New Wine in Old Bottles: The Kind of Political Philosophy We Need

Beatrice Magni


There isn’t an overall consensus on the aim, meaning and role(s) of contemporary political philosophy. The relationship between philosophy and politics has been addressed and sharpened – not just today but in different ways and from various, separate and sometimes conflicting perspectives (Leopold & Stears, 2008). Regardless, the main aims, meaning and role of a field of study are key issues, and the quality and credibility of the research will most likely depend on our capacity to draw a path through this conflicting background. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to drafting elements of a new road map that could lead contemporary political philosophy out of this crippling impasse. It builds on a specific version of political theory – Walzer’s interpretation path reviewed (Walzer, 1985) – and addresses a kind of political practice able to reconcile political philosophy’s normative commitments – as is the case with the Rawls’ four roles of political philosophy (Rawls, 2007) – with its actual ambitions and conditions of achievability (Hall, 2015; Galston, 2010).


political philosophy; normativity; interpretation; judgement; injustice

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