Friday, Jun 14, 2013, 3 PM

Konstanty Gebert

Alternatives to Self-Interest: Fraternity vs. Solidarity?

It is often assumed that self-interest is but the nobler avatar of greed, and enlightened self-interest, which allows for delaying and sharing gratification, is still not a sufficiently noble motivation. Even fraternity, which makes us support others because they are like us, is nothing better than the expression of Dawkin’s selfish gene in social and political life. But what of solidarity, which makes us support others who are not like us? Looking at some movement and individuals who make explicit reference to solidarity Konstanty Gebert will try to provide some answers.

Konstanty Gebert is an author, journalist, lecturer, and political activist based in Poland. In 1976 he graduated from the Department of Psychology at the University of Warsaw. He was a prominent figure in the democratic opposition in the 1970s and 1980s and cofounder of the unofficial Jewish Flying University (1979), the Polish Council of Christians and Jews (1980), and a trade union of the employees in academia, technology, and education that merged with Solidarnosc (1980). After the government imposed martial law he wrote and published articles for various underground publications under the pseudonym Dawid Warszawski. Gebert also served as a war correspondent in Bosnia, writing for Gazeta Wyborcza. His articles have appeared in a variety of national periodicals and foreign media. He has written numerous books, including a first-hand account of the Polish Round Table negotiations of 1989 as well as books on French policy toward Poland, on the Yugoslav wars, the wars of Israel, Torah commentary and postwar Polish Jewry. Konstanty Gebert is also the founder of Midrasz, the first Polish-language Jewish periodical in postcommunist Poland and he frequently appears on Polish television and radio. Konstanty Gebert has lectured in Poland, Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and the U.S.

The event will be held in English