theory: A Conceptual Map.Laura Valentini - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (9):654-664.
Realism in Normative Political Theory.Enzo Rossi & Matt Sleat - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (10):689-701.
Philosophy and Real Politics.Raymond Geuss - 2008 - Princeton University Press.
Justice as Fairness: A Restatement.C. L. Ten - 2003 - Mind 112 (447):563-566.

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Citations of this work BETA

Being Realistic and Demanding the Impossible.Enzo Rossi - 2019 - Constellations 26 (4):638-652.
Political Normativity and the Functional Autonomy of Politics.Carlo Burelli - 2020 - European Journal of Political Theory:147488512091850.
Radicalizing Realist Legitimacy.Ben Cross - 2019 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 46 (4):369-389.
Smashing the State Gently: Radical Realism and Realist Anarchism.Gearóid Brinn - 2020 - European Journal of Political Theory 19 (2):206-227.

View all 25 citations / Add more citations

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