Classical Studies Program and Philosophy Program Present
Monday, September 23, 2019
The Play of Conspiracy in Plato’s Republic
Olin, Room 102
4:45 pm – 6:30 pm EDT/GMT-4
Does Plato’s Republic enact a conspiracy? Ostensibly, the impetus for imagining a political regime radically different from the democracy of the discussion is a desire to illustrate a concept (justice), not to overthrow a real political order. On second glance, the Republic takes place during the Peloponnesian War, when conspiratorial zeal consumed Athens. Fears of secret power and political instability erupt into and shape the stylistics of the narrative, provoking doubt about what the dialogue claims it is doing and proposing. Whether we are made privy to a conversation about a political world that may never exist or exposed to a strategy for discussing revolution undetected remains unresolved. The Republic invites a hermeneutics of suspicion, drawing us into a democratic culture of mistrust and the seductions of conspiratorial thinking. As it tropes conspiracy, the Republic provides a searching, immanent, and still-relevant critique of a democracy undergoing what we might today call authoritarian drift.
Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago
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Time: 4:45 pm – 6:30 pm EDT/GMT-4
Location: Olin, Room 102