Popular Sovereignty and Representative Democracy

Was Plato right after all when he remarked in ‘The Republic’ that the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavey rises out of the most extreme form of liberty.? For students of this political classic, contemporary events have never been so meaningful as Western democracies are going through a crisis of confidence in their social, political and financial élites. Popular sovereignty is being reclaimed throughout Europe by movements such as Indignados in Spain, Direct Democracy Now! in Greece or Nuit ...

Philosophers on Work

Philosophers are not known for their practical skills and thinkers like Plato and Aristotle had little to say about their toiling contemporaries, be they free artisans or slave labourers. Over the centuries, many philosophers have tried to exert some influence on the ruler of the day, most often in vain, such as Plato with Dionysus II of Syracuse or Voltaire with Frederick II of Prussia. It is in the nineteenth century that philosophers went back to the drawing board and ...

Of Freedom of Speech and Toleration

In the light of the recent tragic events in Paris and the alarming growth of intolerance and violence in the Middle East, open class debates can only prove a stimulating and rewarding exercise for all IB Philosophy students. After all, to see Voltaire’s Philosophical Dictionary, first published in 1764, appear in the list of top ten French best sellers, gives us some reassuring sign that maybe, just maybe, a strong glimmer of hope still persists among our contemporaries. Short of ...

Some Advice on how to approach Paper 2

  Now that the summer 2014 examination is over, it is time to take stock of what can be learnt for the future. Since the very format of the questions remains the same and is, therefore, an invariable component of the examination, it remains an imperative for all candidates and all their teachers, to prepare and anticipate their potential responses to future exam questions. Paper 2 is a case in point as it is meant to test the candidate’s knowledge of the ...