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Myth and Literature in Ancient Philosophy

15-16 April 2011


Myth was the constant companion of philosophy in the ancient world. Thinkers recorded, interpreted and reinvented myths for philosophical purposes. They reflected on the relationship  between myths and rational discourse, between mythos and logos. Just as intimately related to philosophy is literature. Philosophers in the ancient world chose to express themselves in a wide variety of literary forms: poems, dialogues, treatises, and commentaries, while reflecting on the significance of such choices.

For more details please visit the conference website.


Friday, 15 April

1330-1500 Keynote: Prof Catherine Osborne (University of East Anglia), Literary Genres and Judgements of Taste: Aristotle on Empedocles and Plato on Science and Mythology

1500-1515 BREAK

1515-1630 Laetitia Monteils-Laeng (University of Caen), Destiny and Responsibility: What is Left for Human Freedom in the Myth of Er?
with comments by Carol Atack (Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge) 

1630-1745 Claire Kirwin (Magdalen College, Oxford), Plato's Cave and Nietzsche's Workshop
with comments by Matthew Duncombe (Peterhouse, Cambridge)

1745-1800 BREAK

1800-1915 Chiara Ferella (University of Pisa), The Proem of Empedocles' Physika: Towards a New Reconstruction
with comments by Ben Harriman (Magdalene College, Cambridge)

1930 DINNER (informal)

Saturday, 16 April

0930-1000 COFFEE

1000-1115 Eliska Luhanova (Charles University, Prague and Paris I, Pantheon-Sorbonne), Blessed Life without Philosophy: Plato and Hesiod on the Prehistory of Man and World
with comments by Christina Hoenig (Clare Hall, Cambridge)

1115-1230 Emma Park (University College, Oxford), Between Epicurus and Plato: Lucretius' Soul-Vessel Image and its Philosophical Consequences
with comments by Dhananjay Jagannathan (St. John's College, Cambridge)

1230-1400 LUNCH for registered participants

1400-1515 Vanessa de Harven (University of California, Berkeley), Everything is Something: How the Stoics Countenance Creatures of Mythology
with comments by Tamer Nawar (Queens' College, Cambridge)

1515-1545 BREAK

1545-1715 Keynote: Dr Kurt Lampe (Bristol University), Stoic Theology, Mythology, and Masochism in Cornutus and Musonius Rufus

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