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Tanner Lecture

Hélène Landemore (Yale)
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
4:00-6:00 PM
Rackham Auditorium Rackham Graduate School (Horace H.) Map
The 2024 Tanner Lecture will be given by Hélène Landemore - Yale University.

Title: “Truth and Love in Politics”
Abstract: In this lecture, I revisit the role of truth in (democratic) politics in relation to the concept of love. Contrary to Arendt (and Rawls following her), who believed that truth should be excluded from our political vocabulary as too dangerous and intolerant, I have previously argued that truth is the natural horizon of political deliberation among equals. It is a necessary concept, although it need not be seen in Platonic terms as one and immutable. Instead, it can be conceptualized as plural and partly evolving with the community that seeks it. I now refine that claim and further extend my critique of Arendt, Rawls, and much of contemporary political science. I recognize that not only does truth need to underpin political deliberations among equals, but it also requires the emergence and cultivation of a specific emotion among participants in the deliberation. I provide (qualitative) empirical evidence from my direct observation of two French citizens’ assemblies: the Citizens’ Convention for Climate and the Citizens’ Convention on End-of-Life Issues. In these assemblies, composed of randomly selected ordinary citizens who deliberated for extended periods on complex political issues, the deliberative process succeeded due in part to the emergence of a strong civic bond. This bond, which the citizens themselves identified and demonstrated as a form of love, was crucial. While love did not always prevail, it enabled the groups to overcome many challenges and deep disagreements over values and interests. It also facilitated the inclusion of minorities in ways that sheer majoritarianism could not. If this connection between truth and love is valid, it may partly explain why our post-truth political systems are generally dysfunctional and particularly susceptible to disinformation, lies, and fake news. It's not just the lack of proper deliberation in the system; it's also the absence of enough love to make proper deliberation possible in the first place.

Streaming Link:
Building: Rackham Graduate School (Horace H.)
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Philosophy, Politics
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Department of Philosophy