Value, Conflict, and OrderBerlin, Hampshire, Williams, and the Realist Revival in Political Theory

Value, Conflict, and OrderBerlin, Hampshire, Williams, and the Realist Revival in Political Theory

Edward Hall

Print publication date: 2021

ISBN: 9780226718286

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

This study of the moral and political thought of Isaiah Berlin, Stuart Hampshire, and Bernard Williams illustrates how political realism, in its most philosophically significant form, is grounded in a rejection of moral theory as standardly conceived and emerges from the adoption of a realist spirit in ethics. It addresses the related but distinct ways that the work of Berlin, Hampshire, and Williams challenges the pretensions of mainstream moral and political philosophy, while also illustrating the first-order implications that their work has for the question of how we should think about the ethics of politics. To this end, Value, Conflict, and Order undermines the common refrain that political realism is inevitably a critical and cautionary creed, and addresses a number of vital questions at the heart of contemporary political theory concerning the nature of moral and political conflict, the ethics of compromising with adversaries and opponents, and the character of political legitimacy.