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Croatian Journal of Philosophy

Volume 19, Issue 3, 2019

Nenad Miščević
Pages 583-596

Constructing a Happy City-State
In Memoriam Heda Festini

The paper honors Heda Festini; it’s first part contains author’s personal memories of Heda. The central part of the paper addresses a favorite author of Heda Festini, Franjo Petrić, and his Utopia The Happy City-State. It then places the utopian construction on the map of contemporary understanding of political theorizing. Utopias, like the one due to Petrić, result from thought-experimenting; in contrast to purely epistemic thought-experiments they are geared to “guidance”, as Petrić puts it, namely advice giving and persuading. Political thought-experimenting can be understood to a large extent as work in ideal theorizing; a matter little noticed in the literature. Classical cases cover “ideal theory” in the sense of given, non-temporal arrangement; “ideal” either in a very limited sense of strict compliance (Rawls), or in a wider sense of normatively marked properties, not instantiated in actual political reality. Platonic tradition belongs to a third genus, “ideal” in the sense of recommended end-state; Utopias add to this theoretical quality the dimension of “guidance”, so that they are motivational, time-related ideal theories. The paper depicts these relations between thought-experimenting as a wider genus, and ideal theorizing as its prominent political-philosophical sub-species. The paper is thus a tribute to Heda Festini who helped me find my way to analytic theorizing, and help analytic philosophy to start serious institutional life in our native Croatia.

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