15 January 2008

A.A. Long at Yale

The Yale Working Group in Ancient Philosophy presents

Rationality in Greek Cosmology, Theology, and Ethics

a seminar led by

A. A. Long (University of California, Berkeley).

Sponsored by the Whitney Humanities Center.

Session #1: "Heraclitus on measure and the explicit emergence of rationality"
Friday 18 January 4:00-6:00pm, LC 317
Group dinner to follow.

Session #2: "Cosmic craftsmanship in Plato and Stoicism"
Saturday 19 January 12:00-2:00pm, LC 317
Lunch provided.

Session #3: "Eudaimonism, divinity, and rationality in Greek ethics"
Saturday 19 January 4:00-6:00pm, LC 317
Group dinner to follow.

For further information, please contact tim.clarke@yale.edu.


European observer said...

I think people are quite willing to take positions on the causes of and fixes for everything, especially down the pub and on blogs. Historians with a prior commitment over supernatural claims may constrain and limit narratives to exempt themselves like they would from jury service in the trial of a friend, or foe. Hard-liners might set up splinter groups of ‘engaged historians’ who only address and respond to those within their group. Metaphysical stances come in a fairly standard range and it’s quite predictable what positions off-duty historians would take on a ‘divine justice’ hypothesis: A deist will reject the theory by definition. One theist may find it plausible. Another theist may argue that God has no reason to dispense justice in people’s lifetimes (he’s got an eternity to lavish torment on us) and put it all down to the wolfish wickedness of free-willing humans. The atheist will of course deny God exists, the Buddhist will deny both that God exists and that evil exists, the agnostic will sit on every fence and a lively debate will ensue over these indubitably fascinating questions, except I completely fail to see what tools the on-duty historian might deploy to settle any of them, or what’s wrong with admitting that history lacks the machinery to settle each and every question of concern to humans. ‘Moral’ explanations may reveal more about historians than history: Who states ‘It’s immoral for Abraham to kill Isaac even though commanded to do so by God’ is no divine command theorist. But I’m probably still missing something; your position is rather subtly intricate and I’d like to know more about it. A couple of questions: Is it the suggestion that during the civil war all and only those responsible for slavery suffered? And is the ‘divine justice’ theory meant as an account of just the American civil war?

PS I’m not Anonymous, though not quite Eponymous either; I feel embarrassed to be posting under a random heading (and of course it’s your prerogative to take this post down, MP, no offence is intended and none will be taken), but also foolish to have so grossly misconstrued your position; it must have been my excitement at encountering Greek typeface.