The Political Realism of Bernard Williams: A Critical Examination

  • Author / Creator
    Ollenberger, Adam L
  • In this essay, I present a reading of one of Bernard Williams's late political essays, "Realism and Moralism in Political Theory." Using the work of John Rawls as a foil, I articulate what I take to be distinctive in Williams's approach to political realism, focusing on his account of legitimacy, his emphasis on the role of history in making sense of politics, and the way political theory relates to political contestation. After presenting my reading of the essay as a whole, I focus on one aspect of his account of legitimacy, problematizing both how we should understand his account of legitimacy and how it would function in political practice. I conclude by posing some questions about Williams's realism for further development.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2012
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.