The Nature of Political Theory

The Nature of Political Theory

The Nature of Political Theory

365 Pages ·2007·2.6 MB ·English

The Nature of Political Theory

THE NATURE OF POLITICAL THEORY This page intentionally left blank The Nature of Political Theory


ANDREW VINCENT


1 3


GreatClarendonStreet,Oxfordox26dp


OxfordUniversityPressisadepartmentoftheUniversityofOxford.


ItfurtherstheUniversity’sobjectiveofexcellenceinresearch,scholarship,


andeducationbypublishingworldwidein


Oxford NewYork


Auckland Bangkok BuenosAires CapeTown Chennai


DaresSalaam Delhi HongKong Istanbul Karachi Kolkata


KualaLumpur Madrid Melbourne MexicoCity Mumbai Nairobi


SãoPaulo Shanghai Taipei Tokyo Toronto


OxfordisaregisteredtrademarkofOxfordUniversityPress


intheUKandincertainothercountries


PublishedintheUnitedStates


byOxfordUniversityPressInc.,NewYork


©AndrewVincent,2004


Themoralrightsoftheauthorhavebeenasserted


DatabaserightOxfordUniversityPress(maker)


Firstpublished2004


Firstpublishedinpaperback2007


Allrightsreserved.Nopartofthispublicationmaybereproduced,


storedinaretrievalsystem,ortransmitted,inanyformorbyanymeans,


withoutthepriorpermissioninwritingofOxfordUniversityPress,


orasexpresslypermittedbylaw,orundertermsagreedwiththeappropriate


reprographicsrightsorganization.Enquiriesconcerningreproduction


outsidethescopeoftheaboveshouldbesenttotheRightsDepartment,


OxfordUniversityPress,attheaddressabove


Youmustnotcirculatethisbookinanyotherbindingorcover


andyoumustimposethissameconditiononanyacquirer


BritishLibraryCataloguinginPublicationData


Dataavailable


LibraryofCongressCataloginginPublicationData


Dataavailable


ISBN 978-0-19-927125-2(Hbk.) 978-0-19-929795-5(Pbk).


TypesetbySPIPublisherServices,Pondicherry,India


PrintedinGreatBritain


onacid-freepaperby


BiddlesLtd.,King’sLynn,Norfolk Preface


Theoriginalideaforthisbookstartedlifesometenyearsago. Attheoutset, itwas


envisagedasashorttext,butsubsequentlyitappearedvirtuallytotakeonalifeofits


own.TheinitialseriousresearchbeganduringatwoyearfellowshipintheResearch


SchooloftheSocialSciencesattheAustralianNationalUniversity,between1994and


1996.MythanksgototheResearchSchool,andparticularlytoBarryHindess,who


then headed the politics section. I am sure Barry’s perspective will differ markedly


from my own; nonetheless, his independent critical thinking and open, friendly


supportweregreatstimulitomyinitialreflectionsonthiswholeissue.Whilstinthe


ResearchSchoolIranaseminarseriesoverayear, onthetheme‘WhitherPolitical


Theory?’ManyofthepaperswerelaterpublishedinaneditedvolumeentitledPolitical


Theory: Tradition and Diversity (1997): however, the seminars themselves were an


additionalimpetustothinkingmoredeeplyaboutthewholeissueoftheory.Inmany


waystheserieswas, inpart, aprefacetothepresentstudy. Mythanksgotoallthe


participantsinthatseminarprogramme.


After my research period in Australia, I found myself involved in a process


of detailed administrative work at Cardiff University which slowed my research


momentum. I sought solace in some easier writing projects. But the ideas for the


presentworkkeptuptheirownpeculiarunderlyingintellectualmomentum.Between


2000and2001, Iwasfortunatetobeofferedasabbaticalresearchfellowshipinthe


Humanities Research Centre in the Australian National University, Canberra. My


thanksalsogoheretomyoldUniversityinCardiffforthisperiodofresearchleave,


whichallowedmetimenotonlytofinishanotherprojectonnationalism, butalso


to return to the present topic under the excellent writing conditions provided by


the Centre—I was thus able to complete a large proportion of the present book.


It also enabled me to meet up again with old friends and colleagues in Canberra.


I am especially grateful to the then Director of the Humanities Research Centre,


IainMcCalmanandCarolineTurner(DeputyDirector)forprovidingsuchfirstclass


friendlyandsupportiveconditions.


