Traditionally, political philosophies are often subject to the charge that they are "utopian." This can be interpreted to mean that abstract, idealized, unrealistic political theory is worthless since it, at best, has nothing to contribute to actual practice. Political philosopher David Estlund, Ph.D., aims to skeptically examine this narrow account of the value of intellectual work -- both as applied to political philosophy as well as applied to intellectual work in general. Even more generally, this dispute merits a look at the very nature of value and it"s alleged connection to practice.
Estlund is the Lombardo Family Professor of Humanities in the philosophy and political science departments at Brown University. He is one of the nation"s pre-eminent democratic theorists. In his book "Democratic Authority: A Philosophical Framework" (2008), he defends democracy"s good judgment -- its general tendency to make good decisions. Estlund edited the collections "Sex, Preference and Family" (with Martha Nussbaum, 1997) and "Democracy" (2001). He is presently editing the "Oxford Handbook in Political Philosophy" and writing a book about whether normative political theories must be realistic. Estlund received his bachelor"s, master"s and doctorate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.