IE School of Arts & Humanities Symposium Series, Winter Semester 2010

with Dr. Rolf Strøm-Olsen, Professor of Humanities 

Campus Details 

Symposium I:

Reading the Leviathan in the 21st Century: Hobbes and the dilemmas of Liberty, Freedom and the State

This Symposium centres around the founding work of social contract theory, Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan. Written in the climate of chaos and uncertainty that engulfed England during its Civil War, Hobbes’ Leviathan proposed a radical, if to modern eyes, rigid and overly authoritarian definition of the state. But the questions that animated Hobbes – the balance between individual freedom and state responsibility, between our physical and moral security – are again in focus. The expansion of state responsibilities and civil monitoring, the export of democracy to areas like Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Western response to the threat of Terror all implicate the kinds of questions that animated Hobbes 460 years ago.

This Symposium asks participants to engage these ideas from a Hobbesian perspective, based both on a selected reading from Leviathan, as well as the perspectives of scholars like Quentin Skinner and Jean Hampton.

To confirm your participation and to receive the readings, please send an email to ArtsHumanities@ie.edu, with the subject ‘Symposium.’ About the Symposium Series: 

This symposium series was created in the true tradition of liberal arts, which encourages roundtable discussions, the challenging of powerful institutions and most importantly the empowerment of students through knowledge.  In this symposium series, Professor Rolf Strøm-Olsen will lead discussions designed to stimulate out of the box ideas, and encourage students to become the protagonists of their education.  The IE School of Arts and Humanities’ goal is to educate our students by enhancing their individual capabilities, so that they may learn to embrace the complexity of the world around us. They will learn to analyse things broadly and in depth, to think critically, to pick out the essential from the trivial, to carry out empirical reasoning, to express themselves clearly and connect ideas together in a creative manner.  

About Rolf Strøm-Olsen: 

Rolf Strøm-Olsen received his doctorate in History from Northwester University and is a professor of Humanities at IE University.”


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