Between 18th and 20th May 2016, the Chair of Philosophy of Politics of the Institute of Political Science and International Relations hosted Professor Quentin Skinner of the University of Cambridge and Queen Mary University College London
Between 18th and 20th May 2016, the Chair of Philosophy of Politics of the Institute of Political Science and International Relations hosted Professor Quentin Skinner of the University of Cambridge and Queen Mary University College London.
On 19th May, Professor Skinner gave a public lecture entitled "A Genealogy of Liberty", which was held in the main lecture hall in the Collegium Novum. The honourable guest was introduced by Professor Bogdan Szlachta, the Head of the Chair of Philosophy of Politics and Dean of the Faculty of International and Political Studies. The debate was managed by Assistant Professor Dorota Pietrzyk-Reeves, director of the program "International Relations and Area Studies". Professor Skinner's lecture was the fifth one in the series called "IRAS Guest Lectures".
During the lecture Professor Skinner presented a typology of conceptions of freedom that developed in modern political thought. He devoted particular attention to the notion of freedom understood as absence of compulsion and the idea of freedom as self-realization. Professor discussed intellectual roots of what appears to be the currently dominant idea of two concepts of liberty (positive and negative). He stressed the importance of republican thought for the forging of the concept of freedom as the absence of the subjugation of the arbitrary will, which goes beyond the traditional dichotomy of positive and negative freedom.
Nietzsche's words "it is only that which has no history which can be defined" were the banner for the genealogical method presented in the lecture. This method and its premises fit in with Professor Skinner's methodology of the history of political thought, avoiding substantializing political notions, and history of ideas done in the spirit of philosophia perennis.
The lecture attracted a number of people and was followed by a heated and inspiring discussion. Apart from numerous representatives of the community connected with the Faculty of International and Political Studies, especially students, the lecture was attended by guests from other faculties and universities, including the Faculty of Philosophy, the Faculty of Law and Administration, the Pedagogical University in Krakow and the Ingatianum Academy.
Professor Quentin Skinner is a renowned British scholar, professor emeritus of history at the University of Cambridge, honoured with the title of Henry Beaumont Professor of the Humanities at Queen Mary University College London. His research focuses on modern European political thought. He is the author of books on Niccolò Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes and the tradition of republicanism.
His principal publication The Foundations of Modern Political Thought is devoted to the broadly understood early modern political thought. Professor Skinner's area of academic research includes the relations between rhetoric and philosophy. Recently he has completed a book on Shakespeare. His input into the field of methodology of the history of ideas is tremendous. He co-founded the "Cambridge School" of the history of political thought, which is characterized by setting a high value on semantics and historical context.
Text by: Arkadiusz Górnisiewicz, Ph.D.