Ex uno nihil fit nisi unum: Greek, Latin, Arabic, and Hebrew Perspectives. (Abstracts due Jan. 22 to Eric Perl <Eric.Perl@lmu.edu>)
Michael Chase <email@example.com>
At the beginning of his Commentary on the Liber De Causis (lib. 1, tract. 1, cap. 16, p. 13, 69-71 Fauser), Albert the Great writes: “This proposition, that from what is one and simple, only what is one can result (ab uno simplici non est nisi unum) is written by Aristotle in a letter which is on the Principle of the Being of the Universe (qui est de principio universi esse), and it is taken up and explained by Al-Farabi, Avicenna and Averroes”.
The principle that from what is one only what is one can derive, lies at the basis of what is known as the Neoplatonic theory of emanation, and represents one answer to the age-old conundrum of how the Many can derive from the One. Its antecedents have been traced back to Alexander of Aphrodisias, Plotinus, and the pseudonymous Theology of Aristotle, while its influence has been discerned in Avicenna, Maimonides, and Thomas Aquinas, to name but a few. This panel solicits contributions on all aspects of this principle and the question it is intended to answer: from the Presocratics to the Middle Ages, in Greek, Latin, Arabic, or Hebrew. What are the origins of this principle? Is there any possibility that, as Albert maintains, could Aristotle have actually said such a thing? How is it supposed to solve the problem of the origin of multiplicity? What was its influence on medieval thought, in all the languages of the Abrahamic tradition?
Beauty and Pedagogy in Neoplatonic Thought
This panel invites papers that explore the relationship between beauty and pedagogy in Neoplatonic thought, its sources and its influences. Pedagogy includes multiple strategies, methods, and aims to acquire a knowledge, art, or practice that induces conversion of the soul. Beauty signals a form that draws the soul upward; it begins with appearance, but compels a movement beyond appearances to their source.
The relationship between beauty and pedagogy surfaces a multitude of questions: What is a proper judgment about beauty? How does one discern the power of beauty? What types of beautiful things aid pedagogy – music, virtue, bodies? If the goal of pedagogy is directed to the best kind of life, how
Does beauty contribute to that goal? These and similar issues are invited for discussion.
Conceptions of the Soul in Plato, Aristotle, and the Platonic Tradition
In several dialogues, including the Phaedo, Republic, Phaedrus, and Timaeus, Plato investigated the nature and function of the soul. Aristotle criticized Plato and in his turn created his own theory of soul. Later Platonists used Plato and Aristotle’s as models for their own interpretations of the soul.
This panel will focus on this evolution of thought on the nature and function of the soul. Contributors may wish to consider such questions as how the doctrine of soul changed over time, how individual authors modified earlier views and their reasons for doing so, the problems raised by the soul’s immortality and transmigration, etc.
Nature, Ecology, and Neoplatonism
Marilynn Lawrence <Pronoia12@gmail.com>
What would Plato say about the extinction of species? What would Plotinus and other neoplatonists say about climate change and plastic in the ocean? For all of our love of neoplatonism and for the nuances and surprises we find in neoplatonic writers, we shouldn’t lose sight that we are in an ecological crisis brought on by humanity’s effect on the environment. Platonic and neoplatonic views of nature differ from the way we thinking about the natural world today. For example, nature was an activity of the World Soul for Plotinus. Can we adapt ancient ways of thinking to create new ways of relating to nature? Can the work of neoplatonic writers be used in combination with other philosophies and disciplines to provide a better approach to the ecology crisis? This panel would like to explore these questions along with any topic that relates to neoplatonic understanding of nature, ecosystems, and the environment.
The Good and the Beautiful in the Platonic Tradition
Michael Wagner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Papers are invited on the concepts of good and beauty (and/or the beautiful), and their relationship to one another, in Platonic/Neoplatonic philosophies from all periods (classical, medieval, renaissance, and modern/contemporary) of Platonic thought. Papers may also examine their place and role in such topic areas as aesthetics, ethics, psychology, and conceptions of eros.