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Philosophy Department Plans Spring Colloquium April 15

Public Relations
Posted: Tuesday Apr 9, 2013

April 9, 2013

Dr. Gregory MacIsaac, associate professor of humanities at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, will be the featured speaker at the annual spring colloquium sponsored by the school of humanities and fine arts and its department of philosophy at 7 p.m. Monday, April 15 in the Luparello Lecture Hall in the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion on the campus of Saint Vincent College. Admission is free and open to the public.

The presentation is titled, “Plotinus: Building Neoplatonism Out of Plato and Aristotle.”

“Once upon a time it was possible to tell the history of philosophy by jumping directly from Aristotle to Descartes,” MacIsaac commented. “In this story Augustine and Aquinas might receive honorable mention, but as outstanding religious thinkers, not as philosophers. This version of history was based on the misconception that philosophical schools in late antiquity, and the Christian authors whom they influenced, were engaged in an intellectual activity fundamentally different than that of their classical forebears.”

“Contemporary scholarship of pagan Middle and Neoplatonic authors has exploded this myth,” he continued. “I will discuss some of the main ways that Plotinian Neoplatonism was constructed by posing questions that arise in Plato and Aristotle, and proposing solutions that are extensions rather than contradictions of these two thinkers.”

A graduate of King’s College Halifax and the Dalhousie Departments of Classics, he holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame. He has been Chercheur Étranger at the École Pratique des Hautes Études/C.N.R.S., Paris, and a visiting fellow at the Centre for the Study of the Platonic Tradition, Trinity College, Dublin, and at the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London. He has published a series of articles dealing mainly with aspects of Proclus’ epistemology. His current research is on Plato’s ‘later’ dialogues, especially with regard to their relation to the Presocratics.

For more information, contact Dr. Margaret Watkins, 724-805-2566 or margaret.watkins@stvincent.edu.

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