CFP: Part and Whole in Antiquity

Submission deadline: May 2, 2021

Conference date(s):
September 23, 2021 - September 25, 2021

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

De Wulf-Mansion Centre for Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy , KU Leuven, Belgium
Leuven, Belgium

Topic areas


The De Wulf-Mansion Centre for Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy invites papers for the early career researcher conference 'Part and Whole in Antiquity', which takes place online from September 23rd through 25th.

Undeniably, parts and wholes are ubiquitous. There is little one can think of which does not allow for a mereological description, both in ontological and in epistemological terms. However, the pervasiveness of this paradigm comes at the cost of conceptual precision, especially in the field of ancient philosophy. Since the terms “part” and “whole” had as wide a variety of possible meanings in antiquity as they do now (see, for example, Aristotle’s definitions of the terms in Metaphysics Δ.25 and Δ.26), this conference aims to chart the variety of mereological issues in ancient philosophy. Therefore, our interest is not limited to a specific application of mereology, such as a series of purely ontological questions. We invite papers which illuminate mereological issues in ancient philosophy from all philosophical angles.

These include but are not limited to:
Part and whole in psychology (e.g., the soul, its unity, its ontological status, and its powers).
Part and whole in ethics and politics (e.g., the hierarchy of the virtues, their unity, or the individual’s relation to the city-state).
Part and whole in epistemology (e.g., whether one can know the nature of a whole through knowing its parts and vice versa).
Part and whole in methods of inquiry (e.g., the methods of division, induction and definition).
Part and whole in ontology (e.g., the division of matter, the nature of the elements, hylomorphism, or the concept of participation).

Given the potentially wide scope of the conference, we are particularly interested in abstracts for papers that show a clear focus on a specific instance of mereological thought, preferably with a text-based approach. The conference will span the ancient period broadly conceived, from the Presocratic philosophers to the seventh century CE. We especially welcome younger researchers (PhD students and postdocs) to submit proposals for a paper in one of the aforementioned domains.
Proposals should consist of a title, an abstract of 300-400 words, and your current position, academic affiliation, and contact details.

Abstracts should be submitted via email to by May 2nd.
The notification of acceptance will be sent by mid-May. Accepted papers will be eligible for publication after the conference in The Apricot, a peer reviewed student journal of the Institute of Philosophy at KU Leuven.

If you have any questions, please contact any of the members of the organizing committee,
Sokratis-Athanasios Kiosoglou (
Thibaut Lejeune (
Arthur Oosthout (
Dashan Xu (

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