CFP: The Ancient Philosopher's Toolkit

Submission deadline: March 20, 2023

Conference date(s):
November 16, 2023 - November 17, 2023

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy II, Ruhr Universität Bochum; Technische Universität Dortmund
Bochum, Germany

Topic areas


To reflect on the philosophical method is as old as the philosophical practice itself. While well-known methods such as the Socratic elenchus or dialectic have received a lot of attention in the history of philosophy, there is, however, a host of methodological patterns and strategies that have been relatively neglected. In order to explore such neglected tools, we are organizing The Ancient Philosopher’s Toolkit conference, to be held jointly at the Ruhr Universität Bochum and the Technische Universität Dortmund, on November 16-17, 2023.

We are inviting papers on the uses and role of strategies such as, but not restricted to, the following: anecdotes like Thales falling into the well; analogies such as the comparison between art and nature; metaphors as in the Pythagorean presentation of hedonists as leaky jars; etymologies, like the explanatory derivation of ethics from ethos in Aristotle; thought patterns based on symmetry, proportion and other structuring principles such as Heraclitus’ use of comparisons of type A is to B as B is to C; the use of counterexamples or hard-cases, as the just person that is happy to be seen as unjust in the Republic; the strategy of playing the role of your philosophical opponent, or strategic presentation of philosophical predecessors, as we may find it in Aristotle’s Metaphysics.

The conference will take place in person, one day at the Ruhr Universität Bochum and one day at the TU Dortmund.

We have five invited speakers – Orna Harari, Colin King, Glenn Most, MM McCabe, and Christof Rapp. And we will invite five to six further speakers through this call for papers. We are looking for extended abstracts or full papers from scholars working on these themes. Each presenter will be given a one-hour time slot – roughly 30-45 minutes for presentation and the rest of the time for discussion. We will be able to cover accommodation and travel costs within Europe.

Important details:

  • Extended Abstracts should be 1000-1500 words; full papers are also acceptable.

  • Papers can be submitted in English or German.

  • Applicants should remove any identifying information on the abstract and include a separate document with their name, email, and affiliation.

  • Abstracts or papers should be sent as pdf documents to [email protected].

  • The subject of the email should be “Submission - Toolkit Conference”. 

  • The submission deadline is March 20, 2023.

For further inquiries, send an email to [email protected]

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