Online Colloquium Nr. 68: Integral political philosophy - Understanding the current crisis of legitimacy in liberal democracies

Date and time
2 Stunden
Zoom Conference

Dr. Jim Cowan, Tom Meek


This Colloquium is about understanding the current crisis of legitimacy in liberal democracies. Jim Cowan and Tom Meek are offering considerations on this based on their current book project about an integral political philosophy, as well as their understanding of politics in the UK.

They write: "We do not think liberal democracy is the end of the history of how we human beings continued to learn how to govern ourselves, our societies and our environment. We know what lies of the other side of dictatorship: totalitarianism. We don’t yet know what lies on the other side of liberal democracy: could it be democracy in which integral plays a leading role? While acknowledging the monumental achievements of liberal democracy in human history, we think a bolder strategy is called for than just patching up the liberal democratic framework: one of aiming for what lies on the other side of liberal democracy.
While our focus is on the UK we feel there will be an international audience in liberal democracies who will be able to translate what we are saying into their own country contexts.”


Access this Colloquium here:



After studying politics and philosophy, Dr Jim Cowan moved into social action and community development, which taught him “how the UK actually works”. He later added 5 social science degrees alongside his career in social work, as well as a PhD reflecting his experiences of how people in communities and organisations use language to shape what gets done. In his retirement he discovered integral and wrote the book “The Britain Potential” (2019) to explain why the UK is lacking far behind its potential.


Tom Meek has held a number of senior roles in the public sector and has worked in large organizations in the private sector.  After leaving the Foreign Office, Tom took up a role as CEO of a new political party in the UK, Renew. There he set about introducing a new approach to politics, believing that the problem in the UK’s politics was more fundamental than simply “needing better ideas”. By collaborating with Jim, he discovered that he was actually advocating a more integral approach.