Examining how the work of the ancient philosophers informs thinking and practice today Examining how the work of the ancient philosophers informs thinking and practice today

Whereas in some Schools, Ancient Philosophy is part of the study of Classics, at UEA this research is embedded in a philosophical context. While we care intensely about reconstructing the historical context and tracing the reception of ancient ideas in later thinkers and in literature and other aspects of Western culture, we are always looking with a certain awe and respect at the ancient thinkers as companions or even guides, who can cast a clearer light on our current philosophical inquiries. Scholarly exegesis, rooted in a sound understanding of antiquity, assists with this task. Our findings often lead us to question some problematic ways of thinking that constrain much modern philosophy. Our inquiries are both philosophical and meta-philosophical.

Some current areas of research:

  • The Presocratics; Pythagorean mathematics and politics; narratives of the birth of philosophy.
  • Plato: knowledge & opinion; definition; justice in the Republic; love and beauty; happiness; Plato's depiction of Socrates; Plato's depiction of Protagoras; reception of Plato and Socrates in Christian thought and in literature.
  • Aristotle: soul, perception, friendship, self awareness; the literary reception of Aristotle in the Early Modern period.
  • Neoplatonism and Christian Philosophy: Philoponus; The Arian heresy.
  • Wittgensteinian readings of ancient philosophy. Wittgenstein and Pyrrhonism.

We welcome applications from postgraduate students wishing to work on any of these topics. (Please feel free to email any of us to discuss supervisory and other arrangements.)

Southern Association for Ancient Philosophy

Catherine  Rowett is the Honorary Secretary of the Southern Association for Ancient Philosophy (SAAP) was founded in 1955, and meets annually for a short residential conference in September. The SAAP webpage is hosted on the PHI website.

Research seminar

A mixed ability ancient philosophy reading group (reading texts in Greek or Latin) meets occasionally during term. This seminar is accredited as a component in the research training programme for PhD students in the School.

Members of the School working in this area

Prof Catherine Rowett's interests in Ancient Philosophy span over a thousand years from the Presocratics, through Plato, Aristotle, Hellenistic Philosophy, Neoplatonism and the Early Christian period. Her work on Presocratic Philosophy is particularly well known. She has also published  important work on love and friendship, Aristotle's philosophy of mind, and the role of imagination and literary forms in philosophy. She is currently working on Plato's theory of knowledge. (See Publications and Academia.edu page: published as Catherine Osborne until 2011)