Pluralism and Pessimism: a Central Theme in the Political Thought of Stuart Hampshire

Peter Lassman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Stuart Hampshire's political thought is an important but often overlooked contribution to contemporary debates concerning the nature and permanence of Plural and conflicting values. In its combination of a pessimistic view of the limits of politics with a deep respect for pluralism and disagreement Hampshire's thought can be regarded as a significant version of 'the Liberalism of fear'. This is grounded in a belief that the inherited innocence of moral and political thinking has been undermined by our experience of the horrors of the twentieth century. Hampshire's response is to propose a minimal form of proceduralism that contrasts with Rawls's political liberalism. Hampshire offers a criticism of the moralism that characterizes Much modern political philosophy without advocating a stark realism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-335
Number of pages21
JournalHistory of Political Thought
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2009


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