My husband (a historian) and I (a philosopher) are planning a colloquium examining the cognitive requirements of a free society.
The general questions we want to raise for discussion are: Does liberty repend upon rationality? If so, rationality understood in what way? If free institutions require thinking men to conceive, create, and operate them, what habits of thinking are necessary to found and sustain a free society, and how can one inculcate such habits? Does liberty require that the majority of the people be habitually rational, or only the constitution makers or some ruling "natural aristocracy"?
For this proposed colloquium, participants will read and then discuss primary sources that raise these questions. For the reading list, we are considering excerpts from Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Jefferson, The Federalist, and Tocqueville, among other thinkers. Might anyone suggest specific texts that might be appropriate for our purposes? Thanks for your help!