John Gray is one of the UK’s most important and influential political thinkers. Sceptical of ideas about progress and the perfectibility of human nature, he is an arch critic of liberalism, believing that history moves in cycles rather than inexorably towards a better future.
On September 14 he comes to Intelligence Squared where he will be joined by David Runciman, a political scientist known for his clear analysis of modern political complexities. Together they will explore the themes of Gray’s new book The New Leviathans: Thoughts After Liberalism, which looks at the world of the 2020s through the prism of the great 17th-century philosopher Thomas Hobbes, famous for saying that without government, life would be ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. Traversing 20th-century Russia, India and China, and referencing thinkers from Nietzsche and Hegel to Pinker and Fukuyama, Gray will share his realist vision for what the future may hold and explain how, in a world of absurdity, meaning can be found not in grandiose ideas but in a more modest ethics.
Join us for a compelling conversation on the complex nature of governance, history and the human condition.