School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences Philosophy


Ancient Philosophy @ Edinburgh


Ancient Philosophy @ Edinburgh includes research interests in: Ancient Metaphysics, Ancient Ethics, Contemporary Metaphysics; Ancient and Medieval Philosophy and Science, Aristotle and Aristotelian Tradition; Greek society and ethics, emotions; Hellenistic Political Philosophy; Late Antiquity, and Early Christian Thought; Presocratics, Papyrology; Plato, Aristotle, Greek Ethics; Early Academy, Hellenistic Philosophy; Plato’s Moral and Political Theory, Political Utopias.


NameArea of research & supervision
Professor Theodore Scaltsas Ancient Metaphysics, Ancient Ethics, Contemporary Metaphysics (Philosophy)
Dr Inna Kupreeva Ancient and Medieval Philosophy and Science, Aristotelian Tradition (Philosophy)
Professor Douglas Cairns Greek society and ethics, emotions (Classics)
Dr Joachim Gentz Classical Chinese Philosophy (East Asian Studies)
Dr Benjamin Gray Greek ethical and political thought, especially fourth-century BC and Hellenistic (Classics)
Professor Andrew Erskine Hellenistic Political Philosophy (Classics)
Dr Simon Trepanier Presocratics, Papyrology (Classics)
Dr Sara Parvis Early Christian philosophy, Patristics (Divinity)


NameResearch interests
David B. Robinson Plato, Aristotle, Greek Ethics (Plato Text Unit, Honorary Fellow, Classics)
Christopher G. Strachan Plato, Presocratics, Early Academy, Hellenistic Philosophy (Plato Text Unit, Hon. Fellow, Classics)
Dr Stephen Watt Ancient Ethics and Politics, Moral Philosophy

Postgraduate degrees open to students with an interest in ancient philosophy

Plato text unit

Plato text unit imageA new edition of Volume I of the Oxford Classical Text of Plato (Oxford 1995) was produced by a team of scholars. The same scholars, W.S.M. Nicoll, D.B. Robinson and J.C.G. Strachan, joined by F.G. Hermann (Wales) and M. Joyal (Newfoundland), are continuing this project with a view to publication of Volume II in the near future. Three of these scholars work on this Project as Honorary Fellows in the Classics Department, while the Alan Coxon Library for this Project is housed in Philosophy. For more information about the Plato Text Unit please contact Prof Theodore Scaltsas.

Archelogos research projects

Archlogos imageWith the collaboration of fifty classical philosophers internationally, and artificial intelligence scientists, Archelogos creates databases of philosophical arguments for the purposes of philosophical research, teaching, and for the wider promotion of ancient philosophy. For information about Archelogos please contact the project director, Prof Theodore Scaltsas.

Archelogos database

The Arguments in Plato’s and Aristotle’s Works are published on the web at:

Ancient philosophy reading groups

Ancient Philosophy Reading Group: Faculty

Faculty from Scottish and Northern English universities who specialise in ancient philosophy meet in Edinburgh three times a year to read together chosen ancient philosophy texts (currently, Aristotle's Rhetoric). The dates for the meetings during the academic year 2013/14 are:

October 5 (Rhetoric 1.1-2, led by Prof. Christopher Rowe), February 8 (Rhet. 1.2-3, led by Prof. David Konstan (New York University)), May 3 (Rhet. 1.4-6, led by Prof. John Magee (University of Toronto)). 

Please send queries to do with this reading group to Inna Kupreeva.

Greek Reading Group: Faculty and Postgraduate Students

The group meets weekly on Tuesday afternoons, 17:15-18:45, in Room 1.01 DSB, to read and discuss chosen ancient philosophical texts in Greek. This year we are working through Plato's Philebus. Much of the discussion is focussed on the argument, so if you do not have Greek or do not wish to read and translate, but would like to participate in the discussion, you are welcome to attend.  

Please send queries to Inna Kupreeva.

Latin Reading Group: Postgraduate Students and Faculty

The group meets weekly on Friday afternoons, 17:30-18:30, in Room 5.01 DSB, to read and discuss chosen ancient philosophical texts in Latin. We are currently reading Augustine's De civitate dei. This group is mainly for those who have Latin. 

Please send your queries to Aslak Christensen and Jeff Johns.


Ancient Philosophy Lectures and Seminars in 2013/14

First Semester

September 30: David Sedley (Cambridge), 'Socrates’ “Second Voyage” (Plato, Phaedo 99d-102a)' (Master class in Ancient Philosophy Seminar I)

October 9: Fritz-Gregor Hermann (University of Wales at Swansea), 'Plato and Critias' (Classics Research Seminar)

October 28: Alan Cameron (Columbia University)
'The Life, Death and Work of Hypatia' (Classics Research Seminar)

November 4: Sarah Broadie (University of St Andrews), 'Does the Receptacle provide the answer to a problem about Forms?' (Master class with Ancient Philosophy Seminar I) 

November 6: Ǿyvind Rabbås (University of Oslo), 'Virtue and Morality in Aristotle'

November 8: Barbara Sattler (University of St Andrews) 'What is doing the explaining? And should we do it? An atomistic idea' (Philosophy Research Seminar)

November 13: Aglae Pizzone (Université de Genève) 'Imagination and Aesthetic Emotion between Paganism and Christianity' (Classics Research Seminar)

November 27: David Creese (Newcastle University) 'Hearing êthos in Ancient Greek Music' (Meeting of the Classical Association of Scotland)

Second Semester

January 17: Sarah Broadie (University of St Andrews), 'Corporeal gods, with reference to Plato and Aristotle' (Philosophy Research Seminar)

