By Glen Newey
Why do political philosophers turn away from politics? Glen Newey deals a tough 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. reading 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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Additional resources for After Politics: The Rejection of Politics in Contemporary Liberal Philosophy
My aim is not to endorse the contextualist approach, but to suggest that divergence in practice between historians and contemporary practitioners of political philosophy itself betokens a form of reductivism. Contextualists are wont to claim that the historical specificity of the texts’ production makes them inapplicable to the very different political circumstances of modernity; but, in reaffirming that these texts are applicable to modern political conditions, contemporary political philosophers do not implicitly claim that these conditions are, after all, relevantly similar to those of ancient Athens, or seventeenthcentury England.
These wider assumptions may license an unduly straitened view of what counts as a ‘political’ conception (of justice, say) while, from the other end, preconceptions about the nature of the phenomena waiting to be discovered are reflected in the conditions which, it is thought, must be satisfied by any philosophical theory aspiring to account for them. There are then complementary narrowings, of the phenomena on the one side, and the modes of theoretical treatment deemed appropriate to them on the other.
8 Connolly’s reason for saying this (and the rationale for the thesis itself) is that the thesis explains how those involved in political arguments can disagree, as a consequence of certain features of the concepts figuring in their votaries’ characteristic assertions. This should be distinguished from the claim that the thesis explains how the disputants may reasonably disagree, as we will see. I will, nonetheless, argue that the thesis is self-defeating, insofar as it aims to provide an explanatory claim about political disagreement.