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Liberalism as IdeologyEssays in Honour of Michael Freeden$
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Ben Jackson and Marc Stears

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199600670

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199600670.001.0001

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Getting ‘Real’ About Political Ideas: Conceptual Morphology and the Realist Critique of Anglo-American Political Philosophy

Getting ‘Real’ About Political Ideas: Conceptual Morphology and the Realist Critique of Anglo-American Political Philosophy

Chapter:
(p.241) 12 Getting ‘Real’ About Political Ideas: Conceptual Morphology and the Realist Critique of Anglo-American Political Philosophy
Source:
Liberalism as Ideology
Author(s):

Mathew Humphrey

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199600670.003.0013

We are currently seeing an upsurge of ‘realism’ in political philosophy, in the work of theorists such as Raymond Geuss and the late Bernard Williams. A key part of this work is a critique of Anglo-American ‘ideal’ political philosophy. This chapter argues that we find a very similar critique of analytical political philosophy in the work, from Ideologies and Political Theory onwards, of Michael Freeden. Both Freeden and the realists stress the importance of historical contingency, the autonomy of the political, and the ideological nature of political philosophy—all features that they take ideal theory to neglect. It is, however, also important to understand what distinguishes Michael Freeden’s work from realism. Whereas the latter offer an alternative conception of how to do first-order political philosophy, Freeden sees his work as engaging in a second-order exercise of ideology analysis.

Keywords:   realism, ideal theory, ideology, Raymond Geuss, Bernard Williams, ideology analysis

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