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Philosophy

2014

Conference

John Rawls

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Realism As A Constraint On Fantasy, Jon Garthoff Mar 2014

Realism As A Constraint On Fantasy, Jon Garthoff

Arts and Letters Conference

In this essay I discuss how realism operates to constrain works of creative fantasy. Most of the discussion concerns games, especially role-playing games, that take place in a fantasy milieu. I also discuss the role of realism in utopian political philosophy, however, including in particular John Rawls's conception of political theory as a search for a "realistic utopia". Realism plays a surprisingly similar role limiting and informing the content of fantasies in these apparently unrelated domains; Rawls's understanding of realism as a limit on utopian thought illuminates how realism serves as a constraint on fantasy games. I close ...