Nellie Wallace Lectures 2022 (Tuesday - Week 8, TT22)

rachel barney utoronto philosophy

The biennial Nellie Wallace Lectures, which are shared between the Faculty of Classics and the Faculty of Philosophy, enable scholars from outside the University to visit Oxford in order to lecture and conduct seminars in a subject in the field of Literae Humaniores (that is, ancient philosophy, ancient history, and the Greek and Roman languages and literatures)

Nellie Wallace Lectures 2022

Prof Rachel Barney, University of Toronto

The Just Society and its Enemies, Rereading Plato’s Republic in 2022 

Since the publication of Karl Popper’s The Open Society and its Enemies in 1945, Plato’s political ideas in the Republic have generally been shunned with distaste. These lectures will make a case for the permanent value of the Republic as a work of political theory. While it has detailed and highly pertinent arguments to make about the requirements for a just society, it is a book not so much about justice or politics itself as about the preconditions for both: about the features of human nature and society which make the problem of injustice universal, urgent, and -- just barely -- solvable. 

Lecture Six: 'The Faces of Injustice'

Plato's political theory is most fully displayed in his typology of unjust regimes in Republic VIII-IX. Its dominant feature is the interplay between the structure of a state and the psychology of its political class. Plato's interweaving of psychology, sociology, and political history expresses not only his distinctive 'culture-first' theory of politics, but his conviction that the psychology of the individual cannot be fully understood apart from his society, or vice versa.

Those who are unable to attend in person are welcome to join remotely via MS Teams, by clicking this link. You will be redirected to a page in which you will be prompted to sign in with your Oxford SSO.