Political Utopias

Political Utopias : Contemporary Debates

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Political theory, from antiquity to the present, has been divided over the relationship between the requirements of justice and the limitations of persons and institutions to meet those requirements. Some theorists hold that a theory of justice should be utopian or idealistic-that the derivation of the correct principles of justice should not take into account human and institutional limitations. Others insist on a realist or non-utopian view, according to which
feasibility-facts about what is possible given human and institutional limitations-is a constraint on principles of justice. In recent years, the relationship between the ideal and the real has become the subject of renewed scholarly interest. This anthology aims to represent the contemporary state of
this classic debate. By and large, contributors to the volume deny that the choice between realism and idealism is binary. Rather, there is a continuum between realism and idealism that locates these extremes of each view at opposite poles. The contributors, therefore, tend to occupy middle positions, only leaning in the ideal or non-ideal direction. Together, their contributions not only represent a wide array of attractive positions in the new literature on the topic, but also collectively
advance how we understand the difference between idealism and realism itself.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 165 x 234 x 18mm | 388g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0190280603
  • 9780190280604
  • 998,034

Table of contents

List of Contributors

Introduction Kevin Vallier and Michael Weber

1. On the Messy "Utopophobia vs Factophobia" Controversy: A Systematization and Assessment
Laura Valentini

2. Prime Justice
David Estlund

3. Can Non-Ideal Theories of Justice Guide Action?
Robert Talisse

4. Why Public Reasoning Involves Ideal Theorizing
Blain Neufeld

5. Justice and Feasibility: A Dynamic Approach
Pablo Gilabert

6. Political Functionalism and the Importance of Social Facts
Alex Guerrero

7. Will the Real Principles of Justice Please Stand Up?
David Wiens

8. Searching for the Ideal: The Fundamental Diversity Dilemma
Gerald Gaus and Keith Hankins

9. The Need for Non-Ideal Theory: A Case Study in Deliberative Democracy
Danielle Wenner

10. When is Non-Ideal Theory too Ideal? Adaptive Preferences, Children, and Ideal Theory
Rosa Terlazzo
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Review quote

This is a compelling representative of a positive trend in social and political philosophy: the exploration of the space between the extremes of idealism and realism. The idea motivating this collection is that there is more than one way to mix ideal and non-ideal elements in one's political theorizing. Each contributor marks a different point on a continuum, with David Estlund's contribution on prime justice the most idealistic and David Wiens's the most realistic
... All in all, this book contains an impressively wide range of views while still retaining a set of linked themes * Patrick Taylor Smith, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews *
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About Michael Weber

Kevin Vallier is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Bowling Green State University, whose research focuses in political philosophy, normative ethics, political economy, and philosophy of religion. Vallier is the author of Liberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation (Routledge, 2014) and Must Politics Be War? In Defense of Public Reason Liberalism, forthcoming with Oxford University Press.

Michael Weber is Professor of Philosophy, and Department Chair, at Bowling Green State University. He has published on a wide variety of topics in ethics and political philosophy, including rational choice theory, ethics and the emotions, and egalitarianism. He has also co-edited with Christian Coons three edited volumes on topics in applied ethics: Paternalism (Cambridge University Press), Manipulation (Oxford University Press), and The Ethics of Self-Defense (Oxford
University Press).
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