Deakin Philosophical Society special event
Dark Knights: Exploring the Deceptive Heroics of Philosopher Kings, Princes and Übermenschen
Dr Kim Huynh, Lecturer in Political Science and International Relations
Australian National University
Wednesday, May 12 from 4pm in ib3.307
This Wednesday the Deakin Philosophical Society weekly meeting will be tranformed into a free film night followed by a guest presentation by Dr Kim Huynh from ANU. There will be a screening of Batman: The Dark Knight from 4pm in ib3.307 (the regular meeting time and place), followed at 6.35pm by Dr Huynh's presentation: ‘Dark Knights: Exploring the Deceptive Heroics of Philosopher Kings, Princes and Übermenschen’. Here is a summary of Dr Huynh's presentation:
Plato’s philosopher kings, Machiavelli’s prince and Nietzsche’s Übermensch (Over-man) are among the most infamous figures in Western political philosophy. Their shady reputations grow in large part out of a shared willingness to deceive. Philosopher kings deceive in order to maintain stability and virtue within the polis. From this perspective, society is underpinned by certain myths which, while not technically true, have nonetheless become imperative for people to prosper. Nietzsche’s Übermensch has also dispensed with comforting illusions, particularly of a religious nature. However, the Übermensch has an ambivalent relationship with truth. While believing that the vast majority of people are incapable or unwilling to grasp the ultimate vacuousness of human existence, the Übermensch retains an impish desire to puncture orthodoxies and thereby toy with the prospect of social disintegration. Machiavelli’s prince asserts that the ultimate amorality of politics makes it necessary for the prince to act immorally. The prince must lie and deceive in order to secure stability and glory for the city-state. Indeed, the honesty and virtue of all citizens rest on his capacity to be mendacious and cruel. This paper compares and contrasts these alluring figures in the context of contemporary Australian politics (including case studies of John Howard, Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd) and popular culture (concentrating on the Hollywood action blockbuster Batman: The Dark Knight). By bringing together and analysing these individuals, ideas, stories and events, the paper considers the value of truth and honesty in politics.
This is a free public event.
Guests are quite welcome to arrive at 6.35pm for Dr Huynh's presentation.
If you have any questions, send me a reply email.
President, Deakin Philosophical Society.