29 November 2007

Essential and Vital

Reviews by David Konstan, Christopher Rowe, Margaret Atkins, Catherine Osborne, Richard King, Robert Wardy, James Warren, Andrea Falcon, James Wilberding, Harold Tarrant, John Dillon, Andre Laks, Daniel Graham, C.C.W. Taylor, Luca Castagnoli, and others -- all in the latest issue of Classical Review, "an essential reference tool, vital for keeping up to date with current classical scholarship", edited by Roy Gibson and Neil Hopkinson.

For me, alas, a bitter poena damni for not having made this issue's deadline.

28 November 2007

The Difficulty of What We Are Doing

From the very conclusion of Debra Nails' recent review. We all aspire to this -- don't we?-- but is it true that only two or three succeed?

Ionescu advocates a "holistic approach" to the Meno, combining "examination of dramatic details and logical analysis of arguments" (xiii), but the two desiderata are effectively segregated, and the logical analysis subdued (cf. 141-42, 147-50). Her advocacy does not mention any history of division among approaches to Plato (so, e.g., Ronna Burger and Gail Fine, the two times that they appear, appear together). Rare, however, is the philosopher who can wield both methods without summoning one just when difficulties are becoming unmanageable with the other. Rarer still is the philosopher who has both acute literary insight and razor-sharp analytic skill. I count two or three, and I am not one of them. The two approaches are extraordinarily difficult for any one person to achieve effectively, especially in a single study, and we cannot all be experts at everything. To say that Ionescu, on her first try, does not successfully combine the two approaches she admires, is not damning criticism. Of Lexington Books, however, I shall be twice shy.

27 November 2007

Kamtekar and Nussbaum at Brown

For today, another notice:

The Departments of Philosophy and Classics
Brown University and

The Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy


Rachana Kamtekar
University of Arizona

Commentator: Martha Nussbaum
University of Chicago

“The Powers of Plato’s Tripartite Psychology”

November 29, 2007
7:30 PM

“Cognitive and Conative Powers in the Timaeus”
Friday, November 30, 1:00-3:00 pm

Both events will be held in Gerard House, Room 119, Philosophy Department
54 College Street

For more information, please contact Mary Louise Gill, mlgill@brown.edu

26 November 2007

Memory and Desire, Stirring

April need not be the cruellest month, it seems.

The posting of this notice, forwarded by SAGP, looks to be a good way to resume blogging, as I am aware that there are many graduate student readers of this blog:


April 12-13, 2008
Princeton University
Submission Deadline: January 15, 2008

Graduate students are invited to submit papers of high quality in any
area of ancient philosophy. Papers should be 4000-4500 words or
45 minutes maximum reading time. Submissions need not include
abstracts. Please do not include any identifying information in the
paper; instead, enclose a separate document providing your name, paper
title, department, institution, and contact information.

Please e-mail submissions to Corinne Gartner: cgartner@princeton.edu

14 November 2007

Daniel Russell, BACAP at Holy Cross, Thursday Nov 15

B. A. C. A. P.
The Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy


“Is Virtue Sufficient for Eudaimonia?
By Prof. Daniel Russell
(Witchita State University)


Prof. Tim Roche
(University of Memphis)

Dinand Library Faculty Room, College of the Holy Cross
Thursday, 15 November 2007 at 7:30 p.m.

Prof. Russell’s public lecture will be preceded by a seminar on
Ancient Eudaimonism
Smith 201, College of the Holy Cross
4:00-6:00 p.m.

13 November 2007

Seven Masterpieces in Philosophy

A letter in my box today from Longman announces a new collection edited by Steven Cahn, Seven Masterpieces in Philosophy:

This brief, affordable text presents the seven major works central to any
introductory philosophy course in one convenient volume. Presenting the
most respected and frequently used translations in their entirety, the works are
accompanied by insightful and accessible introductions and annotations written
by noted author and scholar, Steven Cahn.

My suspicion that no collection could live up to the definite articles ("the seven major works", "the most respected and frequently used translations") was confirmed when I saw the actual TOC. But then this raises the question: Which seven would you choose?
  1. Plato, Meno (translated by R.E. Allen)
  2. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (Bks. I, II) (translated by Martin Ostwald)
  3. Descartes, Meditations (translated by John Cottingham)
  4. Berkeley, Three Dialogues
  5. Hume, Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
  6. Kant, Fundamental Principles (translated by Lewis White Beck)
  7. Mill, Utilitarianism

12 November 2007

Knowledge and Universals in Plato and Aristotle

Here's another excellent conference which one might learn about on the Ancient Philosophy Calendar:

Knowledge and Universals in Plato and Aristotle
a one-day symposium at the
University of Groningen, Netherlands
12 December 2007

For more information, please see the link here.

