Publication details

Realismus a idealismus v politické teorii

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Title in English Realism and Idealism in Political Theory


Year of publication 2019
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Description The second chapter by Jiří Baroš deals with broadly methodological and metatheoretical assumptions of democratic theory, paying a special attention to the dispute between “realism” and “idealism” in political philosophy. These two seemingly self-explanatory notions in fact encompass at least three standalone distinctions. Baroš starts with the Rawlsian distinction between ideal and non-ideal theorising, where the former elaborates ideal standards against which political reality is to be measured and evaluated, while the latter is primarily interested in how to cope with existing deficiencies of our political systems. He then overviews opposing types of criticism of the Rawlsian project: On the one hand, Sen’s emphasis on gradualist eradication of real-world injustices and the uselessness of Rawlsian ideal theory for such endeavour; on the other hand, Gerald Cohen’s and David Estlund’s respective “utopian” rejections of realist constraints on Rawlsian ideal theory. Because much of the liberal current in political philosophy belongs to the ideal-theory approach, Baroš subsequently discusses Bernard Williams’s and Raymond Geuss’s realist criticisms of this dominant mode of political theorising. He concludes that a fruitful theoretical response to the announced crisis of liberal democracy resides in what Jeremy Waldron dubbed political political theory – that is, an attempt at a philosophically informed analysis of (the role of) existing political institutions in constitutional democracies. Baroš also suggest returning scholarly attention to a general theory of political regimes which could contextualise liberal democracy among possible alternatives.
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