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Newman House, 86-88 St Stephen's Green Dublin 2 Ireland

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What are the ethical challenges of leadership in a modern democracy?

Is political leadership inherently at odds with democracy? Does real world politics require leaders to act in ways that run contrary to moral values and undermine their moral character? What does it mean for a political leader to be trustworthy?What is the role of compromise in politics?

These questions concerning the ethics of ‘leadership’ have been neglected within much contemporary liberal democratic theorising. While significant strides have been made in developing an account of liberal values and the shape of liberal institutions, normative questions surrounding the agents responsible for pursuing those values and leading those institutions have received comparatively little attention.

As a result, our understanding of ethics in public office is impoverished. In the practical arena, it is often either conflated with personal morality or reduced to conflict of interest and financial propriety. At the theoretical level, in the absence of a comprehensive theory of leadership, our liberal democratic theory of politics remains incomplete.

This one-day workshop will explore the ethics of leadership in modern liberal democracies. It will examine the tension between leadership and democracy, and the possible conflict between politics and morality, addressing issues of trust, compromise, and character.

This is a small workshop; there is no registration charge, but places are strictly limited; registration is required. Participants are expected to attend all sessions. If you register and find that you cannot attend, please contact one of the organiserrs, as there may be a waiting list..

Organised with the support of the UCD Schools of Politics and International Relations and Philosophy, and in association with the UCD interdisciplinary research group on 'Ethics, government, and public affairs'