Realism and Virtues in Ottoman Political Thought


This article presents a novel perspective, arguing for a virtue-based weak version of political realism in Ottoman political thought (OPT). By recognizing realist elements in human nature and politics in OPT tradition, we can gain a deeper understanding of the place of morality in politics. Challenging the common sense understanding of morality that pervades all areas of politics, this paper provides compelling evidence to show how the understanding of the nature of politics in OPT was ever-changing, singular, and, to a certain extent, free of morality. This unique framing of politics and human nature in the OPT tradition makes it a realist one. Finally, I delve into the role of universals in explaining the intricate relationship between politics and morality through various analytical distinctions.


Virtue ethics political realism Ottoman political thought universals and particulars ethics first principle comparative political theory.