By Richard Bourke, Raymond Geuss
From Plato to Max Weber, the try to comprehend political judgement took the shape of a fight to outline the connection among politics and morals. This publication through top overseas students within the fields of historical past, philosophy and politics restores the topic to a spot on the very centre of political concept and perform. when it presents a variety of views at the topic of useful cause, it additionally explores a sequence of comparable difficulties in philosophy and political inspiration, elevating basic questions about democracy, belief, the character of statesmanship, and the family members among old and political judgement. within the strategy, the amount reconsiders a few vintage debates in political idea – approximately equality, authority, accountability and beliefs – and provides new and unique remedies of key figures within the background of political notion, together with Thucydides, Montaigne, Locke, Smith, Burke and Marx.
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Additional resources for Political Judgement: Essays for John Dunn
This question has a singular importance for democracy, since all democracies by defi nition contain a demagogic component. Demagoguery is not a recipe for confusion in political decision-making – ‘it was Pericles, not Cleon, who fi rst bore this title’, as Weber reminds us. 29 But it is disposed to gratify the shortterm preferences of its audience, above all the moral dogmatism of popular prejudice. Modern demagoguery made possible the emergence of charismatic leadership driven by a single-minded moralising vocation.
I have mentioned one important way in which they diverge from our standard models of prediction, namely that they are what some philosophers call ‘reflexive’, that is they can have a potentially self-fulfilling or for that matter self-undermining property. I would now like to say something about political judgements in their evaluative aspect. The usual model that is used for classing or grading is one in which I have a set of fi xed standards and apply them to candidates for evaluation. 8 We assume that there are fi rm and fi xed criteria or standards for designating something a ‘Grade A’ apple: it has a certain size, colour, perhaps a certain degree of ripeness and freshness, it must lack certain disfigurations, etc.
We muster evidence that judgement does not come and go as rationality requires; in face of rational demands it proves remarkably sticky. And we argue that there is a case for resorting to the techniques of rhetoric in order to undo that stickiness and to give reason a chance. Rhetoric has a place in the private forum of deliberation, not just in the context of public debate; it can serve in a therapeutic as well as a strategic role. The thesis about judgement makes a break with the standard approach in which judgement is contrasted with perception.