Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Posts Tagged ‘Plato

David Butorac on ancient and mediaeval conceptions of nature

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I’ll be giving a talk at Istanbul University in the department of philosophy tomorrow (Wednesday), Oct 30 (Seminar room 206, starting at 15:30). The talk is entitled, “‘The heavens declare the glory of the Lord’? Reflections on the instability of Nature in the Ancient and Mediaeval World”. The paper will discuss both the positive and negative sides of the pre-early modern concept of nature, where, on one hand, everything is full of gods (Thales) and nature is considered as divine (Greek) or created ‘good’ (Abrahamic). One would think that, as such, it provides the mind with a stable object of thought. However, on the other hand, I will argue it is precisely its possession of some imbued content, even if it is divine, that renders nature unstable. Flight from nature is the result. I will argue that Descartes by reducing the natural world to res extensa resolves precisely this instability and which thereby allows the secrets of nature of be revealed.


Written by davidbutorac

October 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm

3-day seminar on Parmenides and Plato at GSÜ (July 15th, 17th, 19th)

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“Ontology as Wisdom Practice:

Parmenides’ Poem, Plato’s Republic (Book 1), Ion and Parmenides

Summer Seminar at Galatasaray University

July 15th, 17th, 19th, 2013.

Seminar leader: Eric Sanday (University of Kentucky)

Logistics: The seminar will take place from 18:00 to 20:00 at the Seminar Room at GSU. If you encounter problems getting in the university, call Ömer Orhan Aygün at 0543-3815091. The sessions will be in English. Hesiod’s Theogony is also a recommended secondary reading.

Content: The purpose of this seminar is to study what is called in the Platonic dialogues the “turning of the soul from becoming to being.” We’ll start with reflecting on the difference between being and beings in Parmenides’ poem. We’ll then see how Socrates’ appeal to forms as a normative basis for knowledge and expertise in Republic 1 and Ion draws on the ontological insights we were invited to witness in the poem. In the third session, which is on the first part of Plato’s Parmenides, we’ll see that the ontological insight in the poem and in Republic 1 is immediately subject to, and intelligible in terms of, categories that we know cannot properly apply to being.  That is to say:  we can win for ourselves true insight into the meaning of being, and yet we cannot help but submit this insight to inappropriate categories. The practical ramifications of this study are significant. I claim that it provides us with a model of rationality and divinity that is caringly attentive to the sources of being while remaining properly self-critical.  In short, what we win from this study is a robust conception of rational theology that has a praxical dimension and does not fall prey to certain key historical misconceptions and misappropriations of the Platonic project.

Written by Ömer Aygün

July 11, 2013 at 12:18 pm

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Jeremy Bell at Fatih Üniversitesi

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Taking Pains: Plato on the Care of Self and Others

Mon. 10 Sept. 2012 12:00 noon

Hadımköy Campus, room A-306 (İbn-i Haldun Anfisi, previously known as Blue Hall)

Speaker’s abstract:

In this paper, I analyze the relationship between ethics and politics in Plato’s thought in order to demonstrate that Plato understood this relationship to be characterized by an ineradicable element of agonism and instability.  Drawing upon texts such as the Apology, Alcibiades I, Gorgias, and Symposium, as well as upon Foucault’s late works, I take the epimeleia heautou, “the care of the self,” as the organizing theme of my analysis, in order to show that this agonism has the aporetic result that, though Plato conceived of the ethics of the care both of oneself and others as the truest form of statesmanship, he was nevertheless unwilling or unable to generalize it into an unproblematic political system.

How to reach us:

By public transport: Thankfully, the metrobus extension has been completed. Direction TÜYAP, get off one stop before terminus (misleadingly called Hadımköy), take the blue bus 418 or the yellow (sometimes green or red and white) HT18 towards Hadımköy (ca. 15 min. to Fatih Kampüsü)

By car: leave the TEM at Hadımköy gişeleri, turn right and follow the signs for Fatih Üniversitesi