The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas

Erik Dempsey: Aristotle and the Foundations of American Liberalism

Lecture by Erik Dempsey, Post-Doctoral Fellow, UT Austin

Fri, October 1, 2010 | Mezes Hall, Room 1.306

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

How would Aristotle have understood the principles of American democracy?  Would he have seen them as an improvement upon his own political teaching, as a decline from it, or even as a political impossibility?  This talk considers these questions by discussing the political importance of virtue for Aristotle, as well as in two thinkers who anticipated some of the principles of American government: Aristotle's great interpreter, Marsilius of Padua, and his great critic, Thomas Hobbes.  I argue that a return to Aristotle's thought can help us to better understand how American society relies on pre-liberal traditions, and that by being aware of that, we can cultivate better practical political judgment.

Bookmark and Share