Published by the Center for the Study of The Great Ideas (founded in 1990 by Mortimer J. Adler and Max Weismann)
In association with the The Adler-Aquinas Institute and Aquinas School of Leadership
Member of the Alliance for Liberal Learning

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

ALI Conference Thursday Session 3 "The Foundations of Peace"

In this July 7th session from the 2016 Aquinas Leadership International conference in Huntington, New York, Session Chair Curtis L. Hancock, Rockhurst University, introduced Roberta Bayer, Patrick Henry College, who spoke on "Seeking a reasonable foundation for peace". Her brief summary is set forth below.

Video of the session is posted at Holy Apostles College and Seminary.

"Mortimer Adler’s How to Think about War and Peace is a fine example of Enlightenment political thought. The book addresses how it is that a world federation might, through the device of reasoning about law and constitutions, bring about world peace. He posits that government is the cause of peace, and so a world government is necessary to world peace. It is a thoughtful book, and he is careful to address opposing points of view, but he assumes that human beings will be able to reasonably agree as to what is good for mankind.

"While Adler is correct in pointing to the 'modern' idea of absolute sovereignty as adequate for world peace, various analysts of the post-Kantian, post-modern world would argue that a world federation is impossible. The weakness of the UN is the inevitable result of a lack of a universal agreement about meaning. I would like to address the problem of how diverse and complex is the problem of dialogue and agreement.

"To that end I will discuss Elie Kedourie’s book Nationalism which deals with the post-Enlightenment rejection of reason as the foundation of government, so to show the difficulties that our contemporaries face in achieving some congruence of vision as to the foundation of life together. I would discuss how nineteenth century theories of nationalism undermine constitutional sovereignty and law by making the unconscious side of human nature the central fact of human life, rather than reason, thus race and language come to be seen as the primary bond between people, rather than rational consent to law."

The previous session was a Panel Discussion, Mortimer Adler on War and Peace, see this earlier post.

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