Philosophy in its Beginnings: On the Conceptualisation, Criticism, and Justification of Philosophy in Antiquity

July 21, 2017 - July 23, 2017
RTG Philosophy, Science and the Sciences, Humboldt-University, Berlin

Hannoverschestr. 6

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Main speakers:

Monte Ransome Johnson
University of California, San Diego
Marina McCoy
Boston College
Glenn Most
Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa
Matthias Perkams
Friedrich Schiller Universität, Jena
Royal Holloway University of London

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In Antiquity, the meaning and value of philosophy was debated with great vigor. This debate among opponents and proponents of philosophy has formed the foundation of our understanding of philosophy until today. The aim of this conference is to bring papers on different aspects of this debate together, in order to better illuminate it and its ramifications. Core questions of the conference will be: What is philosophy and how did the understanding of “philosophy“ develop in Antiquity? What does the criticism of philosophy and similar rational endeavours in Antiquity consist in? What kind of justification of philosophy and similar rational endeavours do we find in Antiquity?

We solicitor papers on these core questions and related issues such as, but not exclusively: philosophy as a way of life; philosophy as the highest scientific endeavour; the art of living; the relation and delineation of philosophy from other endeavours as politics, rhetoric, sophistic, or the sciences; the historical and social impact on the origins of philosophy.

We are interested both in authors that are traditionally considered to be „philosophers“ such as pre-Socratics, Plato and Aristotle and in authors whose status is more controversial, such as Aristophanes, Thucydides, Gorgias, Antiphon, Isocrates, Xenophon. Papers on different periods of Antiquity are welcome.

Please submit anonymous abstracts of no more than 500 words to

no later than April 14, 2017. Notifications of acceptance will follow quickly. Abstracts are accepted in English or German. To make international communication easier, talks should preferably be given in English (40 minutes long).

Some funds may be available to help to cover travel expenses of those without other recourses.

This conference is organised by Christopher Roser and Ronja Hildebrandt, and it is generously supported by the DFG Research Training Group “Philosophy, Science, and the Sciences.”

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