What Now? Political Thought at a Moment of Crisis (Day One)

We are facing today extraordinary and unprecedented political challenges. To name the most pressing: an unchecked growth of the human population with its potential for large-scale migration, global displacement, and disruption; technological advances that are upending all our existing economic, political, and social arrangements; a merger of economic and political power that comes with a deepening gulf between the very rich and all others; the hollowing-out of democratic processes through the expanded capacity for digital surveillance, the accumulation and exploitation of large masses of data, manipulation of thought and disinformation; a rebalancing of political power across the globe accompanied by threats and counter-threats reliant on ever growing stockpiles of military hardware; and last but not least, a potential catastrophe for our natural, social, and human environment.

These developments call for sustained political thinking. The categories of traditional political thought seem no longer adequate for addressing the specific challenges of the 21st century. We must ask then: what now? What are the possibilities and requirements of political thought for this century?

Conference Program

Co-Sponsored by the UC Berkeley Department of Philosophy