09 November 2007

An Energetic Group

At Yale University, next week:

"Aristotle on Simultaneously Perceiving More Things than One"
Hendrik Lorenz (Princeton University)
Monday, November 12, 5:45 p.m.
Connecticut Hall, Rm. 104

Food and drinks will be served.

This talk was advertised as part of the "Yale Working Group in Ancient Philosophy", which (perhaps because I was in a slightly peevish mood) got me to thinking ...

... does this mean that "things are working over there" (that is, the group, as opposed to its being dysfunctional); or that the group is admirably hard at work (and they want to let us know); or that they are doing "intellectual work" (instead of enjoying leisure?) and really getting around to something constructive; or that they're working, at least, and maybe some other groups aren't; or that there are lots of working groups over there at Yale, and this is the one in ancient philosophy (in case you were confused); or that the group is sometimes at rest, but when it's sponsoring talks, then it's working?

Dunno -- couldn't figure it out. Not that it isn't an excellent enterprise; but this time the label puzzled me.

07 November 2007

Keeling Colloquium 2007

I don't wish to make the Ancient Philosophy Calendar redundant, only advertise it (see sidebar). Here's another great event posted on it, which begins today. (But isn't 'particular virtues' an homonymy? One might just as well discuss particular theories of generality.)

Seventh Keeling Colloquium: Particulars in Greek Philosophy
Wednesday 7th – Friday 9th November 2007


Wednesday 7th November

Robert Wardy (Cambridge)
Moral vision and legislating for the good in Aristotle
Respondent: Peter Adamson (KCL)

Carlo Natali (Venice)
Particular virtues in the NE of Aristotle
Respondent: Terry Irwin (Oxford)

Thursday 8th November

Morning paper cancelled

Verity Harte (Yale)
What’s a particular, and what makes it so? Some thoughts, mainly about
Respondent: Peter Adamson (KCL)

Friday 9th November

Christopher Gill (Exeter)
Particulars, selves and individuals in Stoic philosophy
Respondent: Angie Hobbs (Warwick)

Marwan Rashed (Paris)
Particulars in Alexander of Aphrodisias
Respondent: Peter Adamson (KCL)

All meetings will be in the Wilkins Old Refectory (almost opposite the
Main Library entrance, in the centre of the cloisters).

There will be a reception after the paper on Wednesday afternoon in the
Wilkins Terrace Restaurant, and a conference dinner on Wednesday evening
(speakers and respondents as guests of the Colloquium; others are welcome
to attend at their own expense).

06 November 2007

Philosophical Meditations

An event I discovered on the Ancient Philosophy Calendar, but too late to buy a reasonable plane ticket! (Yes, such a conference is in my view so valuable that it would be worth traveling across the Atlantic to attend!)

Marcel van Ackeren (Köln), Martin Lenz (Berlin), John Marenbon (Cambridge)

When Descartes called his famous work the Meditationes, he was looking back to a long tradition of philosophical meditations, which historians of philosophy have rarely investigated. The object of this conference is to repair that neglect by examining meditation in ancient and medieval philosophy, up to the sixteenth century. It will take place on the afternoon of Friday 9 November and in the morning and early afternoon of Saturday 10 November, at Trinity College (exact venue to be determined). All are welcome. My e-mail address is jm258@cam.ac.uk .

Friday, 9 November

Welcome & Introduction

Georg Rechenhauer (Regensburg)

Meditative Aspekte im vorsokratischen Denken


Christopher Gill (Exeter)
Stoic Meditations before Marcus Aurelius

Marcel van Ackeren (Köln)
„Say to yourself“ – The written Meditations by Marcus Aurelius


Jörn Müller (Bonn)
Augustine’s Cogito: The Meditative Discovery of the Inner Man

Nadja Germann (Freiburg i. Br.)
Avicenna on Meditation

Conference dinner, G2 Nevile’s Court, Trinity College*

Saturday, 10 November

John Marenbon (Cambridge)
Anselm on Meditation


Lydia Wegener (Köln)
“In meditatione est labor cum fructu” – Richard of St Victor’s Concept of Meditation in His ‘Benjamin’-Treatises

Chris Martin (Auckland)
Self Knowledge and the Limits of Certainty: Some Late Thirteenth Century Thinkers on the Problem of the Mind’s Access to Itself

Lunch ( a sandwich lunch will be provided for all those attending)

Martin Stone (Leuven)
16th Century Jesuits

Martin Lenz (Berlin)
Informal comments on Meditation and Mental Language

Final Discussion