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Republics of Conversation

Political Theory
Knowledge
Normative Theory
TS05

Room: General

Wednesday 09:30 - 10:45 (29/07/2020)


Abstract

Instructor: Sophie Grace Chappell, Open University Abstract: I explore the ways in which Plato experiments with an aspiration that I think is central for him: the aspiration to find a form of normatively governed talk such that its content will be completely governed by its form, and its content will be uniquely and universally rational. This aspiration is of course hopelessly over-ambitious. But its various failures in Plato’s oeuvre are exegetically important and philosophically instructive. Moreover something like the same aspiration remains in a key requirement on civic political discourse: the requirement that civic discourse be civil discourse, not violent or coercive or threatening or otherwise subversive of our rational autonomy. And so we get from the unattainable ideal of Plato’s Republic, a uniquely rational state of affairs that we are supposed to attain by a sort of coercive rationality, to the ideal of any of a multiplicity of possible conversational republics. And this latter, I argue, is both attainable, and the right political ideal for modern liberal humanists. Core Text: Text to be provided in Teams. Please note that this is work in progress. Further Reading – taking a general overview of: Plato, Republic (particularly Books 1, 6 and 7) Nozick, R., Anarchy, State, & Utopia (particularly the opening chapter) Rawls, J., Political Liberalism (particularly the opening chapter)