27 November 2020 Start
27 November 2020 End
4 pm CET Time
France and the USA Chicago, Harvard, Paris, Besançon (Online / Zoom)

e-mail.: [email protected]
Website e-mail.: [email protected]
e-mail.: [email protected]

Anaximander, the bark of the tree and the growth of the universe

Friday 27 November, 2020

Arnaud Macé (Université de Franche-Comté, laboratoire “Logiques de l’agir”) will lecture on “Anaximander, the bark of the tree, and the growth of the universe”. This lecture is the first session within the third round of online seminars of the project Phusis kai Phuta (nature and plants), (University of Chicago).


In this presentation, Macé will try to show that Anaximander found in plants and trees the inspiration for a very specific use of analogies: analogies of process rather than of structure or form. The transfer of process from tree growth and from the breaking off of the bark to the cosmogonical stage of the universe or to the embryology of primal living beings does not entail identity of structures, but only of operation. By doing so Anaximander explores a heuristical use of analogy, that later science and medicine will take over.

About the seminar

The seminar will take place on zoom. Everyone is welcome to attend, free registration is required. Please email the organizers at [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected]. we will be happy to share the seminar link with you.

Nature and Plants; the project

The purpose of this project is to gather and share ongoing research on nature (φύσις) and plants (φυτά) in ancient Greece. It is based on a regular online seminar and yearly conferences. The range is from Homer to the Vth century for our first series of webinars and the first conference, and then including IVth century authors and beyond for the second series.

Our main interests are i) the representation of plants and vegetal processes in Greek thought and literature, with an emphasis on the linguistic analysis of the vegetal lexicon (e.g. φύω, θάλλω, ἀνθέω, βλαστάνω, ῥιζόω and their cognates and derivatives), throughout all sources, whether poetic, philosophical or technical; ii) the use of plants as analogical or metaphorical models for various areas of experience and speculation (such as cosmogony and cosmology, politics and society, the body, kinship, ethics, psychology, etc.), thus assessing how much botanical and agricultural practices might have nourished the development of Greek thought.


Alessandro Buccheri, Center for Hellenic Studies; formerly Labex HASTEC – Centre Jean Pépin

Arnaud Macé, Université de Franche-Comté, Logiques de l’Agir EA 2274

Leon Wash, University of Chicago