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Philosophy Professors Host Saturday Lecture Series

Philosophy professors Mark Anderson, Andrew Davis and Melanie Walton will lecture on “Ancient Greek Philosophy: The Foundations of Western Intellectual History” each Saturday during the month of February as part of the Nashville Parthenon’s Saturday Series.

“The series is always on an ancient Greek topic, such as tragedy and history. Greek philosophy is a major component of Greek history,” Anderson said. He previously taught two other series for the Nashville Parthenon.

The talks will be held 10:30 a.m. to noon in the Parks and Recreation Board Room at Oman Drive and Park Plaza. The cost is $60 for the general public and $50 for conservancy members. To register, call (615) 862-8431. Click here for more information.

Saturday, Feb. 4: The Presocratic Philosophers by Mark Anderson, assistant professor of philosophy
The Presocratics were the earliest Greek philosophers; their work laid the foundations for western science, philosophy, and theology. Chronologically they appear after Homer and before Socrates. Significant figures include Heraclitus, who influenced the ancient Stoics and, much later, Friedrich Nietzsche; Pythagoras, of the Pythagorean Theorem and the idea of the “music of the spheres”; Parmenides, often called “the father of logic”; and Democritus, one of the first to say that nature is composed of atoms.

Saturday, Feb. 11: Plato by Mark Anderson, assistant professor of philosophy
Plato was perhaps the most famous and influential follower of Socrates. He founded a school/research institution known as the Academy; he composed over thirty important and influential dialogues; his influence on western philosophy and theology is immeasurable. A famous twentieth century philosopher called the history of western philosophy “a series of footnotes to Plato.”

Saturday, Feb. 18: Aristotle by Andrew Davis, assistant professor of philosophy
Aristotle was a student of Plato who later founded his own school (the Lyceum). He exercised an immense influence on medieval Islamic and Christian philosophy; he was the first to systematize the laws of logic; he studied and wrote about everything from Physics and Metaphysics, to Politics, Poetry, and Zoology.

Saturday, Feb. 25: Hellenistic Philosophy by Melanie Walton, assistant professor of philosophy
This period is probably the one best known to non-specialists. The major Hellenistic schools were Epicureanism, associated with the doctrine that pleasure is the highest good (hedonism); Stoicism, associated with the doctrine that good and bad are dependent upon human judgment (widely influential among the Romans); and Neoplatonism, deriving from Plotinus and influential to the development of rational mysticism and some aspects of Christian theology (St. Augustine was a Neoplatonist prior to his conversion).