Young people with ambitions often want to lead politically successful lives that are also morally serious lives.  Is this possible?  Can we both do well and be good?  Or do the demands of political life, the needs of the community, and the dilemmas of leadership, make ordinary morality impossible for those who seek power and influence?

In this opening week to the Hertog Political Studies Program, led by Professors Benjamin and Jenna Storey, students will engage with these questions through a close reading of Plato’s Gorgias. They will reflect on the ethical dilemmas implied by the pursuit of power, in politics and other realms, and on how we should conduct ourselves in a world in which the demands of justice and the demands of political necessity often seem to conflict.

Images: Emanuel Benner, Hercules between Virtue and Vice, oil on canvas | Jean-Baptiste Regnault, Socrates Tears Alcibiades from the Embrace of Sensual Pleasure, oil on canvas, 1791

Faculty

Jenna Silber Storey

Jenna Silber Storey is a Lecturer in Political Philosophy in the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Furman University.  Her research and writing is focused on the relation of politics and theology in the work of Carl Schmitt and Pierre Manent.

Benjamin Storey

Benjamin Storey is Associate Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Furman University. His interests focus on the history of political philosophy. He is currently completing a book entitled The Restless Age:  Four French Thinkers on the Quest for Self-Understanding in an Unsettled Modernity.

Preview the Syllabus by Week/Session

Other Courses You Might Be Interested In

Foundations of Political Philosophy

Explore the differences between ancient and modern political philosophy, with a focus on texts by Aristotle and Machiavelli.

Foundations of Grand Strategy

Assess grand strategic theory and practice in Thucydides and Plutarch.

American Political Thought

Engage key texts that have helped shape the political idea – and political ideals – of America.

Nationalism & Liberal Democracy

Understand the rise of nationalism and the crisis of liberal democracy.

Traditions of Freedom

Study the intellectual roots of conservative thought, focusing on the works of Adam Smith and Edmund Burke.