Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ancient Philosophy Society 2011 Meeting, Part Two

(All pictures were taken by me at the Sundance resort during the conference)

Day Two Continued (see my previous post for details)

Panel: The Evolution of Nature in Early Greek Thought

"'Now that it has left its stump on the mountain;' the Withdrawal of Nature in the Iliad I"
by Thomas Thorp of Saint Xavier University

This is the paper I was asked to comment on and I am extremely excited by the project. The work of Tom I am familiar with, primarily this paper and an earlier one presented at the meeting of the APS in New York several years ago, tends to focus upon a careful reading of the use of particularly important words within Homer and the implications this use has for philosophical issues, especially those connected to social and political concerns.

In this paper Tom focused upon the first use of the concept of nature within the Iliad and, therefore, arguably the first documented use we find of the concept in western history. His provocative point was that the first time nature appears in the Iliad it does so on its verbal form, Phuo, rather than the substantive Phusis. In other words, nature's first appearance is as an event of begetting. Furthermore, this verbal use is the origin of the substantive noun for nature. Tom suggested that it wasn't until Aristotle's work that we find a fully developed concept of nature as a self-developing ordered system.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ancient Philosophy Society 2011 Meeting, Part One

I just returned from this year's meeting of the Ancient Philosophy Society at the Sundance Resort in Utah. I have been attending the APS for several years now and have had the opportunity to both present and repeatedly offer comments to this incredibly rigorous group. I am happy to say that this year's meeting was probably the best conference I have ever attended. It was sponsored by Utah Valley University and hosted by Michael Shaw. Michael and those who assisted him, primarily the two Program Coordinators of the UVU Honors Program Tiffany Nez and Allen Hill, all worked exceptionally hard to bring about a very successful conference. I would like to thank each of them, but especially Allen Hill who helped me repeatedly throughout my stay and was a lot of fun to hang out with.

I also had the opportunity to meet many of the UVU philosophy undergraduates and I found them all to be extraordinarily well educated and intelligent. They are a testament to the superb educational work of the UVU philosophy faculty. In particular they reflected the amazing talents of the faculty I had the pleasure to spend time with including Michael Shaw, Shannon Mussett and Pierre Lamarche.

In this and the following posts I would like to provide a summary of the conference for those who were not able to attend. I hope that it will also encourage those who have not previously been members of the Ancient Philosophy Society to join.