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Symposia: Philosophy Among the Pots

What we can learn from ancient philosophers and how ancient philosophy still influences the modern world?
A lunch time series: Thursday 6 April 1-2pm and Thursday 20 April, 12 – 1 pm
Statue in front of a white building

The Chau Chak Wing Museum and the Discipline of Philosophy in the School of Humanities at the University of Sydney are combining to offer a series of stimulating lunchtime discussions on with researchers studying ancient Greek philosophy in Australia today. 

Topics will include: what role did women play in the development of Greek philosophy? What is the relationship between Greek philosophy and other intellectual traditions in the ancient Mediterranean, including Egypt? And how might a Greek political theorist react to the state of democracy in the world today?


From Citium to Nicopolis: How the Greeks and Romans Invented the Method For Happiness, Being Happy Beyond the Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune  

Thursday 6 April, 12–1pm

clouds in the sky with paper boats falling off a ledge

For the first presentation in our 2023 series Symposia which explores the impact of ancient philosophy on the modern world, join Dr Edward Spence in conversation with Dr Emily Hulme.

Stoicism is the subject of a number of current best-selling book. But how much of the self-help publishing boom is related to actual Stoic philosophy? Beginning in the Hellenistic period with Zenon of Citium, explore the ancient pathway to happiness as Edward discusses centuries of Stoic thought. 

Edward will also discuss how these thoughts are explored in his play Exile and Metamorphosis: The Poets and the Philosopher which will be performed at the Seymour Centre on 20 April. 

Free, limited capacity. 

Register here.

About the speakers

Dr Edward Spence is an Honorary Associate with Philosophy at the University of Sydney and a Research Fellow at the 4TU. Centre for Ethics and Technology, Netherlands. He has authored numerous books. He is also the founder and producer of the Theatre of Philosophy project that aims at the introduction of philosophy to the general public through drama and audience participation through discussion.

Dr Emily Hulme is lecturer in Philosophy at the School of Humanities at the University of Sydney.

Presented in conjunction with the Greek Festival of Sydney.

Must one have a beard to be a philosopher? Women and ancient Greek philosophy

Thursday 20 April, 12-1pm

Attic red figure hydria, Chrysis Painter, Athens, Greece, 420–410BC. Purchased with funds from Mr W G Kett esq. 1954. NM54.3.

While philosophy usually focuses on the study of abstract and universal questions, the philosopher has often been imagined in a very specific physical form: an erudite man of a respectable age—and, as put by the Roman author Lucian, “above all else he should have a long beard that would inspire confidence in those who…[seek] to become his pupils” (Harmon trans.).  Yet, women have been part of the history of philosophy from the beginning.

This presentation will present an overview of current work on the contributions of women to Greek philosophy. This includes women who participated directly in philosophical schools—such as Epicurean and Pythagorean women—as well as women like the poet Sappho and the midwife Phaenarete (Socrates’ mother) who were cited as intellectual inspirations by male philosophers. We’ll also touch on related topics, including arguments for the equality of women in the ancient world, the history of misogyny, the social conditions of women’s labour in antiquity, and where (after all) the image of the philosopher as a man with an impressive beard came from.

Free, limited capacity.

Register here

About the speaker

Dr Emily Hulme is a Lecturer in the Discipline of Philosophy at the University of Sydney, specialising in ancient Greek and Roman philosophy. Her research interests include Plato’s epistemology and ethics, philosophy of language from Parmenides to the Stoics, and arguments concerning the status of women in the ancient world. Her publication on 'Plato's Argument for the Inclusion of Women in the Guardian Class: Prospects and Problems' was published last year in The Routledge Handbook on Women and Ancient Greek Philosophy.