January 22: Luigi Battezzato (Università del Piemonte Orientale)
'Debates and deliberation in Euripides: the agon logon in context' (Classics Research Seminar)

February 11: Thomas Johansen (University of Oxford) Aristotle on phantasia (Master class with Ancient Philosophy Seminar II)

February 19: Andrew Gregory (UCL)
'Anaximander: some issues in constructing the history of Greek natural philosophy' (Classics Research Seminar)

March 7: Eyjólfur Emilsson (University of Oslo) 'Plotinus on Intellect' (Master class with Ancient Philosophy Seminar II)

March 18: Carlos Steel (Catholic University of Leuven), 'Athenian Neoplatonists on Intellect' (Master class with Ancient Philosophy Seminar II)

March 25: David Konstan (NYU), “Atoms and Minima in Epicurean Physics: Was There a Minimalist Geometry?” (Ancient Philosophy Circle)

March 28: A.E. Taylor Lecture, Catherine Rowett (UEA), see below

April 2: Margaret Maitland (National Museum of Scotland) 
'The Rhind Collection' (Classical Association of Scotland)

April 30: Donncha O'’Rourke (The University of Edinburgh)
'Papyrotechnics’ in the Roman poetry book' (Classical Association of Scotland)

May 1: John Magee (University of Toronto), "Boethius' Consolatio and Plato's Gorgias" (Ancient Philosophy Circle)

May 2: John Magee (University of Toronto) "The Mind of Calcidius" (Ancient Philosophy Circle)

May 2: John Magee (University of Toronto), Postgraduate workshop on textual criticism (Ancient Philosophy PG/Research Group)

May 7: Miriam Leonard (UCL) 'Tragedy and Revolution: Hannah Arendt and Karl Marx' (Classics Research Seminar)

May 14: Nino Luraghi (Princeton University) 'Stairway to heaven: the politics of memory in early Hellenistic Athens' (Classics Research Seminar)

Conferences and workshops

November 26: Ancient Philosophy Winter Postgraduate Conference:

9:00 - 9:10 Welcome

9: 15 - 10: 10 Ni Yu ‘Meno’s Paradox’

10:15 - 11:10 Niels Hermannsson, ‘Forms, opposites and animal breathing; Plato’s teleological explanations of life as we know it’

11:15 - 12:10 Juan Pablo Mira ‘Plato on the pleasure of music’

12:15 - 1:10 Yinlin Guan ‘The analysis of concept Wuwei in Laozi’

1:10 - 2:10 Lunch

2:15 - 3:10 Jeff Johns ‘On Eudemus of Rhodes, Fragment 88, 26-29 Wehrli, and the Aristotelian Reception of Timaeus 27D 5-28A4’

3:15 - 4:10 Jonathan Greig, ‘Plotinus' Implied Commentary on Plato's Parmenides

4:15 - 5: 45 Keynote lecture: Professor Øyvind Rabbas (University of Oslo), ‘Virtue and Morality in Aristotle’


Ancient Philosophy Summer Postgraduate Conference

June 9-10, 2014


Monday, 9 June

09:00 – 09:30 Coffee
09:30 – 09:40 Welcome
09:40 – 10:40 Manuel de Zubiria (Edinburgh) 'Heraclitus on Language'
10:50 – 11:50 Yinlin Guan (Edinburgh) 'Laozi and Plato on Happiness'
12:00 – 14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 15:00 Ni Yu (Edinburgh) 'Questioning slave boy and Socratic elenchus'
15:10 – 16:10 Juan Pablo Mira (Edinburgh) 'Music representation in Aristotle'
16:20 – 17:20 Shakira Lehmann (Edinburgh) 'Aristotle on phantasia'

Drinks and Dinner

Tuesday 10 June

09:00 – 09:30 Coffee
09:30 – 10:30 Christian Pfeiffer (LMU, Munich)
'Aristotle's natural philosophy and the study of body and magnitudes'
10:40 – 11:40 Jeff Johns (Edinburgh)
'On Alexander of Aphrodisias, De Motu et Tempore 97, 8-9:
'in se ipso vero est unum continuum sempiternum secundum disposicionem unam''
11:50 – 12:50 Jon Greig (Edinburgh)
'The relation of hypostasis (ὑπόστασις) and self-constitution (αὐθυπόστατον) in Proclus'
13:00 – 14:30 Lunch
14:30 – 15:30 Claudia Mirrione (Humboldt Universität, Berlin)
'Galen's theory of mixture of primary elements'
15:40 – 16:40 Sarah Cassidy (Edinburgh)
'Physiological Theories and the Reinvention of Epic in Apollonius Rhodius' Argonautica'
17:00 – 18:30 Keynote Lecture: Prof Christopher Rowe (Durham)
'Plato's Rhetorical Strategies: Writing for Philosophers, Writing for Non-Philosophers'


July: Ancient Philosophy MSc Workshop (details TBA)

A. E. Taylor Lecture

This is an annual lecture on ancient philosophy given by a distinguished academic. This year, the 19th A.E. Taylor Lecture will be given by Professor Catherine Rowett of the University of East Anglia (details coming soon). Last year, Stephen Menn of Humboldt University in Berlin and McGill University in Montréal delivered the 18th A.E. Taylor Lecture.


There is a large and active cohort of talented postgraduate students working on different topics in ancient philosophy:


General inquiries about studying ancient philosophy at Edinburgh should be directed to Prof Theodore Scaltsas or Dr Inna Kupreeva. Specific inquiries about the MSc in Philosophy with specialisation in Ancient Philosophy should be directed to Dr Alasdair Richmond, and about the MSc in Ancient Philosophy should be directed to Dr Inna Kupreeva.

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