Call for Papers: Plato on the Nature and Value of Political Community

Call for Papers: Plato on the Nature and Value of Political Community
19-20 September 2023, Balme Library, University of Ghana
Keynote Speaker: Professor Kofi Ackah (Ghana)

Plato’s political philosophy seems concerned principally with the citizens’ good and how citizens might act in a community in which the good of each is realized. This requires an understanding of Plato’s conception of human nature and the character of the political community in which human ends are served. These considerations lend themselves to broader questions on the relationship between the community and the individual, leadership, social and individual happiness, moral education, among others.

This conference will investigate the nature of Plato’s communities and interpersonal relationships between citizens. In this respect, we are interested in insights that may offer guidance on questions of leadership, community-building and the welfare of citizens. The conference is also interested in an inquiry into how Plato’s proposals compare with communitarian thought both in an African tradition and in Europe and North America, where it is regularly opposed to modern liberal thinking.

We particularly encourage topics on the following:

  • Plato’s sense of community;
  • Plato and political leadership;
  • Plato on moral education;
  • The individual and the state;
  • Happiness as a political ideal;
  • Friendship as a political idea;
  • Socratic pedagogy as preparation for democratic citizenship;
  • African reception of ancient political thought.

Confirmed Speakers

James Warren (Cambridge)
Frisbee Sheffield (Cambridge)
Stephen Peprah Oppong (Ghana/Cambridge)
Michael Okyere Asante (UESD, Somanya/Stellenbosch)

Paper submissions

The conference will be held both on-site and online. Papers will be given a 45-minute slot, consisting of a 30-minute presentation and a 15-minute Q&A. To submit a paper, please send an abstract of 500 words with the subject line “Plato conference 2023” to and by the deadline of June 30, 2023. We aim to send notifications of acceptance within two weeks of the deadline.

Optional events

September 20: Conference Dinner (venue to be communicated)
September 21: Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day, with visits to the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, the Independence Arch, and the National Museum of Ghana.
September 22: Trip to the Elmina Castle and Kakum National Park

This conference is part of a collaboration between Cambridge and Ghana, with funding from the Cambridge-Africa ALBORADA Research Fund and the A. G. Leventis Foundation. A small number of bursaries are available to postgraduates in universities in Africa. Please indicate in your submission if you would like to be considered for a bursary.