In2001,IjoinedthepoliticsdepartmentatSheffieldUniversityandhavemanaged


overmyfirstcoupleofyearstocompletethepresentbookinthemidstofnewteach-


ingandadministrativeresponsibilities.Mythanksgotothepoliticaltheorygroupin


thedepartment—thatis,MikeKenny,MatthewFestenstein,AndrewGamble,James


Meadowcroft, and Duncan Kelly—for enjoyable political theory conversation and


encouragement.Overthelastdecade,andmore,duringwhichIhavethoughtintens-


ivelyaboutpoliticaltheory,Ihaveincurredinnumerableintellectualdebts.Therehave


beensomanyinterestingconversationsfromwhichIhavelearnttoseepoliticaltheory


issuesinanewlight.Mythanksgoto(tonamebutafew)EdAndrew,DavidBoucher,


BobBrown, MariaDimova-Cookson, MichaelFreeden, MauriceGoldsmith, Knud vi Preface


Haakonssen, DuncanIvison, BarryJones, RoyJones, RexMartin, PeterNicholson,


RaymondPlant,AndrewSharp,VickiSpencer,PeterSutch,andDavidWest.Ihave


alsobeenveryfortunate,inthefinalstagesofcompletingthemanuscript,tohavehad


suchagoodeditorinDominicByattatOxfordUniversityPress.


Myfamilyhaveprovidedvitalcompanionshipduringthiswholeperiod.Mywife


Mary, my children Lisa, Sara, Jason, and Rachael, and their respective spouses


Stephane, Steve, and Rebekah, my amazing grandchildren Josie, Carla, Laura, and


ChloeandmyvaluedfriendDiana,haveallsustainedandnourishedmeintheirown


uniqueways.


AndrewVincent


SheffieldUniversity Contents


1 AnEclecticSubject 1


Foundations 3


TheoryandPolitics 7


PatternoftheBook 10


PART ONE 17


2 WeHaveaFirmFoundation 19


ClassicalNormativePoliticalTheory 19


InstitutionalPoliticalTheory 28


HistoricalPoliticalTheory 37


EmpiricalPoliticalTheory 51


IdeologicalPoliticalTheory 65


Conclusion 73


PART TWO 81


3 FoundationsShakenbutNotStirred 83


LogicalPositivism 84


OrdinaryLanguage 88


ADigressiononDeathandPutrefaction 91


WittgensteinandEssentialContestability 95


AReckoningwithEssentialContestability 100


Conclusion 104


4 BleachedFoundations 108


TheConceptofJustice 109


ConceptionsofJustice 111


ProceduralTheories 113


SocialJustice:DesertandNon-Desert 115


JusticeandMutualAdvantage 118


JusticeandUtility 120


JusticeasImpartiality 124


SexualJustice 127


SpheresofJustice 130


Conclusion 132 viii Contents


PART THREE 139


5 ShoringUpFoundations 141


Conventions 143


OakeshottandConventionalism 145


Communitarianism 154


PoliticalLiberalism 162


Conclusion 167


6 NewConventionsforOld 171


Nationalism 171


Neo-Aristotelianism 177


Republicanism 187


Conclusion 200


PART FOUR 205


7 SegmentedFoundationsandPluralism 207


AWordaboutPluralism 209


LiberalPluralism 211


MulticulturalPluralism 215


DifferencePluralism 219


Conclusion 226


8 StandingProblems 232


NietzscheandtheTwilightoftheIdols 233


HeideggerandHumanism 239


DerridaandFoucault 242


RortyandConnolly 250


LyotardandtheDifferend 253


Conclusion 257


PART FIVE 269


9 DialogicFoundations 271


ThePhilosophicalContext 272


CriticalTheory 275


CriticalTheoryFulfilled 278


PositivismandKnowledgeSpheres 280


TheCritiqueofFoundationalismandtheSubject 282


UniversalPragmaticsandFallibilism 285


DiscourseEthicsandDeliberativeDemocracy 288


Conclusion 290 Contents ix


10 CircularFoundations 294


TheHermeneuticContext 296


Language,History,andPrejudice 297


EnlightenmentandPositivism 301


DialogueandFusion 303


EthicsandPolitics 306


ADialogicConflict 310


Conclusion 315


Conclusion 319


Bibliography 327


Index 345


THE NATURE OF POLITICAL THEORY This page intentionally left blank The Nature of Political Theory


ANDREW VINCENT


1 3


GreatClarendonStreet,Oxfordox26dp


OxfordUniversityPressisadepartmentoftheUniversityofOxford.


