Abstract

In a world where politics is often associated with notions such as moral decay, frustration and disappointment, the feeling of betrayal, and of democracy in trouble, Kis examines theories about the morality of political action. Amending the two classical theses of realism and of indirect motivation in politics, Kis argues for a constrained thesis of realism and a wide thesis of indirect motivation. By these means the place of moral motivation and common deliberation can be identified, and political agents can be held morally accountable. The analysis refers to a broad range of classic and contemproary literature as well as to recent cases from international politics which call for moral judgment. The Appendix is dedicated to Václav Havel’s seminal essay on “The Power of the Powerless,” which sheds light on the diversity of approaches dissident intellectuals have taken to politics.