Call for Abstracts: Poetic Philosophers and Philosophical Poets

Location: Apply via email

Poetic Philosophers and Philosophical Poets: The Relationship between Philosophy and Poetry in the Ancient World

Friday & Saturday, October 7-8, 2016

From the Pre-Socratic philosophers to the late antique Boethius, the ancient writers of the Mediterranean understood philosophy and poetry to be intricately connected. That is, poetry could be not only an aesthetically pleasing artistic medium to convey the tenets of one’s school, but also a device through which philosophical arguments could be constructed and supported in ways unavailable in prose. Our purpose in this conference is to examine both how and why philosophers employed poetry in their writings. Topics include, but are not restricted to:

  • How the use of poetry as a literary medium affects philosophical systems
  • Whether or not epic poets and philosophers share a common telos in their endeavors
  • Investigation of poetic texts that address philosophical themes, but are not generally regarded as philosophical
  • Use and abuse of archaic poetry by Classical and Hellenistic philosophers
  • Ancient doctrines of poetics and their implementation
  • How in-depth scholarly investigation of these texts through the lens of both philosophy and philology can improve our understanding of the author’s intentions

In addition to graduate papers, the conference will feature keynote addresses from

Prof. Richard Janko (Classics, University of Michigan),

Prof. Elizabeth Asmis (Classics, University of Chicago), and

Prof. David O’Connor (Philosophy, University of Notre Dame).

Lodging in individual rooms at Notre Dame’s campus hotel, some meals, and a partial travel subsidy will be provided to each accepted graduate speaker through the generous support of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words to by May 31, 2016. If you have any questions concerning this conference, please visit or contact John Izzo.