From Plato to Brexit - Talk by A C Grayling

From Plato’s Republic to Brexit, Professor A C Grayling CBE certainly gave us a fascinating tour of political philosophy throughout the ages.

To start, he introduced us all to the different ways in which humans take control in a society through various examples (from angry chimpanzees to Justin Bieber) and how this can correspond to different forms of government like Timarchy and Democracy.

He gave us a thorough understanding of the struggle in Ancient Greece between the Aristos and the Demos, which gave rise to Plato writing The Republic. This struggle has transcended time and geography in terms of how we choose to allocate power, leading to the large variety in types of government that can be seen around the world.

Although in modern society the Demos appears to have won, after events such as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, some are now reconsidering. Grayling spoke critically of democracy; pointing out how humans have a tendency to worship famous people and act as a mob, which perhaps is not the best way to govern ourselves; he even used the term ‘ochlocracy’ (meaning ‘mob rule’) to describe the less attractive sides of ‘power to the people’.

What I enjoyed most however was getting to question Professor Grayling over the philosophies that dominate the current political sphere, especially those regarding Brexit, and whether or not it was really fair to say there was a mandate for Brexit when only 26% of the population voted to leave.

Getting to speak in person to a renowned philosopher was an experience I will not soon forget and so, on behalf of all the girls who attended, I would like to thank Mr Grayling for delivering such an entertaining and enlightening talk.

Sophie Wand, SFC