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Lecture of prof. David M. Estlund

We invite you for lecture of prof. David M. Estlund from Brown University (USA):  Utopophobia: On the Limits (If Any) of Political Philosophy, which will be held on 23 th of June. 

David Estlund has been teaching moral and political philosophy at Brown since 1991. He previously taught at University of California, Irvine, and has spent fellowship years at the Program in Ethics at Harvard and at Australian National University. His research interests center around liberalism, justice, and especially democracy. He is editor of the collection, Democracy (Blackwell, 2002) and the author of Democratic Authority: A Philosophical Framework (Princeton, 2008). He is at work on a book to be called Utopophobia, on questions of realism and idealization in political philosophy.

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Utopophobia: On the Limits (If Any) of Political Philosophy

It may seem as though political philosophy is a practical enterprise, and certainly it is, in part. However, such questions as the nature of social justice are not guaranteed to provide practical guidance. One reason is that people may be too unlikely to comply with a fully just institutional order, in which case it may be wrong to construct one. This would not imply that people are unable to comply, which might refute the high standards—we are not required to do what we are unable to do. Rather, even for requirements people are able to meet, it might be very unlikely that they will meet them, in which case fully just institutions might not be an appropriate practical goal. In this book, I argue that this, even if it were true, would not refute such high standards of social justice. I explore the nature of social justice, though not its content, in light of this possibility that its requirements are high, pure, and unrealistic.