Presenter: Katherine Diserens (Confirmation milestone)

“Never again” is a profound and eternal promise that humanity made to itself in response to the horrors of totalitarianism in the early 20th century. Keeping this promise requires more than simply remembering our capacity for organised inhumanity. Our promise entails actively seeking to live together in ways that constitutively resist the possibility of again committing the worst of crimes against ourselves. This broadly entails political practices that actualise the plurality of humanity and make judgment possible in a common world of uncertain opinions and unpredictable experiences. The political theory of Hannah Arendt and the epistemology of C.S Peirce cohere in a compelling analysis of the necessities and possibilities of thinking and acting that may constitute this condition, whereby we are able to create and understand experience of our essentially plural sociality. However, this account entails barriers to addressing factors such as race, gender and class that undermine the common realisation of the public relations and revealed opinions that are the purpose of the political practices it endorses. R.M Unger helps to resolve these impasses by providing methods of understanding ourselves and ways of living together in communities of plurality and uncertainty that incorporate sensitivity to change and exclusion. While this potential for radical critique is crucial, it is also necessary to maintain the possibility of revolutionary politics. If all of these concerns can be meaningfully incorporated into our ways of thinking and acting together in adaptable institutions and other relations, then we will be on our way to securing our ability to keep our promise to ourselves that never again will we live in ways that allow us to destroy our own humanity.