Prof. Akeel Bilgrami
Akeel Bilgrami is the Sidney Morgenbesser professor of philosophy, and a member of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. He is the author of the books Belief and Meaning (Wiley-Blackwell, 1992), Self-knowledge and Resentment (Harvard University Press, 2006), and Secularism, Identity, and Enchantment (Harvard University Press, 2014). He is contracted to publish two books next year, Gandhi, the Philosopher (Columbia University Press), and What is a Muslim? (Princeton University Press). Prof. Bilgrami is also currently writing a book on the relation between agency, value, and reason.
The class will take up the question of what, if anything, is common to a range of different populisms in our time (Trump in the USA, Brexit in the UK, Narendra Modi in India, Le Pen in France, Bolsanaro in Brazil, and Erdogan in Turkey.) Though there will be some effort at giving some historical depth to the issues around populism, the focus will be on the urgent issues it raises in the present. In particular, how does populism differ from democracy and what relation does it bear to capitalism in its current neo-liberal form?
Gandhi’s Moral and Political Philosophy
Gandhi was a curious combination of a radical and an anti-modernist. This class will try to bring out how that was a consistent combination of stances. We will consider his ideas of non-violence, the state, the nature of science, and his views on liberalism and the cultural and cognitive effects of capitalism.