This year, the Tocqueville Program will undertake an examination of three fundamental forms of human association: love, friendship, and politics. While love and friendship have long been thought essential to human happiness, politics has been derided as "the systematic organization of hatreds." In our time, politics so understood threatens to crowd out all other modes of human association: our personal loves have become partisan issues, and friendship across party lines seems increasingly rare.

Understanding this danger, wise lawgivers have long paid the closest attention to love and friendship, which can check partisanship and even supersede the pursuit of distributive justice. In our bitterly divided political moment, can we attain a more elevated understanding of politics by understanding it in the light these other forms of human association? 

Ralph C. Hancock
 Tocqueville Furman University

October 2, 2017 at 5:00pm
Johns Hall 101

Ralph C. Hancock
“Christianity and the Political Life”

Ralph Hancock holds degrees from BYU and Harvard, and has taught political philosophy at Brigham Young University since 1987; he is also President of the John Adams Center for the Study of Faith, Philosophy and Public Affairs, an independent educational foundation ( His books include The Responsibility of Reason: Theory and Practice in a Liberal-Democratic Age (Rowman & Littlefield) and Calvin and the Foundations of Modern Politics (paperback edition at Saint Augustine’s Press); he has also translated numerous works from French. Dr. Hancock is also a contributing editor of the quarterly Perspectives on Political Science and an editor at the online scholarly journal, which addresses public affairs for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Video recording of Ralph Hancock.

Alexander Nehamas
 Furman University

January 24, 2018 at 5:00pm
Johns Hall 101

Alexander Nehamas
“Metaphors in Life: ‘I Love You for Yourself’”

Alexander Nehamas is the Edmund N. Carpenter II Class of 1943 Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature at Princeton University. His interests include Greek philosophy, philosophy of art, European philosophy and literary theory. Dr. Nehamas was born in Athens, Greece, graduated from Athens College, and attended Swarthmore College and Princeton University, where he received his PhD.  His books include Nietzsche: Life as Literature, The Art of Living: Socratic Reflections from Plato to Foucault, Virtues of Authenticity: Essays on Plato and Socrates, On Friendship and Only a Promise of Happiness: The Place of Beauty in a World of Art.  He has also translated Plato’s Symposium and Phaedrus into English.  At Princeton, he has chaired the Council of the Humanities, the Program in Hellenic Studies, and he was the Founding Director of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts.

Video recording of Alexander Nehamas.

Diana Schaub
 Furman University

February 21, 2018 at 5:00pm
Johns Hall 101

Diana Schaub
“Friendship, Race, and Political Justice”

Diana Schaub is Professor of Political Science at Loyola University Maryland and a member of the Hoover Institution’s Jill and Boyd Smith Task Force on the Virtues of a Free Society. In 2001, she was the recipient of the Richard M. Weaver Prize for Scholarly Letters. From 2004 to 2009 she was a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics. She is the author of Erotic Liberalism: Women and Revolution in Montesquieu’s Persian Letters (Rowman and Littlefield, 1995), along with a number of book chapters and articles in the fields of political philosophy and American political thought. She is co-editor (with Amy and Leon Kass) of What So Proudly We Hail: The American Soul in Story, Speech, and Song (ISI, 2011). Dr. Schaub is a contributing editor at The New Atlantis, and her work has also appeared in National Affairs, The New Criterion, The Public Interest, The American Enterprise, the Claremont Review of Books, Commentary, First Things, The American Interest, and City Journal. She earned an AB from Kenyon College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and an MA and PhD from the University of Chicago.

William Deresiewicz Furman University

April 4, 2018 at 5:00pm
Watkins Room, Trone Student Center

William Deresiewicz
“College and the Inner Life”

William Deresiewicz is an award-winning essayist and critic, a frequent college speaker, and the best-selling author of Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life. He taught English at Yale and Columbia before becoming a full-time writer in 2008. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Harper's, The Nation, The New Republic, The American Scholar, The London Review of Books, and elsewhere. He has won the Hiett Prize in the Humanities, the Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, and a Sydney Award; he is also a three-time National Magazine Award nominee. His work has been translated into at least 15 languages and anthologized in more than 30 college readers. He has spoken at over 60 colleges, high schools, and educational groups and has held visiting positions at Bard, Scripps, and Claremont McKenna Colleges.

His previous book is A Jane Austen Education. He is currently working on a book about the transformation of the arts and arts careers in the new economy.

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