ItfurtherstheUniversity’sobjectiveofexcellenceinresearch,scholarship,


andeducationbypublishingworldwidein


Oxford NewYork


Auckland Bangkok BuenosAires CapeTown Chennai


DaresSalaam Delhi HongKong Istanbul Karachi Kolkata


KualaLumpur Madrid Melbourne MexicoCity Mumbai Nairobi


SãoPaulo Shanghai Taipei Tokyo Toronto


OxfordisaregisteredtrademarkofOxfordUniversityPress


intheUKandincertainothercountries


PublishedintheUnitedStates


byOxfordUniversityPressInc.,NewYork


©AndrewVincent,2004


Themoralrightsoftheauthorhavebeenasserted


DatabaserightOxfordUniversityPress(maker)


Firstpublished2004


Firstpublishedinpaperback2007


Allrightsreserved.Nopartofthispublicationmaybereproduced,


storedinaretrievalsystem,ortransmitted,inanyformorbyanymeans,


withoutthepriorpermissioninwritingofOxfordUniversityPress,


orasexpresslypermittedbylaw,orundertermsagreedwiththeappropriate


reprographicsrightsorganization.Enquiriesconcerningreproduction


outsidethescopeoftheaboveshouldbesenttotheRightsDepartment,


OxfordUniversityPress,attheaddressabove


Youmustnotcirculatethisbookinanyotherbindingorcover


andyoumustimposethissameconditiononanyacquirer


BritishLibraryCataloguinginPublicationData


Dataavailable


LibraryofCongressCataloginginPublicationData


Dataavailable


ISBN 978-0-19-927125-2(Hbk.) 978-0-19-929795-5(Pbk).


TypesetbySPIPublisherServices,Pondicherry,India


PrintedinGreatBritain


onacid-freepaperby


BiddlesLtd.,King’sLynn,Norfolk Preface


Theoriginalideaforthisbookstartedlifesometenyearsago. Attheoutset, itwas


envisagedasashorttext,butsubsequentlyitappearedvirtuallytotakeonalifeofits


own.TheinitialseriousresearchbeganduringatwoyearfellowshipintheResearch


SchooloftheSocialSciencesattheAustralianNationalUniversity,between1994and


1996.MythanksgototheResearchSchool,andparticularlytoBarryHindess,who


then headed the politics section. I am sure Barry’s perspective will differ markedly


from my own; nonetheless, his independent critical thinking and open, friendly


supportweregreatstimulitomyinitialreflectionsonthiswholeissue.Whilstinthe


ResearchSchoolIranaseminarseriesoverayear, onthetheme‘WhitherPolitical


Theory?’ManyofthepaperswerelaterpublishedinaneditedvolumeentitledPolitical


Theory: Tradition and Diversity (1997): however, the seminars themselves were an


additionalimpetustothinkingmoredeeplyaboutthewholeissueoftheory.Inmany


waystheserieswas, inpart, aprefacetothepresentstudy. Mythanksgotoallthe


participantsinthatseminarprogramme.


After my research period in Australia, I found myself involved in a process


of detailed administrative work at Cardiff University which slowed my research


momentum. I sought solace in some easier writing projects. But the ideas for the


presentworkkeptuptheirownpeculiarunderlyingintellectualmomentum.Between


2000and2001, Iwasfortunatetobeofferedasabbaticalresearchfellowshipinthe


Humanities Research Centre in the Australian National University, Canberra. My


thanksalsogoheretomyoldUniversityinCardiffforthisperiodofresearchleave,


whichallowedmetimenotonlytofinishanotherprojectonnationalism, butalso


to return to the present topic under the excellent writing conditions provided by


the Centre—I was thus able to complete a large proportion of the present book.


It also enabled me to meet up again with old friends and colleagues in Canberra.


I am especially grateful to the then Director of the Humanities Research Centre,


IainMcCalmanandCarolineTurner(DeputyDirector)forprovidingsuchfirstclass


friendlyandsupportiveconditions.


