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and the public. All are invited to publicly advertised events. Past events can be
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Rachel Barney (University of Toronto)
The Ethics and Politics of Plato's "Noble Lie"
March 24th, 3:30-5pm,
email for details: email@example.com
April 14th, 3:30-5pm,
email for details: Tyke Nunez
The Noble Lie proposed by Plato for the Just City in Republic III has been much misunderstood.
Its agenda is twofold: to get the citizens of the City to see their society as a natural
entity, with themselves as all ‘family' and akin; and to get the Guardians in particular
to make class mobility, on which the justice of the City depends, a top priority.
Since the second is taken to depend on the first, the Lie passage amounts to an argument
(1) that the survival of a just community depends on the existence of social solidarity
between elite and mass, which allows for full class mobility and genuine meritocracy;
(2) that this solidarity in turn depends on an ideology of natural unity; and (3)
that such ideologies are always false. So the Lie really is a lie, but a necessary
one; as such it poses an awkward ethical problem for Plato and, if he is right, for
our own societies as well.
So-called ‘Leibniz shifts’ (in which the position of the universe, or its velocity,
is 'shifted' by some constant amount) have been at the center of the debate between
proponents of the relationist and absolutist conceptions of space since Samuel Clarke
introduced them in his correspondence with Leibniz in 1715–1716. Fast forward three
hundred years, and Leibniz shifts are still prominent in debates about the ontology
of spacetime, despite the vast difference in background physical theory between the
1700s and today. In this paper we use Leibniz shifts (and a close cousin introduced
by Kant himself, orientation shifts) to explore the structure of Kantian space. The
paper has three main tasks, along with a subsidiary one. First, we will show that
Kant’s commitments entail that Leibniz shifts do not represent genuinely distinct
possibilities. Second, we will elucidate what it is about the structure of Kantian
space that explains this. Third, we will explain why shifts in orientation represent
genuinely distinct possibilities, although Leibnizian static and dynamic shifts (of
position and velocity, respectively) do not. Finally, we will explore the consequences
of our argument for the mereological and modal structure of Kantian space.