Hannah Arendt and Reiner Schürmann Symposium in Political Philosophy: Tyrants, Kings, Emperors, and Philosophers. Day 2.

10:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.

 Hannah Arendt and Reiner Schürmann Symposium in Political Philosophy

Tyrants, Kings, Emperors, and Philosophers: Philosophy and Political Power in Antiquity

New School for Social Research, New York, May, 10-11 2013

55 West 13 St Room  I 202


May 11

10:00-11:30: Christoph Horn (University of Bonn), Individual Competence and Collective Deliberation in Aristotle’s Politics

Chair : Euree Song (Kyung Hee University, Seoul)


There can be no doubt that we find, in Aristotle’s Politics, many traces of the Platonic principle that political rule should be transferred to those individuals who are cognitively and morally outstanding or excellent. The idea behind this seems to be that insight (phronêsis) is the most important virtue of rulers, as Aristotle contends, e.g., in Politics III.4. On the other hand, we are told, especially in Politics III.11, that a bigger group of people is capable to arrive at an even better political judgment than an individual since they are able to combine their competences. In my talk, I will deal with the problem how these two seemingly antithetic principles may fit together. Where do we have to locate Aristotle: close to ‘expertocracy’ or close to ‘deliberative democracy’?

11:45-1:15: Gretchen Reydams-Schils (University of Notre Dame), Dion and Epictetus on how to speak the truth to power

 Chair : Simon Critchley (NSSR) 


In treatments of the how the Stoics of the Roman imperial era viewed participation in politics, the issue of the so-called opposition to imperial rule has received disproportionate attention.  But one cannot make sense of this stance unless one reintegrates it into the larger question of political responsibility in general.  Regarding the latter, the diverging positions of Epictetus and Dion of Prusa, who were both seen as influenced by Musonius Rufus, present an interesting dilemma.


3:00-4:30: Dominic O’Meara (University of Fribourg), Plato's Tyrant in Neoplatonic Philosophy

 Chair : Benoit Challand (NYU) 


The purpose of this paper is to examine the way in which the Platonists of Late Antiquity interpreted the figure of the tyrant, as they found this figure in Plato's works. I will discuss in particular the interpretation of the tyrant in Proclus' Commentary on Plato's Republic, but will also take into account other authors, notably Olympiodorus and Damascius. I wish also to raise the question as to the extent to which these Platonists, in speaking of Plato's tyrant, may be referring indirectly to the emperors of their time.

4:45-6:15: Final roundtable




Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, Arnhold Hall, 55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor

Free; no tickets or reservations required; seating is first-come first-served

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