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2018 Annual Lecture


This lecture will argue that the act of lying has been gradually beatified as a political-aesthetic event. The beatification of lying inaugurated the substitution of democracy with what Baldacchino identifies with the society of myth. This is possible because in the language of myth the process by which lying is structured as a polity of representation is mostly taken in its state of immediacy. As such, the practice of lying now deceives itself in that its validation comes from a procedure that lost its mediating virtue. This is to say that, in their beatified state, lies and acts of lying are no longer virtuous, and less so effective in their pursuit of fairness and democracy.

        Philosophically speaking, lies have become meaningless to the polity because no one believes a lie anymore. The lie is now misconstrued by mechanisms of deception and lost its ability to become truthful. To understand this apparent paradox one needs to recognise how the polity of representation has been reduced to a positivist structure where facts are artefacts and deception suffers the same fate as knowledge, which is reduced to an epistemology that lacks any gnoseological value.

        In this lecture Baldacchino will argue that: Firstly, just like truth, the lie is no longer dialectical, but has become relational. Secondly, forms of instrumentalised forms of relationality have become commonplace in the structure of representation. Thirdly, relational representation is acting as a surrogate form of relativism where the vacuum left by the retreat of the virtuous lie has weakened democracy and any other form of societal living to the extent that, what Gillian Rose aptly calls “the fascism of representation”, has become a way of life with all the consequences thereof.

Prof. John Baldacchino

Professor John Baldacchino is the Director of the Arts Institute at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, United States of America. Previously he served as an academic at the universities of Dundee (Scotland), Falmouth (England), Columbia (New York), Robert Gordon (Scotland) and Warwick (England). He specialises in art, philosophy, politics, and education.

        Equipped with comprehensive teaching experience in British and American systems of education spanning across primary, secondary and tertiary levels, Professor Baldacchino’s research interests converge on society, the school, and the polity through a concern for philosophy and the arts, their ethical-formative roles within and beyond the school; pedagogy, innovation and creativity; educational politics and their cultural condition.

        Professor Baldacchino’s books include Post-Marxist Marxism (1996), Easels of Utopia (1998), Avant-Nostalgia (2002), Education Beyond Education (2009), Art’s Way Out (2012), Mediterranean Art Education (2013), Democracy Without Confession (2013), and John Dewey (2014). He is also the editor of Histories and Philosophies, The Wiley Blackwell’s Encyclopaedia of Art & Design Education (2018).

Professor Baldacchino’s website can be accessed at