Areas of expertise: History of 20th Century Analytic Political Thought; The Nature of Normative Arguments; Ethics and Politics; John Rawls
Andrius Galisanka’s research focuses on 20th century political thought, especially on John Rawls and Ludwig Wittgenstein. He examines their roles in the transformation of analytic political theory since the 1950s, and in particular their novel conceptions of normative argument. Currently, he is completing a book manuscript on the development of Rawls’s philosophical and political thought from his early years to the publication of A Theory of Justice. At Wake Forest, Andrius teaches on contemporary political theory and the history of political thought. He is the recipient of the Northern California Phi Beta Kappa Excellence in Teaching Award.
POL 115 Introduction to Political Theory
This course looks at political theory as an attempt to answer the question, How should we live together as members of a political community? We will consider this question in light of a key political challenge: disagreement among citizens about the way in which our political community should be structured. This problem of pluralism, explored by three theories – aggregative democracy, political liberalism and agonistic democracy – will inform our discussions of more particular political questions: What, if anything, is the common good in a pluralistic society? What is the role of law and the Constitution? Can we justify civil disobedience? In what ways do representatives represent us? We will try to reveal the distinctive character which the fact of pluralism gives to these problems by contrasting the three theories with comprehensive liberalism, which takes agreement among citizens for granted.
POL 269 Environmental Political Thought
Why should we preserve the wilderness, create national parks, concern ourselves with pollution? Answers to these questions depend on how we conceive the human relationship with the natural world. Does the natural world have value in itself, independent of human beings (eco-centrism)? Or is it valuable only because it is useful for human beings (anthropocentrism)? Having considered these questions, we will turn to particular issues, such as the preservation of wilderness, sustainable development, the culture of consumerism, and climate change, asking how we should respond through government and individual action.
POL 276 Modern Political Thought
Spanning the 19th century, the modern political period is both near and distant. Its increasing – if contested – acceptance of democracy as the best mode of government and its solutions to the dangers of democracy inform our beliefs today. Yet its characteristic belief in progress and the inevitable, stadial, movement of history, as well as its conviction that politics should encourage the highest human ideal, are increasingly foreign to us.
This course will look at the modern political period and its wrestling with democratic ideals through the lenses of four political traditions: liberalism, socialism, romanticism, and radical historicism. We will look at these traditions’ views on what it means to be fully a human being and the modes of government that are most compatible with these conceptions. Ending the course with Darwin’s and Nietzsche’s contestation of the stadial view of history, we will make a prelude to our own far less historical century.