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Idaho State University to host Philosophy for the Public lecture series Dec. 1

November 29, 2016

POCATELLO – James Norris, adjunct instructor of philosophy at Idaho State University, will present “A Plato Paper: The Problem with Philosopher-Kings” at 6 p.m. Dec. 1 at the College Market in Pocatello.

His presentation is part of the Philosophy for the Public lecture series offered by the ISU Department of English and Philosophy.

Norris’s lecture will examine if people, as mere mortals, are able to determine if their leaders are worthy of their power. Using Plato's statement that there will be "no rest from trouble" so long as our kings are not also philosophers, Norris proposes a new faculty, “Dialectia,” which falls between the faculties of “noesis/episteme”  (intelligence/knowledge) and “dianoia”  (thinking). This suggestion is made in hopes of allowing mere mortals, who cannot be expected to achieve “noesis,” which even Socrates himself claimed not to have achieved, to be capable of judging if their potential philosopher-kings are worthy.

However, it is shown that the proposal is for naught, because it would appear that the faculties are themselves Forms, and therefore objects of noesis.  As a result, even in Plato's ideal republic, the people are required to "trust the politician."

The Philosophy for the Public lectures are free of charge and require no special or previous knowledge of philosophy. Community members are invited to attend and participate in question-and-answer sessions following the lectures. The goal, according to series organizer Nobel Ang, is “to introduce philosophical issues and philosophical works to the public in a way that is accessible yet intellectually rigorous, and to enable more people to appreciate the relevance of philosophy to their everyday human lived experience."

This event is free and open to the public. The College Market is located at 604 S. Eighth Ave. in Pocatello.

For more information, contact the Department of English and Philosophy at (208) 241-2478 or isu.edu/English.


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