Which kind of methodology should political philosophy endorse to jointly meet its theoretical and practical commitments? Virtuous Imbalance: Political Philosophy between Desirability and Feasibility assesses three paradigmatic cases to explore and explain political philosophy's attempts to answer this important question. Rawls's realistic utopianism, Machiavelli's realism, and Plato's utopianism are examined and explored as Francesca Pasquali presents the proper methodology political philosophy should endorse when attempting to attain equilibrium between the practical and the theoretical. These models are investigated with reference to desirability and feasibility; the former concerning the adequacy of normative principles, the latter the practical possibility of enacting them. Both realism and utopianism are shown to perform important and relevant functions with utopianism providing the criteria for judging political practices and realism developing principles for orienting political actors' conduct. An innovative version of realistic utopianism develops, avoiding the shortfalls detected in previous formulations whilst presenting a methodological strategy that enables political philosophy to play a proper public role, without dismissing theoretical concerns.
'The question of the relationship between theory and practice lies at the heart of political philosophy. In this thoughtful and stimulating book, which should be of interest to all political philosophers, Francesca Pasquali argues that we should not seek to overcome the tension between desirability and feasibility, but instead embrace and continuously negotiate it through a revised conception of realistic utopianism.' John Horton, Keele University, UK
Contents: Introductory notes; Political philosophy: different attitudes and methodologies; Realistic utopianism. The case of John Rawls; Realism. The case of Machiavelli; Utopianism. The case of Plato; Theoretical adequacy and practical relevance. Why political philosophy should be philosophical; Two practical functions for political philosophy; Bibliography; Index.