Social Philosophy

After Politics: The Rejection of Politics in Contemporary by Glen Newey

By Glen Newey

Why do political philosophers why clear of politics? After Politics: The Rejection of Politics in modern Liberal Philosophy bargains a hard and unique critique of liberalism, the dominant political philosophy of our time, tackling key concerns like country legitimacy, value-pluralism, neutrality, the character of politics, public purposes, and morality in politics. reading significant liberal theorists like Rawls, Habermas, Rorty, Barry, grey, Raz, Larmore, Ackerman and others, Glen Newey argues that liberalism by-passes politics since it ignores or misunderstands human motivation, and elevates educational system-building over political realities of clash and tool.

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But a more far-reaching and valuable product of the descriptive turn is criticism of the major methodological assumptions informing current practice. Politics can be the instrument through which a certain normative conception, of the ideal society, is to be brought into being. It is hard to deny that normative theory does make such an assumption, for unless the assumption is true, normative theory is engaged in a pointless enterprise. Diversity extends to conceptions of the political good. A corollary of increased self-reflectiveness might be an awareness of how assumptions concerning the possibility of implementing a certain political order need to be made explicit or challenged, and may reflect unacknowledged beliefs about the nature of politics.

My suggestions about the direction which future research in the discipline should take inevitably reflect my own theoretical commitments. But this does not mean that the research programme proposed must take a neo-Aristotelian form. Below I set out suggestions as to the direction which future research in the discipline might take. I do not deny of course that some interesting work has already been 34 After Politics done in the areas listed – indeed, some of it is cited in the annotations. Nor is it intended that the list be exhaustive.

13 We should contrast ECT and RDT with a rival claim, which simply provides a descriptive account of political disagreement, as follows: DPD: Certain key concepts in political argument often, as a matter of brute fact, give rise to irresolvable disagreement, for example, over their extension. It is important to distinguish the conceptual claims from DPD, which simply describes a set of political phenomena. The fullest and most recent account of the political significance of ECT and RDT has been given by Mason in his book Explaining Political Disagreement.

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