What would it mean to design a society of participatory, collective problem-solving? One place to look is the often-misunderstood “first democracy” of the Athenians (509-330 BCE). We will explore the core principles that made this system work: filling offices by lottery, “civic tribes”, and a culture of critical thinking and learning by doing. How did the Athenian people create their democracy against the odds? What were its weak points? And what lessons for us today?
Readings to prepare:
- Josiah Ober (Stanford), “Epistemic Democracy in Classical Athens” (chapter)
This session of Critical Conversations will be held online on Zoom. A link will be sent out by email.
If you are interested in participating in Critical Conversations 2023–24: Redesigning Democracy, sign up here with our registration form at the bottom of the page.
Some details: Whether in France or America, debate is central to healthy democracy. Critical Conversations encourages both disagreement and agreement through thinking, talking, reading, and actively participating in community. Since the series’ inception in 2020, we have tackled race in America, the climate crisis, migration, and technology. Across seasons, participants have challenged themselves, their peers, and the world in which we live.
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About Critical Conversations: Whether in France or America, debate is central to healthy democracy. Critical Conversations encourages both disagreement and agreement through thinking, talking, reading, and actively participating in community. Since the series’ inception in 2020, we have tackled race in America, the climate crisis, and migration. Across seasons, participants have challenged themselves, their peers, and the world in which we live.
About the Critical Conversations 2023-24 leaders:
Prof. Lex Paulson is Executive Director of the UM6P School of Collective Intelligence (Morocco) and lectures in advocacy at Sciences Po-Paris. Trained in classics and community organizing, he served as mobilization strategist for the campaigns of Barack Obama in 2008 and Emmanuel Macron in 2017. He served as legislative counsel in the 111th U.S. Congress (2009-2011), organized on six U.S. presidential campaigns, and has worked to advance democratic innovation at the European Commission and in India, Tunisia, Egypt, Uganda, Senegal, Czech Republic and Ukraine. He is author of Cicero and the People’s Will: Philosophy and Power at the End of the Roman Republic, from Cambridge University Press, and is co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Collective Intelligence for Democracy and Governance.
Prof. Mark Klein is a Principal Research Scientist at the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, serves as a professor and Senior Scientific Advisor at the UM6P School of Collective Intelligence, and Chief Scientist at HiveWise Inc, a startup in the collective intelligence space. His research draws from such fields as artificial intelligence, social computing, economics, operations research, and complexity science to develop and evaluate computer technologies that enable greater ‘collective intelligence’ in large groups faced with complex decisions. He has over 180 publications in these areas, and has served on the editorial boards of many prominent journals and conferences related to AI and social computing.
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