[SydPhil] Vardoulakis, On the Ancient Origins of Materialism

Dimitris Vardoulakis D.Vardoulakis at westernsydney.edu.au
Tue Jun 7 14:38:18 AEST 2022

The Philosophy Department at Fudan University invites you to a talk by
Dimitris Vardoulakis
On the Ancient Origins of Materialism

16 June 2022
7pm Shanghai time
Zoom Meeting ID: 850 7213 0584
Password: 220616

After Marx's doctorate on atomism, ancient physics has appeared as the basis of historical materialism. But historical materialism is primarily concerned with praxis, not with natural philosophy. Marx does not address the practical philosophy of the atomists, especially Epicurus, other than in a few sporadic comments in his notebooks. In this paper, I will suggest that if we consider the relation between ethics and ontology in epicureanism, we will find a core similarity with the politics of historical materialism. Specifically, the epicurean conception of phronesis (or practical judgment) entails social agonism, echoing key Marxist concepts such as the class struggle. I will show how epicurean phronesis is a radical political concept in comparison to how phronesis is understood in the other major Greek schools of philosophy, such as the Platonists, the Aristotelians and the Stoics.

This paper is a continuation of the argument about the epicurean providence of radical materialism in early modernity that I have developed in relation to Spinoza (Spinoza, the Epicurean, 2020), as well as of unacknowledged origins of continental philosophy in materialism (The Ruse of Techne: Heidegger's Magical Materialism, forthcoming).

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Dimitris Vardoulakis
Western Sydney University
School of Humanities and Communication Arts
Bankstown Campus, 1.1.70
Locked Bag 1797
Penrith, NSW 2751

tel: +61 2 9772 6808<tel:+61%202%209772%206808>
Chair of the Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy: https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/YIfkCL7EwMfPXONM8IBFwY0?domain=ascp.org.au

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