The realist challenge to liberal theory
in Liberal realism
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This chapter brings together the previous two by setting up the ‘realist challenge’ to liberal theory. It argues that realism’s emphasis on disagreement and conflict makes untenable liberalism’s consensus vision of the political, and sets out and counters three possible liberal defences of their position. The final section then discusses the difficulties in developing a realist theory of liberal realism if we abandon the consensus vision of the political, in particular for realising liberalism’s central normative value of respecting the freedom of those over whom political power is employed.

Liberal realism

A realist theory of liberal politics


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