Norman Finkelstein: What Would Plato Say About the 2016 Presidential Election?

Featured Event
Wednesday, October 19, 2016 7:00 pm – 8:45 pm
Central Library, Room 216

norman2“What Would Plato Say?” is a free eight-week class that examines the 2016 presidential election through the lens of Plato’s Republic. This course is taught by Norman Finkelstein.

Students are expected to attend all eight classes

Course Description

The current presidential election has posed timeless political questions in stark form. Bernie Sanders said that, although Hillary Clinton might be competent and experienced, those qualities weren’t sufficient to lead a nation. A president also needed good judgment, which she demonstrably lacked.  Donald Trump is accused of being a demagogue who manipulates the base, animal passions of ordinary people. His candidacy calls into question democracy itself, if it can catapult into office a person manifestly unfit to be president. Plato’s Republic explores these questions and many more.

This course will consist of a close reading of Plato’s classic text, with an eye to its contemporary relevance. It will not be a lecture class but, instead, we will read, analyze and debate key passages in the Republic together.

Each student will receive a complimentary copy of the Penguin edition of Plato’s Republic, translated by Desmond Lee.

For more information and to register please contact Nick Higgins at 718.230.2745 or email nhiggins@bklynlibrary.org

Enrollment will not exceed 20 students.

Course Outline

  • Week 1 (Oct 19th). What is Justice?
  • Weeks 2-3 (Oct 26th, Nov 2nd). Why is Rule by Philosopher-Kings the Key to an Ideal State?
  • Weeks 4-5 (Nov 9th, Nov 16th). Learning to Love the Good: The Education of Philosopher-Kings
  • Weeks 6-7 (Nov 22nd*, Nov 30th). Plato’s Critique of Democracy
  • Week 8 (Dec 7th). Why is a Just Life Also the Best Life?

*The week of Thanksgiving class will meet on Tuesday the 22nd.

Age Group: Adults

Norman  Finkelstein received his doctorate in political theory in 1988 from the Princeton University Politics Department. He taught for two decades in the CUNY system, NYU and DePaul University (in Chicago). He has lectured on a broad range of subjects, and has written ten books that have been translated into more than 50 foreign editions. Finkelstein’s main fields of research and teaching are political theory, international law, and the Israel-Palestine conflict.



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