Philosophy and Real Politics

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Princeton University Press, Aug 17, 2008 - Philosophy - 116 pages
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Many contemporary political thinkers are gripped by the belief that their task is to develop an ideal theory of rights or justice for guiding and judging political actions. But in Philosophy and Real Politics, Raymond Geuss argues that philosophers should first try to understand why real political actors behave as they actually do. Far from being applied ethics, politics is a skill that allows people to survive and pursue their goals. To understand politics is to understand the powers, motives, and concepts that people have and that shape how they deal with the problems they face in their particular historical situations.

Philosophy and Real Politics both outlines a historically oriented, realistic political philosophy and criticizes liberal political philosophies based on abstract conceptions of rights and justice. The book is a trenchant critique of established ways of thought and a provocative call for change.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - stillatim - LibraryThing

This is worth reading for footnote 49 alone: "I think it possible to retain much of Adorno's analysis within a (revised) Leninist framework, but this is not a claim I propose to discuss in these pages ... Read full review

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User Review  - thcson - LibraryThing

A short review for a short book. This book criticizes the traditional conception of political philosophy, which sees it merely as applied ethics. I liked the general idea and some of the themes the ... Read full review


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About the author (2008)

Raymond Geuss teaches philosophy at the University of Cambridge. His books include Outside Ethics (Princeton), Public Goods, Private Goods (Princeton), and The Idea of a Critical Theory.

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