20.2-28.2 Intensive seminar course: Phusis and Logos, Nature and Form

Dr Maria Balaska will visit the philosophy department for two weeks in February and will give an intensive seminar course on “Phusis and Logis: Nature and Form”. The course can be taken by undergraduates who have done at least 25 credits of philosophy, and by PhD students. If you write an essay in connection with the course, you can gain 5 credit points. Send Martin Gustafsson a mail if you are participating. It’s also possible to follow the seminars without taking any course credits.

The schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, February 20, 12.15-13.45 (Saussure)

Wednesday, February 21, 12.15-13.45 (Simone Weil)

Tuesday, February 27, 12.15-13.45 (Saussure)

Wednesday, February 28, 12.15-13.45 (Simone Weil)


Course description:

Phusis and Logos, Nature and Form

What can Aristotle’s concept of phusis teach us about the essence of nature? How is life form related to logical form? What must nature be like if it is intelligible? And what does it mean to say that nature is intelligible in the first place? Asking such questions, during this seminar we will investigate the shortcomings of a mechanistic concept of nature, against the challenging richness of a teleological perspective.

Readings *

Grene, Marjorie. 1974. The Understanding of Nature: Essays in the Philosophy of Biology (Volume 23), Chapter 1 ”Causes”, pp. 1-12

Lear, Jonathan. 1988. Aristotle, The desire to understand. Cambridge University Press, Chapter 2 ”Nature”, pp. 15-54

Thompson, Michael. 2008. Life and Action. Harvard University Press, Part One (Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4), pp. 25-82

Aristotle. 2018. Physics. Book 2, translated by C.D.C Reeve, Hackett Publishing. pp. 20-37. (Please use this translation).


* The order of readings is aimed to help progressive understanding; it is linked to the degree of difficulty of the texts and to which text works better as a foundation for the other texts. It is not linked to the order of discussion during the seminars.

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