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Enzo Rossi

Thanks a lot for this, Eric. Let me pick up on just two things for now.

1) You're right that 'small is beautiful' prefiguration is dangerous insofar as it can act as a sort of flypaper and distract radical actors from systemic change. Now it's true that prefiguration can be used to shape the organisation that will then take over society (those are indeed its origins), so that post-revolution we will not fall into tyranny etc. But yes, it can also degenerate (?) into a sort of Stoic "tend to your garden" sort of thing that may help preserve the status quo. Something to ponder.

2) I'm not against grand or systematic theory per se. I'm against technocratic theory, i.e. theory that makes prescriptions at the minute level, rather than letting the political chips fall where they may, as it were. So I think we don't disagree that much here.

Janosch Prinz

Thanks, Eric, you are raising some interesting questions.
I agree that realists should be fully open to the motivating force of ideas and grand theories.
Whether or not grand theorizing may be useful in either advancing ends or constituting purposes of a polity, is something realists might tend to consider ex-post.

And with regard to the benefits of systematicity, I wonder whether in order to assess what role it shall play in realist thought to introduce a distinction between the discriptive systemic ambition and a normative (comprehensive grounding, criteria for the whole sysem). Might one get some of the benefits of "systems" you mention without needing to rely on systemic grounding. That would strike me as compatible with realist concerns.

I would be keen to read more on this if you take it further.

Eric Schliesser

I am developing a paper, hopefully with Paul Raekstad, where to do this. I'd be delighted to send it to you for comments down the road!

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.


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