Rationalism and the Political Imaginary in Modern Political Philosophy

Political-philosophical theory was formed on the basis of rational principles, and  was set out to make practical achievements, the most important of which being organizing society and ensuring its safety, starting by addressing the issue of political legitimacy. That does not mean the imaginary was ruled out entirely as contrary to rationality; the political theory of modern political philosophers is by no means free of imaginaries and fictional suppositions. The rationalist political model was put forth after the formulation of political theory and its fulfillment in reality as if it were the sole model. On one hand, this is manifested in the dominance of ideology in its various forms; on the other, in a disdain for utopia and its exclusion from the scope of positivist rational thought. This paper aims to emphasize the importance of the political imaginary, by demonstrating the role of forms of the social imagination, especially ideology and utopia, in determining theory and directing political praxis, and to raise awareness of the present need for this imaginary.

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Political-philosophical theory was formed on the basis of rational principles, and  was set out to make practical achievements, the most important of which being organizing society and ensuring its safety, starting by addressing the issue of political legitimacy. That does not mean the imaginary was ruled out entirely as contrary to rationality; the political theory of modern political philosophers is by no means free of imaginaries and fictional suppositions. The rationalist political model was put forth after the formulation of political theory and its fulfillment in reality as if it were the sole model. On one hand, this is manifested in the dominance of ideology in its various forms; on the other, in a disdain for utopia and its exclusion from the scope of positivist rational thought. This paper aims to emphasize the importance of the political imaginary, by demonstrating the role of forms of the social imagination, especially ideology and utopia, in determining theory and directing political praxis, and to raise awareness of the present need for this imaginary.

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