Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Deranged Democracy Part I: The Philosophical and Historical Roots of our Crazy Politics


Price for Members: $70
Price for Non-Members: $105
Date/Time:Tuesdays  August 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30  10:00 – 12:00
Instructor: David Peritz, Ph.D. Politics, Oxford University
Location: ONLINE

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Course Description

Democracy seems to rely on the rationality of the citizens whose votes form and guide governments, but how then to explain or cope with the growing irrationality of contemporary politics? Why did democratic philosophers and revolutionaries place such faith in the people when modern democracy took shape? This is a two-part course. In the first part, Dr. Peritz will survey political and philosophical history to try to help us understand the Age of the Enlightenment’s faith in human reason and goodness, the political experiments rooted in these views, and reactions to them. With this historical perspective in place, he will turn, in part two (this fall, to recent research in cognitive science and philosophy that make it hard to sustain these democratic Enlightenment views. And that leads to a provocative question: Given the recent demotion of reason in our understanding of human nature, can modern democracy maintain its claims to legitimacy or be reformed to do so? Hard questions, OLLI learners. Tap into Dr. Peritz’s two part course to see if you can find some answers. Optimists and pessimists are both welcome to enroll. (ONLINE)


Additional information


David Peritz, Ph.D. Politics, Oxford University

Event Details

Date: 2022-08-02

Start time: 10:00 a.m.

End time: 12:00 p.m.



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