Workshop in Ancient Philosophy (Thursday - Week 1, TT22)

Workshop in Ancient Philosophy

In his paper “Idealism and Greek Philosophy: What Berkeley Missed and Descartes Saw”, Myles Burnyeat purports to show not only that idealism was not endorsed by any ancient philosopher, but also that it could not have been endorsed before Descartes; and that Greek philosophy was dominated by an “unquestioned, unquestioning assumption of realism”. By “idealism”, Burnyeat means mainly Berkeley’s immaterialism, but he also extends his demonstration to something more akin to Kant’s transcendental idealism. After reminding that this last version has more historical credentials to the title of idealism than Berkeley’s doctrine, I confront Burnyeat’s reading to Natorp’s interpretation in Platos Ideenlehre, subtitled “An introduction to idealism”. Natorp indeed argues that there is on the contrary a kind of underlying idealism in the whole Greek philosophy, on the basis of an interpretation of the meaning of the verb “to be” which has found support in more recent research. The main ancient texts discussed will be the first part of the Theaetetus and the short and difficult argument of Parmenides 132b-c.

If you would like to go out to dinner with the speaker after the meeting, then please contact the chair of the meeting before Tuesday of that week. The meals of the chair and the speaker are covered by the faculty; others attend at their own expense.

The Seminar will take place in the Ryle Room. Colleagues and students who are unable to attend in person are welcome to join remotely via MS Teams, by clicking this link. You will be redirected to a page in which you will be prompted to sign in with your Oxford SSO.

Workshop in Ancient Philosophy Convenors: Ursula Coope, Simon Shogry and Luca Castagnoli