John Aggrey Odera

Wolf Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellow

20182019 Forum on Stuff

John Aggrey Odera

Executive Board, Wolf Undergraduate Humanities Forum

Philosophy & Political Science

CAS, 2019

John is a Philosophy and Political Science major, and a minor in Classics, Statistics, and German. His chief interests lie in the different conceptions of “the good life” outlined in Aristotelian and Platonic philosophy. His other interests involve urban life, and his previous research has explored policies of urban renewal in Mumbai, India and Nairobi, Kenya, and evidence-based policy interventions in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Outside of these, John enjoys realist literature, mountain climbing and backpacking, and has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, as well as visited seventy-nine cities in forty-two countries.

Collective Actions vs. Individual Good

My project uses two contemporary movements, Lean-In and Effective Altruism as case studies to explore the interaction between the individual good and the collective good, an issue focused on at depth by Plato in his Republic and Aristotle in his Politics and Nichomachean Ethics. There are three guiding questions: 1.) What is the idea world to which we aim for as political societies? 2.) Given that the current world we inhabit is a terrible, unjust place, what can one person - an individual- do within the contingent structures, either to ameliorate their own condition, or to do some good for others. And 3.) Do these individual acts of “working within the system” actually help in bolstering and sustaining an unjust system, and thus aid in ensuring that these unjust structures grow stronger, and consequently that the problems affecting collectives are never resolved?