Bernard Williams: Political Realism and the Limits of Legitimacy
Article first published online: 20 APR 2011
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
European Journal of Philosophy
How to Cite
Bavister-Gould, A. (2011), Bernard Williams: Political Realism and the Limits of Legitimacy. European Journal of Philosophy. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0378.2011.00464.x
- Article first published online: 20 APR 2011
Abstract: A central component of Bernard Williams' political realism is the articulation of a standard of legitimacy from within politics itself: LEG. This standard is presented as basic, inherent in all political orders and the best way to underwrite fundamental liberal principles particular to the modern state, including basic human rights. It does not require, according to Williams, a wider set of liberal values. In the following, I show that where Williams restricts LEG to generating only minimal political protections, seeking to isolate his account of political legitimacy from a range of liberal principles, this is neither internal to, nor necessarily demanded by, the specifically political account of LEG. Instead, the limitation depends upon his wider ethical thought.