Abstract for Lecture 2.
Assuming that people do indeed have something resembling free will, how can we be free in a society, or as a society? That is the central question to be discussed in this second lecture. As we will see, this question has been answered in radically different ways through time. To some, such as the ancient Greeks, freedom required popular control over government. Others argued instead that individual liberties were best preserved by the rule of a wise elite, or by limiting state power as much as possible. In this lecture, we’ll discuss these different views, as well as examining how they were mobilized throughout history to defend or attack specific political institutions.
Short bio of the speaker:
Annelien de Dijn is a prize-winning author and historian. Her book Freedom: An Unruly History traces the different meanings of freedom from Herodotus to the present and was awarded with the 2021 PROSE Prize in Philosophy by the American Association of Publishers. She is also the author of French Political Thought from Montesquieu to Tocqueville, published with Cambridge University Press in 2008 and translated into Chinese by Sun Yat-sen University Press in 2018. She holds the Chair in Political History at Utrecht University.