Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory

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Focus: Theorizing Unreasonable Politics?
2024 (46) Issue 2

Political philosophers and theorists sometimes turn away from engaging with positions that they deem patently unreasonable. Examples include views of right-wing populists, of defenders of the fossil fuel industry, or of climate change skeptics. Different from this conventional way of turning away from such positions – for the sake of dealing with positions that appear intellectually more interesting – Shmuel Nili’s Philosophizing the Indefensible – Strategic Political Theorizing addresses them heads-on. His aim in pursuing such “strategic” political theorizing is to show that even if we accept certain premises of what are widely regarded unreasonable positions, we can nevertheless reach practical conclusions that are no longer morally beyond the pale and thus not unreasonable. Doing so, Nili argues, we can close the gap between abstract political theorizing and pressing political problems, as we focus on views that find widespread support in real world politics. In addition, by harnessing philosophy’s tools of argumentative analysis in these ways, we can eventually pull those who hold unreasonable views towards positions that can count as reasonable, as well as show respect to the integrity of their political reasoning.

We invite submissions on Nili’s book as well as on issues that are related to the theme of the book by September 15, 2024.