Can Realism Move Beyond a Methodenstreit?
Enzo Rossi, "Can Realism Move Beyond a Methodenstreit?", Political Theory, 2015, Forthcoming
9 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2015 Last revised: 31 Jan 2015
Date Written: January 25, 2015
Is there more to the recent surge in political realism more than just a debate on how best to continue doing what political theorists are already doing? I use two recent books, by Michael Freeden and Matt Sleat, as a testing ground for realism’s claims about its import on the discipline. I argue that both book take realism beyond the Methodenstreit, though each in a different direction: Freeden’s takes us in the realm of meta-metatheory, Sleat’s is a genuine exercise in grounding liberal normative theory in a non-moralistic way. I conclude with wider methodological observations. I argue that, unlike communitarianism (the previous contender for the discipline’s renewal), realism has the potential to open new vistas, though their novelty is, to a large extent, relative to the last few decades: realism is best thought of as a return to a more traditional way of doing political philosophy.
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