Blog of The Paradox of Realism Research Group
2017. May 25. 12:43
DISCLAIMER: The aim of this series of short comments is to present the basic ideas of papers discussing the problems of political realism in a humorous form. My choice of a sarcastic tone is not intended to harm anyone's feelings, only to make the comments more accessible.
Sebastian Nye: Real Politics and Metaethical Baggage (Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 2015, 18:1083-1100)
2016. April 19. 10:32
Political action is an elusive phenomenon. It is often connected to various "god terms" in realist political theory, such as charisma (Weber), creativity (Schabert), or judgement (Dunn). These concepts are often taken to explain everything, while cannot be further interrogated themselves. My aim is to map and contribute to new realist attempts that try to conceptualize political action beyond these boundaries. At the moment I work on the ethical aspect of my thesis, focusing on contemporary realist ways of finding a middle way between political moralism and pure consequentialist analysis of political action, for example through virtue ethics (as done by Andrew Sabl in an Aristotelian, and by Mark Philp in a Machiavellian way).
2016. April 19. 10:30
My task in this Module is to concentrate on the changing interpretation of the term “politics” in Hungarian academic textbooks and monographs. To grasp the various terms applied to “politics” and to successfully categorize them in the spirit of finding the traces and qualities of Hungarian Realist ideas, I focus on a wider range of concepts and context: I examine their elaborating viewpoints on Political Science, history, democracy and their applied terms like “sovereignty”, “power”, “rule”, “order” or “state”.
2016. April 05. 9:20
Besides the research of the comparative module of our project, I pore over the political theory of modus vivendi. As some of its theorists have already expressed, modus vivendi theory is intent on balancing between Rawlsian constructivist and morality-laden liberalism and a kind of Hobbesian perspective of the anthropology of “real world politics”. John Gray, one of the promoters of realist liberalism, recommends a neo-Hobbesian way of social coexistence which is undeniably less ambitious than Kant-based liberalisms. Being a post-liberal (or post-Enlightenment) theory, modus vivendi is more a practice-oriented and open-ended theory than philosophical constructions based on high morality. At the same time, as Gray writes, modus vivendi is not the theory of “anything goes”, and it is necessary to have a solid political foundation of social co-existence.
2016. April 01. 18:13
The topic of my thesis was John Rawls, whose political philosophy has been considered the utmost rival by political realist thinkers. Thus, within the project I work with the critical module, which primarily focuses on the dispute between Political Realism and Political Moralism. My research includes finding out whether or not Rawls responded to the realist critiques received, and if the theorist did respond what were his answers.
2016. April 01. 18:06
In the research my academic challenge is to analyse the debates on political science that has been emerging in Hungary for the past twenty years or so. The most troubling problems that constantly reoccur in these debates are in connection with the nature of political science. Examining the different sources it becomes evident that there is no consensus on the exact nature of the science, which comes from the more fundamental problem of how to define self-conceptualization. The stake of this multiplayer polemic is the following: can political science as a scientific discipline be independent from politics? I am looking for the answers to this highly complex question with concepts of the realist theory. This theory marks the topics for my investigation, since Political Realism offers an alternative perspective to mainstream political philosophy and with it a set of new questions which precisely reflect on the issue of the nature of political science. These include the conflictual nature of politics, the scepticism towards scientific endeavours and experience, the pessimistic anthropological approach toward the subjects of politics and, finally, the role of the legitimacy from the perspective of political science.
2016. March 16. 10:44
I joined the project The Paradox of Realism in September 2015. As a MA student at the Philosophy Institution at Eötvös Loránd University, my research area is political philosophy and its relationship with moral philosophy. From the three modules the project consists of I work within the critical module, as that being the closest to my formal educational background and academic interest. This module is prevailingly dominated by strong theoretical debate, diverse dispositions, which makes the work more genuine.
2016. March 01. 22:05
In the next months we are going to publish a series of blog posts about political realism in general and the goals of our research project in particular. What is political realism and why should we bother? These will be our first questions to answer. We hope that you will find our short comments of some interest.