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Professor Paul Dragos Aligica will discuss his work on the philosophy, the theory, and the institutional design of “modus vivendi” governance arrangements, which support the conditions for “live and let live” social order, based on toleration and freedom of expression, association and exchange, in circumstances of deep pluralism and social cleavages.


Room K3.11, King’s Building, Stand Campus. For a map explaining how to get to the building, see here.

About the talk:

The increasing social diversity and the pluralism of values, preferences, worldviews and ways of life created by the ongoing technological, social, demographic and cultural changes which are redefining contemporary societies and communities, generate profound challenges to the existing political and governance systems. The talk will explore one facet of the contemporary efforts to contribute to the advancement of the theoretical apparatus needed for the reform of those systems. More specifically, it will be focused on the problem of the theoretical foundations and the institutional design of the governance systems which facilitate or enable tolerance and peaceful coexistence between individuals and communities at all levels, in circumstances of deep heterogeneity of beliefs, values and ways of life.

The talk and the ensuing conversation will be built around the thesis that there is an intrinsic convergence and complementarity between on the one hand, the pluralist, “modus vivendi” political philosophy perspective (associated to authors such as Stuart Hampshire, Bernard Williams, John Gray or Nicolas Rescher) and, on the other hand, the polycentricity theory of governance (associated to Public Choice authors such as Elinor and Vincent Ostrom, James Buchanan or Richard E. Wagner). Polycentricity represents the public governance, institutional response to the challenges, problems and solutions identified by pluralism, while “modus vivendi” pluralism represents the social and political philosophy which operates tacitly as a complement and foundation of polycentricity theory.

About the Speaker:

Paul Dragos Aligica is KPMG Professor of Governance at the University of Bucharest and Senior Research Fellow at the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, where he teaches in the graduate program of the Economics Department. His most recent publications are The Institutionalization of Indoctrination: Conceptual Frameworks and Case Study Based Insights, Rowman & Littlefield (2022) and Public Entrepreneurship, Citizenship, and Self-Governance, Cambridge University Press (2018).