Beyond Realism and Moralism: A Defense of Political Minimalism
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Moral philosophyPolitical minimalismPolitical moralismPolitical philosophyPolitical substantialismPolitical realism
Rodríguez Alcázar, F.J. Beyond Realism and Moralism: A Defense of Political Minimalism. Metaphilosophy, 48(5): 727-744 (2017). [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/48517]
SponsorshipThis article is a result of the research project FFI2016–79000-P, financed by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry, and Competitiveness.
What is the relationship between morals and politics? What is the relationship between moral philosophy and political philosophy? Defenders of political moralism postulate moral aims or constraints for politics, and hence they see political philosophy as a chapter of moral philosophy. Contrastingly, advocates of political realism describe politics as an independent endeavor aiming at providing order and security, and conceive of political philosophy as an autonomous discipline. This article claims that political moralism and political realism share the mistake of assuming that politics has substantial, permanent goals or constraints. After criticizing political substantialism, the article explains the main ingredients of its alternative, political minimalism: (1) the idea that politics, understood as collective instrumental rationality, aims at providing adequate means for the accomplishment of people s goals, whatever these are; and (2) the conception of the relationship between morality and politics as one of “reciprocal containment.” Finally, it addresses some foreseeable criticisms of political minimalism.
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