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Why Theorize Modus Vivendi?

  • Fabian Wendt
Chapter

Abstract

There have been four main motives to introduce the notion of modus vivendi in the political-philosophical literature. One is to use it as a negative contrast to what one regards as the ideal goal in politics. The second is to use it within a distinctively realist political theory that refrains from advocating utopian ideals. The third is to defend liberal institutions as a modus vivendi. The fourth is to have a concept for the institutional tools for peace. Depending on the motive to introduce the notion of modus vivendi, the notion is conceptualized slightly differently. One aim of the chapter is to provide an overview of the different motives that have led theorists to think about modus vivendi and the different conceptualizations of modus vivendi they have offered. But the chapter also makes a more substantial point: it argues that we should conceptualize the notion of modus vivendi in line with the fourth motive, because this seems the most promising way to get a conception of modus vivendi that is both “deeply motivated” and “open” for all kinds of approaches in political theory.

Notes

Acknowledgments

I presented this chapter at the World Congress of Political Science in Poznań in July 2016. I thank all participants for the discussion, I thank John Horton for his helpful commentary in Poznań, and I thank John Horton, Matt Sleat, and Manon Westphal for helpful written comments.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chapman UniversityOrangeUSA

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