[SydPhil] Rick Benitez and Dennis Schmidt, Oct 4 -5, Western Sydney U

Jacinta Sassine 16992708 at student.westernsydney.edu.au
Sat Sep 30 16:52:35 AEST 2017

This is an invitation to the Philosophy and the Good Postgraduate Conference organised by the Philosophy at Western Student Group at Western Sydney University.

Date: 4th – 5th October, 2017
Time: 1 – 6pm (both days)
Location: Western Sydney University, Bankstown Campus. Room BA.2.G.01 (Wednesday, 4th October) and Room BA.3.G.55 (Thursday, 5th October)

Keynote presentations will be given by Professor Rick Benitez (University of Sydney) and Professor Dennis J. Schmidt (Western Sydney University).

Professor Rick Benitez

Title: Boy! What Boy? (A Plea for Meno’s Slave)

Abstract:  This paper corrects the common misconception that Meno's slave (in Plato's dialogue of that name) is a boy.  The first part of the paper shows how long-standing and widespread that misconception is. The description of Meno's slave as a "slave-boy" goes back at least to Benjamin Jowett, and the phrase is still commonly seen today in books and journal articles in philosophy and classics generally, even in presses and journals with the highest reputation. The paper then shows that the Greek term pais, often translated as "boy", is when addressed to slaves used to indicate their condition, not their age.  When the text of the Meno is examined carefully, it is clear that there is no evidence that Meno's slave is a boy.  In fact, it is clear that the expression "boy" is used in relation to his condition, not in relation to his age.  It thus demeans us to refer to Meno's slave as a "slave-boy" or just "boy", since it either displays our ignorance about the use of the term pais or, worse, makes us complicit in using a term of condescension. The paper concludes by suggesting that the proposed correction is philosophically significant, since it opens an investigation into Plato's depiction of slaves that is otherwise blocked by supposing the slave to be a boy.

Date & Time: Wednesday, 4th October, 4:30 – 6pm

Venue: Western Sydney University, Bankstown Campus, Room BA.2.G.01


Professor Dennis J. Schmidt

Title: On the Image of the Good: The Starry Sky and the Moral Law

Abstract: There are many good reasons we find it difficult even to begin to speak of “the good” today.  This idea, which Plato called “the highest idea” and which was so decisive in the formation of Western philosophy, has undergone so many incarnations over the millennia and has been enlisted in the name of so many ends that it seems to be an empty notion and almost a matter of philosophical kitsch.  And yet, one abandons this idea only reluctantly since its promises cannot be ignored.
           To this end, the purpose of this paper is to take another look at the idea of the good.  More precisely, the intention is not so much to examine the conceptual arguments about the idea of the good, but to think about one image, one view we have, that has long been associated with the idea of the good: the starry sky.  We find the kinship between the image of the starry sky in such diverse figures as Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Dante, and Kant – among others.  All of these figures take the look to the stars as somehow akin to the self-presentation of the idea of the good.  This paper will make references to how this is the case in these figures, but – more importantly – the effort will be made to ask what it might mean to think this kinship of the starry sky and the moral law today.

Date & Time: Thursday, 5th October, 4:30 – 6pm

Venue: Western Sydney University, Bankstown Campus, Room BA.3.G.55


Entry is free. For all inquiries, please contact Jacinta Sassine on 16992708 at student.westernsydney.edu.au<mailto:16992708 at student.westernsydney.edu.au>.

Kind Regards,
Jacinta Sassine
PhD candidate at Western Sydney University
President of Philosophy at Western Student Club
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