Bernard Williams and the structure of liberal realism
in Liberal realism
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The aim of this chapter is to contrast two realist accounts of the relationship between politics and successful domination. The work of Bernard Williams exemplifies a way of conceptualising this relationship, ‘politics as distinct from successful domination’, which is explored in detail but ultimately rejected as unsustainable on its own terms and with other aspects of realist thought. An account of politics in which ‘politics cannot be merely successful domination’ is then advocated as more consistent with realist thought. This is crucial for helping clarify a crucial normative question for a theory of liberal realism that will be addressed in the following two chapters: how does liberal realism respect the freedom of those who reject liberal values and principles?

Liberal realism

A realist theory of liberal politics


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