Navigation, Education, and Democracy in Plato's Republic
"CUSP Core Connections"
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
In the Republic, Plato understands education less in terms of its goal—the state of having acquired knowledge—than in terms of getting to that goal: it is a turning of the soul, or, one may say, the navigation of the soul. In connection to this, a central question that Plato poses is the relation between this navigation and democracy. For Plato, democracy is that political order which rejects the idea that there exists any state of the soul that is better than any other. For this reason, democracy seems to make the navigation of the soul—education—impossible: there can be no navigation of the soul, if there is no state of the soul to which it should be navigated. This talk will discuss Plato’s understanding of this problem, and relate it to contemporary issues involving democracy and education.
Beau Shaw has a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Columbia University, and has taught Contemporary Civilization for a number of years. He specializes in 19th and 20th century European philosophy, and has published in such journals as Political Theory, Époche, and Philosophy Today.