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Political Theory Institute

“The beliefs which we have the most warrant for have no safeguard, but a standing invitation to the whole world to prove them unfounded." – John Stuart Mill

Welcome to PTI

The mission of the Political Theory Institute (PTI) is to encourage the serious study of the great questions of political theory and to bring the insights of political theorists to bear on current issues and events.
Mission Statement

The Purpose of a Liberal Education

Thursday, December 6
5:30-7 P.M.
American University, Constitution Hall

Robert George and Cornel West never let a spirited political disagreement get in the way of their deep friendship and mutual reverence for learning and open debate. West, a liberal philosophy professor at Harvard University, and George, a conservative legal scholar at Princeton, make an impassioned case for free speech, liberal arts education and truth. The SPA Political Theory Institute will welcome West and George to talk about the importance of free speech and demonstrate the way to disagree with respect, civility, and a bit of humor too. This event is supported in part by the Institute for Humane Studies.

Book Cover: The Political Thought of the Civil War

New Book from PTI now available

The Political Thought of the Civil War by Alan Levine (Editor), Thomas W. Merrill (Editor), and James R. Stoner (Editor).


Our 2018 Seniors

The Role of Free Speech in the Gay Rights Struggle

Cornel West and Robert George speaking at event

On Campus ·

Cornel West and Robert George Talk About the Purpose of a Liberal Education

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Keith Whittington

RSVP to attend "Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech" featuring Keith Whittington on Monday, September 17, 2018 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM EST.


Lecture Series

November 15, 2018
Paul Stern, Ursinus College, on Dante's Philosophical Life: Politics and Human Wisdom in "Purgatorio"

December 6, 2018
Cornel West, Union Theological Seminary, and Robert George, Princeton University: "The Purpose of a Liberal Education"

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Event Videos

  • Hume's Case for Commerce

  • Free Speech and Minorities

  • Top Ten Reasons