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date: 20 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Theories of international political morality are often criticized for being too ideal. In this chapter, I unpack and examine this “excessive idealism critique.” I distinguish between two versions of it: one targets the use of idealizations in international political theorizing, the other focuses on insensitivity to feasibility constraints. I argue that, in both cases, the excessive idealism critique is only partially successful. While the use of idealizations and lack of attention to feasibility constraints may be contingently problematic, often they are not. I reach this conclusion by discussing the excessive idealism critique in relation to theories of global justice, of global democracy, and of the just war.

Keywords: ideal theory, idealization, feasibility constraints, normative vs evaluative theories, global justice, global democracy, just war theory

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