Copyright © University of Notre Dame 2017. 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.
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