The Soul in Ancient Philosophy

October 11, 2019 - October 12, 2019
University of St Andrews

Edgecliffe
St Andrews KY16 9AL
United Kingdom

View the Call For Papers

Sponsor(s):

  • The Scots Philosophical Association
  • The Classical Association
  • CAPOD
  • The Analysis Trust
  • The Aristotelian Society
  • The University of St Andrews

Keynote speakers:

Humboldt-University, Berlin
Princeton University

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We are delighted to announce our upcoming graduate conference on ‘The Soul in Ancient Philosophy’ taking place at the University of St Andrews, Scotland.

The soul has been of central importance in the ancient philosophical tradition, from the earliest Greek thinkers to the Neoplatonists. For ancient philosophers, the soul helps to account not only for various kinds of life on earth, such as human, animal, or even plant-life, but also the heavenly movements of the stars and planets. While the soul is often viewed as a principle of motion, in humans it is associated with a wide range of important phenomena, such as cognition, love, death, reason, emotions, and feelings. Moreover, the soul is sometimes seen to have a life of its own apart from the body, so that a distinction can be drawn between embodied and disembodied existence and experience. In this way, the soul naturally brings together a range of different philosophical concerns, including epistemology, ethics, psychology, the natural sciences, cosmology, and eschatology. 

The soul has received considerable attention in recent scholarship, and new studies have advanced the discussion in a variety of directions. Some have focussed on the world-soul, others on the partitions of the soul (and on its ‘non-rational’ parts), others on the soul and emotions, and others on the soul as self-motion. These are all prominent aspects of the soul in particular contexts, but rather than treating any single field of enquiry in isolation, our intention is to bring together young researchers from different areas of ancient philosophy who work on various concepts of soul, with the aim of producing a more holistic perspective.

Travel bursaries of up to £100 will be available for each postgraduate speaker. We would be happy to arrange childcare for speakers who would not otherwise be able to attend the conference. Attendance is free of charge.

The conference is organised jointly by current PhD students and recent graduates both of Philosophy and the School of Classics. The organisers are: Manlio Fossati, Andrés Hernández Villarreal, Lorenzo Lazzarini, Julia Pfefferkorn, Wolfgang Sattler, and Matthew Shelton.

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