The Public Intellectual in Classical Athens and Today
The evening will build on the success of previous London-based events organised by the Institute of Advanced Study; offering friends of the University and the wider Durham alumni network the opportunity to come together for what should prove to be a most stimulating and engaging social occasion.
In the radical democracy of ancient Athens, ordinary citizens could express their ideas publicly - and have an immediate effect on the politics, policies and philosophies of the day. Socrates stopped people in the street, asking them what they thought the good life was. Pericles delivered rousing speeches in the assembly, persuading his fellow citizens to vote for war, or tax increases, or exile for unwanted members of society. Playwrights put on stunning and challenging performances for the whole citizen body (including, perhaps, women and slaves). Ancient Athens set an important example for later democracies: this debate investigates its influence on our practices and aspirations today.
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