In2001,IjoinedthepoliticsdepartmentatSheffieldUniversityandhavemanaged


overmyfirstcoupleofyearstocompletethepresentbookinthemidstofnewteach-


ingandadministrativeresponsibilities.Mythanksgotothepoliticaltheorygroupin


thedepartment—thatis,MikeKenny,MatthewFestenstein,AndrewGamble,James


Meadowcroft, and Duncan Kelly—for enjoyable political theory conversation and


encouragement.Overthelastdecade,andmore,duringwhichIhavethoughtintens-


ivelyaboutpoliticaltheory,Ihaveincurredinnumerableintellectualdebts.Therehave


beensomanyinterestingconversationsfromwhichIhavelearnttoseepoliticaltheory


issuesinanewlight.Mythanksgoto(tonamebutafew)EdAndrew,DavidBoucher,


BobBrown, MariaDimova-Cookson, MichaelFreeden, MauriceGoldsmith, Knud vi Preface


Haakonssen, DuncanIvison, BarryJones, RoyJones, RexMartin, PeterNicholson,


RaymondPlant,AndrewSharp,VickiSpencer,PeterSutch,andDavidWest.Ihave


alsobeenveryfortunate,inthefinalstagesofcompletingthemanuscript,tohavehad


suchagoodeditorinDominicByattatOxfordUniversityPress.


Myfamilyhaveprovidedvitalcompanionshipduringthiswholeperiod.Mywife


Mary, my children Lisa, Sara, Jason, and Rachael, and their respective spouses


Stephane, Steve, and Rebekah, my amazing grandchildren Josie, Carla, Laura, and


ChloeandmyvaluedfriendDiana,haveallsustainedandnourishedmeintheirown


uniqueways.


AndrewVincent


SheffieldUniversity Contents


1 AnEclecticSubject 1


Foundations 3


TheoryandPolitics 7


PatternoftheBook 10


PART ONE 17


2 WeHaveaFirmFoundation 19


ClassicalNormativePoliticalTheory 19


InstitutionalPoliticalTheory 28


HistoricalPoliticalTheory 37


EmpiricalPoliticalTheory 51


IdeologicalPoliticalTheory 65


Conclusion 73


PART TWO 81


3 FoundationsShakenbutNotStirred 83


LogicalPositivism 84


OrdinaryLanguage 88


ADigressiononDeathandPutrefaction 91


WittgensteinandEssentialContestability 95


AReckoningwithEssentialContestability 100


Conclusion 104


4 BleachedFoundations 108


TheConceptofJustice 109


ConceptionsofJustice 111


ProceduralTheories 113


SocialJustice:DesertandNon-Desert 115


JusticeandMutualAdvantage 118


JusticeandUtility 120


JusticeasImpartiality 124


SexualJustice 127


SpheresofJustice 130


Conclusion 132 viii Contents


PART THREE 139


5 ShoringUpFoundations 141


Conventions 143


OakeshottandConventionalism 145


Communitarianism 154


PoliticalLiberalism 162


Conclusion 167


6 NewConventionsforOld 171


Nationalism 171


Neo-Aristotelianism 177


Republicanism 187


Conclusion 200


PART FOUR 205


7 SegmentedFoundationsandPluralism 207


AWordaboutPluralism 209


LiberalPluralism 211


MulticulturalPluralism 215


DifferencePluralism 219


Conclusion 226


8 StandingProblems 232


NietzscheandtheTwilightoftheIdols 233


HeideggerandHumanism 239


DerridaandFoucault 242


RortyandConnolly 250


LyotardandtheDifferend 253


Conclusion 257


PART FIVE 269


9 DialogicFoundations 271


ThePhilosophicalContext 272


CriticalTheory 275


CriticalTheoryFulfilled 278


PositivismandKnowledgeSpheres 280


TheCritiqueofFoundationalismandtheSubject 282


UniversalPragmaticsandFallibilism 285


DiscourseEthicsandDeliberativeDemocracy 288


Conclusion 290 Contents ix


10 CircularFoundations 294


TheHermeneuticContext 296


Language,History,andPrejudice 297


EnlightenmentandPositivism 301


DialogueandFusion 303


EthicsandPolitics 306


ADialogicConflict 310


Conclusion 315


Conclusion 319


Bibliography 327


Index 345


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