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William E. Connolly's politics of complexity: a critique

Fear, Christopher

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Abstract

In recent years, William E. Connolly has argued that the phenomenon of complexity in the physical sciences carries radical implications for political theory: namely, that political theorists should now be revising their concepts of agency, responsibility, and freedom. This very recent project of Connolly's has not (yet) attracted much opposition. Here I offer a critique of Connolly's argument which focuses on three key areas: (1) how he interprets and deploys “evidence” from physical science; (2) his theory of “creative freedom”; and (3) the impact that his recent philosophy has on the idea of the intellect. I argue that Connolly's scientific evidence is not what he claims it is; that the theory of “creative freedom” he offers fails; and that his critique of the intellect fails in theory, and would be highly damaging in practice.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2017
Journal The Review of Politics
Print ISSN 0034-6705
Electronic ISSN 1748-6858
Publisher University of Notre Dame
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 79
Issue 1
Pages 73-98
Institution Citation Fear, C. (2017). William E. Connolly's politics of complexity: a critique. Review of Politics, 79(1), 73-98. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0034670516000735
DOI https://doi.org/10.1017/s0034670516000735
Keywords Political Science and International Relations; Sociology and Political Science
Publisher URL https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/review-of-politics/article/william-e-connollys-politics-of-complexity-a-critique/EA1448AAB2BA4E355FCF3F06DA25F13B
Additional Information This article has been published in a revised form in Review of politics
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S003467051600073. This version is published under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND. No commercial re-distribution or re-use allowed. Derivative works cannot be distributed. © copyright holder.

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Copyright Statement
This article has been published in a revised form in Review of politics
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S003467051600073. This version is published under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND. No commercial re-distribution or re-use allowed. Derivative works cannot be distributed. © copyright holder.




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