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Rethinking the Ancients from a materialist perspective, this 8-week Online Course will meet on Wednesday evenings beginning September 16th at 6 PM EST with Michael Pelias (professor in Philosophy, LIU ). At the end of the Introduction to the Grundrisse, Marx writes that the Greek arts “still afford us artistic pleasure and that in a certain respect they count as a norm and unattainable model.” In this Historical spirit (Geist) we will engage the most broadly thematic text of Western philosophical thinking, Plato’s Republic (Politeia) through a parallel reading and encounter with Plato’s text from 380 B.C.E. with that of the French philosopher, Alain Badiou’s contemporary and re-imagined translation of the ancient text. The emphasis will be broadly on what themes (from epistemology to aesthetics) from classical antiquity can be rethought for the 21st century with an engagement with “democratic materialism” towards a new conception of the Good and critique of dominant common thinking beyond contemporary notions of social justice. A consistent and pressing question will also address what is philosophizing, what is the role of the philosopher in our world and what can be brought to bear on transformative and revolutionary thinking today.


The Republic, translated and an interpretative essay by Allan Bloom (Basic Books)

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The Republic, trans. by C.D.C. Reeve (Hackett)

Badiou, Alain. The Republic: A dialogue in 16 Chapters

The class will include a lecture to orient the readings and the various historical themes encountered therein followed by an open and interactive dialogue among the participants.

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Your Facilitator

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Michael Pelias

Michael Pelias has taught both ancient and modern philosophy at LIU Brooklyn for thirty years. He is the one of the founders and co-managing editor of the journal, Situations: Project of the Radical Imagination and of the Institute for the Radical Imagination, a Left pedagogical and research project . He also hosts a monthly radio program/podcast , Jazz Chronicles from New York city and his most recent essay is "The Greek Boat People: Exile and Creativity" and is working on a collaborative book project entitled , Techniques of Servitude. He also served over 26 years as an active militant in academic unions' fight for equal pay for equal work and protection of academic freedom.