Professor Malcolm Schofield (Cambridge University) will introduce the topic: “Infancy and childhood in ancient Greek Philosophy”. These seminars will not be concerned with ancient theories of childhood development – whether physical or psychological – as such, nor with associated ideas about education. The aim rather is to explore the way some ancient thinkers found infancy and childhood providing them with fruitful ways into exploration of major philosophical questions about the good life, and indeed about the meaning of human life. In short, Professor Schofield shall suggest that these philosophers found infancy and childhood concepts “good for thinking with”.
The seminar on infancy (BSA, Tuesday 17 February) will focus on the Hellenistic philosophies of Epicurus and the Stoics on the one hand, and on sections of Plato’s Timaeus and Laws on the other. Key texts: Cicero de finibus 1.9.29-30 (Epicureanism), Diogenes Laertius 7.85-6, Cicero de finibus 3.5.16-17, Seneca Letter 121, and Hierocles Ethikê Stoicheiosis1* (Stoicism), all well discussed by Jacques Brunschwig in ‘The cradle argument’, in M. Schofield & G. Striker (eds.), The Norms of Nature; and Plato Laws 2.653a-654a, 664e-665a, 7.788d-793a, Timaeus 41d-44c.
The Seminar is co-organized by the BSA and the Research Centre for Greek Philosophy (Academy of Athens) Philosophy Seminar.