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The School of Athens (Credit: Raphael, 1509-1511)

“The story so far:
In the beginning the Universe was created.
This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.” (Adams, The Restaurant at The End of the Universe)

Whether the core was excavated from the bowels of the Earth 15 years ago or 500, the fact remains that Plato’s Republic is a timeless piece of philosophy that embodies the very essence of the discipline. It not only provokes a constant reinterpretation of our understandings and beliefs, but because the subject of the book is the human soul, a phenomenon unchanged from Socrates’ time despite changes in the environment, its relevance remains regardless of the epoch.

No matter how much thermodynamics likes to emphasise that time is the only constant, it cannot be denied that some times seem to change disproportionately to others. Athens isn’t the same mild-wintered, Mediterranean wonderland it was when Socrates frolicked in the streets: the tides are changing, and people must adapt to the urban heat island effect in the city centre if they want to survive. This is why, on noticing the general unrest in the student mind regarding Plato and the (long dead) old (white) man’s place in the twenty-first century, I felt perhaps it was time someone wrote a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Republic, to show what one can expect when opening this treasure-chest.  Here’s what my Guide has to say about the unbelievable things they talk about in the Republic:

Listen, Listen:

“In the next place, get yourself an adequate light somewhere; and look yourself — and call in your brother and Polemarchus and the others — whether we can somehow see where the justice might be and where the injustice…” (The Republic, 427d)

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HegelThe American Academy in Berlin is situated in Wannsee. It was established in 1994 in order to promote better understanding between the people of Germany and United States. Scholars and fellows are invited every year to the Hans Arnhold Centre of the American Academy to study, learn and give lectures on various issues that concern both countries. The building of the Academy faces a beautiful lake and, in being away from the hustle and bustle of the city, it provides the necessary peace of mind for intellectual activities.

On November 15th, the second-year BA students visited the American Academy for a seminar on Hegel. As part of the core course on Property, we dealt with excerpts from Hegel’s Elements of the Philosophy of Right. Students from ECLA of Bard were invited to attend a seminar led by the Associate Professor of Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University, Dean Moyar. The seminar discussion was based on Dean Moyar’s work on Hegel called Realizing Morality in Hegel’s Unified Account of Practical Rationality

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