Synopses & Reviews
This volume presents an argument for a new understanding of political ethics. To do so, it relates political philosophy to the realities of political life, developing a notion of tragic realism. Drawing on many resources, from Thycydides and Rawls to Ricoeur and Geuss, it not only reconceptualizes utopia, but also presents tragedy as experienced by the weak and disempowered.
A unique contribution to realism, the book argues that tragic realism requires the utopian, which brings up the question of normativity and legitimacy that realists have acknowledged as important, but not fully developed. The political efforts of the Arab Spring revolutions of 2011, and Sergio Vieira de Mello the United Nations Ambassador killed in Iraq in 2003, help show how the conceptual and the concrete dimensions of tragic, utopian realism form a unique understanding of political philosophy today.
This significant contribution to contemporary debates in political theory bridges conceptual work with the concrete understanding that political theory and philosophy are a way of life rather than just discourse about politics. It is a work that will be essential to anyone studying key issues in political theory, ethics and philosophy.
About the Author
Greg S. Johnson is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. He is the author of Elements of the Utopian (2011) and co-editor of Paul Ricoeur and the Task of Political Philosophy (2012).
Table of Contents
Part I. Concerns of Contemporary Realist Political Philosophy
1. The "Morality-First" View: Political Philosophy in the Wrong Direction
2. What Makes a Realist Political Philosophy Real?
Part II. Retaining Realism
3. From Thucydides to Geuss: A Genealogy of Tragic Realism
4. Tragic Realism: The First Word in Realist Political Philosophy
Part III. Demanding Things be Better: Realist Utopian Thought
5. Uncovering Hidden Utopian Impulses: Productive and Imaginative Excellence
6. Tragically Real Utopian Thought: From Sergio Vieira de Mello to the Arab Spring
7. The Utopian and Political Realities: Tragic Realism and the Philosophy of War