Bridging Classical Pragmatism and Classical Realism
: A Critical Evaluation of the Potential for Dialogue between Hans J. Morgenthau, Reinhold Niebuhr, and John Dewey

  • Alastair D Emmett

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This thesis addresses the need to extend the depth and scope of Realism as a normative theory in International Relations by means of a dialogue between the Pragmatism of John Dewey and the tragedian approaches of Hans J. Morgenthau and Reinhold Niebuhr. The research investigates the degree to which John Dewey’s understanding of the metra of things offers an alternative perspective of the tragic nature of world politics, i.e. those measures of life which in tragedy is used to illustrate the limitations and insufficiencies of the self. Through the employment of the hermeneutic notion of a “fusion of horizons” our dialogue produces a “tragic Deweyanism” which not only assimilates many metra-driven insights of Morgenthau and Niebuhr but also advances an international political thought that stresses the value of pooling insights through inclusive inquiry on a global scale.
Date of Award23 Jun 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorTorsten Michel (Supervisor) & Yongjin Zhang (Supervisor)

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