The Democratic Soul
- January -
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Anthony Kronman, Dean
of the Yale Law School.
BIO : Anthony
T. Kronman is the sixteenth dean of the Yale Law
School. He was appointed to this position in 1994
after 16 years on the Yale Law School faculty.
Before joining the Yale faculty, Dean Kronman
taught for two years at the University of Chicago
Law School and for one year at the University
of Minnesota Law School. His teaching areas include
contracts, bankruptcy, jurisprudence and the legal
Kronman is the author or co-author of four books
and many articles on various scholarly subjects.
His last book, The Lost Lawyer, deals with the
contemporary state of the American legal profession
and analyzes the movement away from what he calls
the "lawyer-statesman" ideal of responsible law
Kronman was born in Los Angeles on May 12, 1945
and attended public schools there before coming
to Williams College in 1963. He graduated from
Williams in 1968 with highest honors in political
science. Following college, he studied philosophy
at Yale and received his Ph.D. in that field in
1972. During his four years as a graduate student,
Dean Kronman was a Danforth Fellow. In 1972, he
began the study of law at the Yale Law School
and received his J.D. in 1975. While at the Law
School, he served as a senior editor on the Yale
Dean Kronman's father, Harry Kronman, was a television
screenwriter and his mother, Rosella, was a film
actress and homemaker. He is married to Nancy
Greenberg and has four children, Matthew, Emma,
Hope, and Alexander.
One of the wisest and most searching explorations
of political order ever written, Plato's Republic,
contains a harsh attack on democracy. This critique
of democratic man and the regime he inhabits is
not incidental to Plato's argument. For Plato
as for us, democracy is characterized by the free
pursuit of individual desires. But in Plato's
view, the resulting society is simply chaotic.
According to Plato, psychic and political order
share the same structure and are mutually reinforcing.
The possibility of order in both domains depends
on the existence of an unchanging formal reality,
ruled by and accessible to the exercise of reason.
Democracy, by this standard, is no order at all,
because it privileges the singular and self-inventing
modern appreciation of democracy is based on a
very different understanding of political order
- as a framework for human actions and individual
fulfillment, not the cause and consequence of
an ordered soul. Our defense of democracy starts
from different premises: most importantly, the
Judeo-Christian belief in creation from nothing,
ex nihilo. In this tradition, the absolute distinctness
of every individual is something real and valuable
in its own right.
comparison between the Republic and the American
republic reveals many of the themes that will
reverberate throughout this course. Plato's critique
not only highlights the peculiarities of our beliefs,
but also poses an instructive and compelling challenge.
How is radical individualism compatible with the
need to offer a reasoned judgment about the relative
worth of different forms of life? And on what
basis are we to forge an account of the relationship
between individual fulfillment and the good of
the community as a whole?
will be moderated by Cynthia Farrar, Adjunct Associate
Professor, Political Science and Director of Urban