How to Excel in Life? Theories of 'living well' before Aristotle

March 21, 2024 - March 22, 2024
Department of Philosophy, University of Geneva


This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


University of Geneva

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The workshop explores how ancient philosophers connect ethics to the science of living things. We aim to delve into the concept of excellence in Pre-Aristotelian philosophy and investigate the different levels on which a life can be well-lived and a being can be described as well-functioning, ethically and physiologically.

The conference is free and open to all. To register, and for any questions, please email [email protected].



10.00-10.30 Welcome

10.30-12.00 Lorenzo Perilli (University of Rome Tor Vergata), "Error and Responsibility: Achilles, Prometheus, Hippocrates."

12.00-14.00 Lunch break

14.00-15.30 Karel Thein (Charles University, Prague), “Plato on Women: Biology, Politics, and the Problems with Nature.”

15.30-16.00 Coffee break

16.00-17.30 Giulia De Cesaris (University of Torino), “Habituating the Senses as a Road to Virtue.”


9.30-11.00 Arianna Piazzalunga (University of Torino), “Perfectioning Mimesis. Virtue and Imitation in the De victu.”

11.00-11.30 Coffee break

11.30-13.00 Alba Curry (University of Leeds), “Harmonizing Heart and Health: Exploring Emotional Excellence in Ancient Chinese Medicine and Philosophy.”

Graduate bursaries

Due to the generous support of the British Society for the History of Philosophy, we have a limited number of small bursaries available for unfunded graduate students to defray some of the travel costs. If you wish to be considered, please send a 500-word statement to [email protected] by Friday 16 February, including a short bio, a statement of interest, and the (un)availability of further institutional support.

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