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Nellie Wallace Lectures

Next Lecture

Prof Marwan Rashed
Tuesday at 5pm (weeks 3 to 8) in the Lecture Room, Radcliffe Humanities.

Tuesday 29th October

Plato’s Timaeus (I)— Narratology.

I shall address some questions about narratology, which will help us to better understand some of the main aspects of Plato’s doctrine in the Timaeus. Of special interest will be for us the first lines of the dialogue (17A-B), the implicit presentation of Timaeus as a Pythagorean of the Archytas type (19E-20A) and Critias’ aporetical genealogy (20D sqq.). Some tentative conclusions will be drawn about the importance of the “genealogical” theme in the Timaeus.

Tuesday 5th November

Plato’s Timaeus (II) — Participation in the Timaeus.

I shall examine how Plato’s doctrine of participation is dealt with in the Timaeus. My main contention will be to show that it is presented in order to meet Plato’s own criticisms in the Parmenides. I shall envisage again, from this point of view, the relationship between Plato’s late ontology and Aristotle’s doxographical account of his thought, in Metaphysics A 6 in particular.

Nellie Wallace Lecture Poster

Tuesday 12th November

Plato’s Timaeus (III) — Why Possibly Five Worlds?

I shall focus on what appears to be the main enigma of the dialogue, the second proof for the unicity of the world (55C-D). I shall propose a new interpretation, not in terms of Plato’s elementary physics as commonly assumed since Plutarch, but against the background of Plato’s mathematical ontology.

Tuesday 19th November

Plato’s Timaeus (IV) — Fate and Biology.

This last lecture on the Timaeus will be devoted to the third part of the monologue, where Plato expounds his biology. I shall try to show that this part is less biological than metaphysical.  Plato’s develops a theodicy, aiming at showing that the Demiurge, even if he wished that the world be what it is, is not responsible for the evil occurring in it.

Tuesday 26th November

Boethus of Sido (I) — General Ontology.

Boethus of Sido (1st c. BC) is one of the first commentators on Aristotle, and one of the most interesting. He is a true philosopher, engaged in a lively debate with the Platonists and, most of all, the Stoics about what it is to be a real being. I shall envisage some aspects of his ontology, specifically his doctrine of relation.

Tuesday 3rd December

Boethus of Sido (II) — Syllogistics and Ontology.

I shall dwell upon a text of Themistius transmitted only in Arabic, devoted to the question of the perfection of the syllogisms of the first figure, to show how Boethus understood Aristotle’s syllogistics in accordance with his ontological stance. 


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