The concept of parresia in the History of political and juridical thought
Reading Group of the Doctoral School in Philosophy and Human Sciences
The concept of parresia in the History of political and juridical thought: some implications and consequences of the freedom of speech in Classical Athens
Conveners: Roberta Bonanno, Tommaso Longo
Committed: Simona Azzan , Sonia Rezzonico
A) Freedom of proposing arguments and, in general, ideas and thoughts in an autonomous manner against the traditional moral or political values of a certain society, by which it is possible to contest and evaluate the democratic institutions and even the fundaments of the Athenian democracy.
B) The philosophical (e. g. what is a value from a philosophical point of view?) and political dimensions (e.g. what is a value from a political point of view?) are by no means deeply interconnected. Thus, their relationship and possible links have to be further investigated and assessed. Furthermore, there are several argumentations in multifold ancient Greek philosophical sources aiming to verify whether what is supposed to be a value turns out to be ultimately such from a philosophical point of view.
C) The philosophical activity as a way by which it is possible to criticize the democracy: is there a link between the philosophical research as such and the freedom of speech, which takes place in the Athenian democracy?
Does the democracy contain in itself elements, which causes it to self-destruction? If so, what is the process leading to such a situation?
E) The parresia as a critical attitude towards the nomoi. What is the specific role played by parresia in the political and juridical debate peculiar to the Athenian historical context?
F) In general, to analyze and assess the possible connections between the concept of parresia with both the written and unwritten laws as a product of reasoning (logos) and a dialectical exchange among human beings in an institutional context.
H) To examine whether and to what extent a democratic society can tolerate divergent opinions expressed by the citizens (politai). Furthermore, it is worth asking if there is the possibility for the citizens of committing themselves into opinions or actions that are divergent in respect to the government.
Our reading group aims to analyze and assess ancient sources from both a historical and philosophical perspective. Likewise, it is useful to ask ourselves if and to what extent several argumentations put forward by ancient authors could be still regarded as interesting and intellectually stimulating.
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M.I. Finley, Democracy ancient and modern, Mason Welch Gross Lectureship Series, 1985.
M. Foucault, Discourse and Truth: the Problematization of Parrhesia, Berkley University Press, 1983.
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