Colloquium (David Sedley, Cambridge)
Thursday March 21, 2019, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
The department welcomes Emeritus Laurence Professor of Ancient Philosophy David Sedley (Cambridge University) to deliver the Edith Bruce Lecture on Immortality. Professor Sedley’s research is in 1st century BC philosophy and Plato’s Phaedo. His publications include Creationism and its Critics in Antiquity, 2007 (Berkeley) and The Midwife of Platonism: Text and Subtext in Plato’s Theaetetus, 2004 (Oxford).
Theological Dualism and the Origins of Greek Philosophy
Western philosophy traditionally starts in the 6th century BCE with the Milesian monists: Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes. The contention of this lecture will be that their monism was preceded by, and probably a reaction to, an even earlier thesis — dualism. For an archaic dualism is present, or at least reflected, in Hesiod’s poem Theogony (ca. 700 BCE), where two divine families, the descendants of Earth and the descendants of Chaos, coexist yet never interbreed. The second half of the lecture will chart the subsequent fortunes of dualism in the period down to Plato, and ask whether it eventually emancipated itself from those theological beginnings.