The value of genealogies for political philosophy

Janosch Prinz*, Paul Raekstad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Web of Science)


Genealogies are an increasingly important part of contemporary political philosophy. However, even recent genealogies differ a great deal in terms of their ends and methods. Strikingly, this has received virtually no discussion in the literature. This article begins to fill that gap. It does so by comparing and contrasting the genealogies of Bernard Williams, Quentin Skinner, and Raymond Geuss, exploring their different goals, methods, and value for political philosophy. This helps us better understand these different kinds of genealogy in their own right; shows the distinct value of each of these different kinds of genealogy to political philosophy; and enables political philosophers to better be able to select the kind of genealogical investigation most relevant to their interests and to employ the correct kind of genealogy better as a result.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalInquiry-an Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 May 2020


  • Bernard Williams
  • Genealogy
  • Quentin Skinner
  • Raymond Geuss
  • ideology critique
  • political philosophy

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