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Conventional Realism and Political InquiryChanneling Wittgenstein$
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John G. Gunnell

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226661278

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226661308.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021



(p.1) Introduction
(p.iii) Conventional Realism and Political Inquiry

John G. Gunnell

University of Chicago Press

Here we strike rock bottom, that is, we have come down to conventions.

Grammar tells us what kind of object anything is. … Essence is expressed in grammar.


This book, in its most general sense, consists of an exploration of the relationship between philosophy and political inquiry as well as an assessment of what that relationship has been, currently is, and what it should be. My purpose is to explain certain dimensions of how political science and political theory have understood and deployed philosophy. When, however, social scientists and social theorists turn to the work of philosophers for intellectual authority or when they criticize certain philosophers, what they extract is often selective and in the service of some prior agenda. The philosophers whose work I discuss have all in various degrees been objects of the conversation of political theory, but close acquaintance with that work is often limited and derivative. My goal is to initiate a more genuine conversation with certain philosophers and political theorists, including those with whom I agree as well as those with whom I disagree....

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