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The Australian National University

John Passmore Lecture: Changing Visions of an Egalitarian Society

The annual John Passmore Lecture took place on Tuesday the 2nd of August at the Innovations Theatre on the ANU campus. The 2016 John Passmore Lecture was given by Professor Elizabeth Anderson; Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, John Dewey Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan.

The letcure can be viewed through the Experience ANU Soundcloud account, alongside a diverse range of events and presentations that have taken place at the ANU.

Abstract:

How should a society of equals be organized?  Egalitarians themselves have been divided among three visions:  individualism, small-scale communalist or cooperativist systems, and large-scale collectivism.  I discuss why, during the 19th century, the dominant trend among egalitarians moved from individualist toward collectivist visions.  Economies of scale have played a large role in driving this trend.  However, the yearning for autonomy that lies at the root of the egalitarian impulse creates pressure in the other direction.  Far from settling on the communalist vision as the best compromise between the two, egalitarians today favor a mix of individualist and collectivist institutions.  This lecture will consider why this is so, and discuss some challenges posed by this mixture.

Lamartine in front of the Town Hall of Paris rejects the red flag on 25 February 1848 by Henri Felix Emmanuel Philippoteaux

Updated: 9 August 2016/ Responsible Officer:  Head of School / Page Contact:  Web Publisher