30 May Ruling in Ancient Greece and India: A Historical-Comparative Approach to Political Philosophy
Stuart Gray (Political Science, University of California, Santa Barbara)
Wednesday, May 30 / 4:00 pm
6056 Humanities and Social Sciences Building
This lecture outlined what Gray terms a historical-comparative approach to political philosophy and applied it to a study of ancient Greek and Indian conceptions of ruling. He discussed how this approach successfully addresses central methodological problems facing cross-cultural political theory through an examination of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days, and the Vedic Samhitas and Brahmanas. Gray characterized the Greek tradition of ruling as one of distinction and the Indian tradition as one of stewardship. Drawing upon the Indian conception of stewardship and using it as a critical vantage point, he advanced a normative challenge to ancient and contemporary Western beliefs about ruling. He proposed an alternative understanding of ruling predicated on an outwardly porous, polycentric conception of individuality that addresses contemporary issues of human-centrism, individualism, and communal interconnectedness.
Stuart Gray is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His lecture drew on his dissertation project, “Ruling in Ancient Greece and India: A Historical-Comparative Approach to Political Philosophy,” which he will complete this June. This fall he will join the faculty at Johns Hopkins University as a Charles and Amy Scharf Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Political Science.