Foto del docente

Elena Irrera

Associate Professor

Department of Political and Social Sciences

Academic discipline: SPS/01 Political Philosophy


Keywords: Aristotle Platonic dialogue Minority Rights Toleration Respect Theories of Solidarity

- Metaphysics, Ethics, Politics in Greek Thought ) 
-  Ancient Aesthetics (Theories of Beauty in Plato and Aristotle).
-Political Philosophy (Multiculturalism and Normative Theories of Respect and Tolerance)

1) My field of specialisation is Aristotle, particularly his works on Metaphysics, Ethics and Politics. I work on the connections between such areas and the Greek ideal of beauty (to kalon), and also on the relations between political institutions and ancient theories of happiness. A great deal of my research is an attempt to answer the following questions: a) Can the human search for beauty direct the structural tendency of man towards philosophical knowledge? b) Can beauty itself provide a path towards the structure and understanding of goodness? I try to show that beauty, far from representing a static property of objects, proves itself to be a factor that actively operates in nature, in the moral life and in political agency. 

2) I am also committed to a study on Plato and, in particular, to an investigation of the nature and the role of the philosophical dialogue in the ethical and intellectual process of education of the reader. I study the way in which Plato's arguments, although apparently devoid of references to the issue of philosophical writing, are able - on closer inspection – to provide precious clues on the nature of such an art and its practical import in the life of the reader. To this aim, I concentrate on Plato's Symposium.  

3) I am currently committed to a study of the concept of “respect” in ancient, modern and political philosophy, with special concern for its normative worth and connection with social justice.

4) I also investigate the notion of “toleration” in ancient and modern times, and some of its conceptual underpinnings: “resistance”, the expectation of goods which justify resi stance and recognition of the rational autonomy of those indivduals whose positions are tolerated.

5) I study the nature of minority rights (ethnic, cultural and religious), particularly the issue of the normative justifiabilty of the notion of “group rights”, alongside the one of “individual rights”. 

6) I am currently working on the concept of "solidarity", with particular reference to the way in which such an ideal can shed light on perspectives of political, economical, social and cultural integration in the EU.