Blogs > Liberty and Power > Briefing for a Descent into Hellenistic

Nov 15, 2005 2:15 pm

Briefing for a Descent into Hellenistic

[cross-posted at Austro-Athenian Empire]

Tomorrow morning I’m off to the Northeastern Political Science Association meetings in Philadelphia to present a paper on “Three Conceptions of Nature in Hellenistic Political Thought.” Here’s the abstract:

Hellenistic thought makes use of three different conceptions of nature: 1. nature as the default condition that will obtain if no effort is made to avoid it; 2. nature as an original simplicity that must be recovered through removal of conventional accretions; and 3. nature as an ideal telos to be achieved through moral education. The relations among these three conceptions and their implications for Hellenistic political philosophy will be explored.

Mainly I talk about how the Epicureans combined all three conceptions while the Stoics moved from (2) to (3). I’m also serving as a discussant on Fred Miller’s “Aristotle on Law,” Charles Butterworth’s “Philosophy of Law in Medieval Judaism and Islam,” and Anthony Lisska’s “Thomas Aquinas and the Foundations for a Secular Theory of Natural Law.” (All of this grows out of our various contributions to Fred Miller’s forthcoming anthology A History of Philosophy of Law from the Ancient Greeks to the Scholastics.)

Back to blogging next week!

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