Invited Speakers

Workshop in Ancient Philosophy - HT 2023

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Cristiana Sessini (University of Oxford): 'The pessimism of Plato’s Cave'


Abstract: In this paper, I present a novel interpretation of the allegory of the Cave, based on an analysis of its Orphic subtext and its parallels with the eschatological myths of the Phaedo and Phaedrus. The result is a radical reassessment of the apparent epistemic optimism of the Cave allegory, with wide-ranging implications for Plato’s philosophy.


Ricardo Salles (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México): 'Elements, sea and stars in Anaximander'



Abstract: There is evidence that for Anaximander the sea level is decreasing under the action of the sun and that it will dry out one day. In a classic interpretation of his cosmology, put forward by Jaap Mansfeld in 2011 (‘Anaximander’s fragment: another attempt’, Phronesis 56: 1-32), this desiccation reflects an instability of the cosmos that will ultimately lead to its destruction. This global destruction, Mansfeld contends, is a material change where the basic substances that compose the cosmos — the four physical elements fire, air, water and earth —  destroy one another and, in particular, where fire destroys water. In this paper, I cast doubt on Mansfeld’s interpretation by arguing that for Anaximander the desiccation of the sea, and ultimately the destruction of the cosmos, cannot be accounted for in terms of an elemental conflict. My overall conclusion is that we need to reconsider the relation that the cosmology and meteorology of Anaximander bear to his elemental theory and discard the assumption that the former two are based on the latter.


Annamaria Schiaparelli (Université de Genève): 'Parts and Whole in Aristotle's Categories'


Chair: Paolo Fait
  • This is a speaker series devoted to discussing work in progress by speakers within and outside Oxford pertaining to the field
  • Seminars take place on Thursdays at 4pm-6pm, in the Radcliffe Humanities Building, Ryle Room (2nd floor)
  • Convenors: Prof. Ursula Coope, Prof. Simon Shogry, Prof. Alexander Bown
  • Members of the Faculty, students, and visitors are welcome
  • If you would like to go out to dinner with the speaker, then please contact the chair of the meeting before Tuesday of that week