Utopias and the art of the possible

Chappell, Timothy (2008). Utopias and the art of the possible. Analyse und Kritik, 30 pp. 179–203.

URL: http://www.analyse-und-kritik.net/2008-1/AK_Chappe...


I begin this paper by examining what MacIntyre has to tell us about radical disagreements: how they have arisen, and how to deal with them, within a polity. I conclude by radically disagreeing with Macintyre: I shall suggest that he offers no credible alternative to liberalism's account of radical disagreements and how to deal with them. To put it dilemmatically: insofar as what MacIntyre says is credible, it is not an alternative to liberalism; insofar as he presents a genuine alternative to liberalism, this alternative is not credible. In large part the credibility problems that I see for MacIntyre's project arise from the history on which he bases it; it is with this history that I begin. Reflection on MacIntyre's profound and subtle political philosophy thus fails to dislodge liberalism from its contemporary intellectual supremacy–a supremacy which I think liberalism has well earned. If anything, such reflection enhances the hegemony of liberalism still further. And a good thing too.

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