The Role of the Unrealisable

A Study In Regulative Ideals

  • Dorothy¬†Emmet

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Dorothy Emmet
    Pages 1-9
  3. Dorothy Emmet
    Pages 10-17
  4. Dorothy Emmet
    Pages 61-76
  5. Dorothy Emmet
    Pages 93-108
  6. Dorothy Emmet
    Pages 109-122
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 123-134

About this book


There are certain ideals that can never be realised yet play an important role in our thinking, our morality, and our politics: they include the final comprehensive Truth, the General Will, the absolute Good, and certain religious ideals. Our attempts to get closer to them profoundly influence what we do, and our concern for them informs our criticism of what we reject. In politics, in particular, too many idealists are under the illusion that these ideals can be realised and if disillusioned about this they too easily turn to cynicism - which is equally mistaken. This book looks at the role of such ideals in our intellectual and moral lives and in our politics by taking Kant's concept of the Regulative Ideal, and in so doing develops the concept itself further. Other thinkers whose ideas are considered in relation to this range from Plato to Iris Murdoch.


amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) epistemology ethics history history of philosophy philosophy

Authors and affiliations

  • Dorothy¬†Emmet
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.University of ManchesterUK
  2. 2.Lucy Cavendish CollegeCambridgeUK
  3. 3.OxfordUK

Bibliographic information