By Glen Newey
Why do political philosophers shrink back from politics? Glen Newey bargains a demanding and unique critique of liberalism, the dominant political philosophy of our time, tackling such key matters as kingdom legitimacy, value-pluralism, neutrality, the character of politics, public cause, and morality in politics. examining 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 info for After Politics: The Rejection of Politics in Contemporary Liberal Philosophy
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. 15 I shall endorse Mason’s claim that these disputes are political, but shall argue that essential contestability provides no explanation as to why these disputes exist, nor why they are political (nor does DPD, which simply describes the phenomena of disagreement rather than explaining them). By contrast, a minimal and therefore minimally contentious characterisation of the political can offer a rival functional explanation of the phenomena of disagreement, as I shall argue at the end of the chapter.
One role for political philosophy is precisely to expose tacit thinking about the nature and limits of the political, and understand how these habits of thought pervade both academic and lay thinking about the subject. There is a further reason for the popularity of anti-political attitudes both inside and outside the academy, which expresses the defeated hopes of instrumentalist thinking about politics. In one form it is to be found in the thought that politics is too maladapted an instrument to achieve the political objectives they favour.
It should be clear why a programme of research into political virtue is an appropriate response to the criticisms voiced above. 32 Since virtue-concepts prove on the above analysis irreducible to the theoretical apparatus of instrumentalist views of the ethical, they provide a basis for a non-instrumentalist view of politics. This is, to repeat, not to claim that political virtue can simply be read off from the patterns of ethical evaluation appropriate to individual or private virtue. The forms of agency of which political virtue is predicable may differ radically from virtuous action in private life.