University of Pittsburgh

News & Events

CPAS Colloquia

Ralph M. Rosen, University of Pennsylvania

"Anatomy and Aporia in Galen's

On the Construction of Fetuses"

Friday, November 20, 2015, 3:30 p.m.

Room 206 Cathedral of Learning

Abstract:  Galen was well known for his insistence on scientific precision in the practice of medicine, and his own claims to authority often rested on his assertions that other medical writers (contemporary and historical) did not properly understand logical inference or empirical demonstration. One area of inquiry, however, that remained impenetrable even by scientific methods was the nature of the soul, particularly questions about its materiality, ontology, intentionality and teleology. Galen famously concedes his aporia about the soul at various points in his writings, and affirms the intractability of the problem in his late work. This frustration was particularly evident in his treatise On the Formation of the Embryo, where a focus on the origins and development of a new human being revives the large questions about how bodies are formed and animated by a soul from the moment of conception. This presentation will examine how Galen approaches these questions with the specific concerns of embryology in mind. It will discuss in particular the tension in this work between Galen’s desire for accuracy and analytical completeness, and the limits of scientific expertise that a subject such as this entails. Aspects of Galen’s scientific methodology will be considered as they relate to Galen’s struggle in On the Formation of the Embryo to account for the most fundamental questions of corporeal existence and development.


Jessica Moss, NYU

March 21, 2016, 2:00 p.m.

Title TBA


Evan Keeling, UVA and University of São Paulo, Brazil

"Why does Aristotle Need Appearance?"
Thursday, November 13, 2014, 4:30 p.m.
1001-B Cathedral of Learning


CPAS Colloquiums

Gretchen Reydams-Schils, University of Notre Dame

"Calcidius on Matter"

Abstract:  Calcidius, the 4th c. AD Latin commentator on Plato's Timaeus, provides one of the most intricate analyses of the principle 'matter' available to us from Antiquity, which includes material from Aristotle and the Stoics (among others).  In this paper, I will focus on how the view he ends up endorsing amounts to a very distinctive and interesting form of minimal dualism.
Friday, February 6, 2015, 3:30 p.m.

208-A Cathedral of Learning


Dr. Klaus Corcilius, University of California at Berkely

"Receptivity, Spontaneity, and Basic Perceptual Discrimination in Aristotle"

This is a paper about Aristotle’s account of basic sensory discrimination (krinein) and the reception of perceptual qualities without their matter in the De Anima II.11 and 12: Aristotle’s philosophy of nature makes qualities objective features of physical objects. The challenge he faces in accounting for their perception (aisthêsis) is therefore less dramatic than in philosophers with a different attitude towards nature and qualities: on the most basic level, it consists in explaining the separation of qualities from their matter and their consequent reception by the perceiver. Based on Aristotle’s views about animal receptivity and spontaneity and their relation to the perceptual soul, the paper offers an interpretation of sensory discrimination as the separation of qualities from their matter, on which he can meet the challenge and explain the perception of basic qualities. I end with a brief discussion of higher forms of perceptual discrimination.


Friday, October 3, 2014

3:30 p.m.

Cathedral of Learning Room 244A



Aristotle's Bust








Every other Wednesday 4:30 - 6:30 P.M.
For more information Contact Kelson Law



Detail of the School of Athens by Michaelangelo



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Selected Publications

cover of Being Nature, and Life In Aristotle by James Lennox

Being, Nature, and Life In Aristotle

by James G. Lennox (Editor), Robert Bolton (Editor)

This volume of essays explores major connected themes in Aristotle's metaphysics, philosophy of nature, and ethics, especially themes related to essence, definition, teleology, activity, potentiality, and the highest good. The volume is united by the belief that all aspects of Aristotle's work need to be studied together if any one of the areas of thought is to be fully understood. Many of the papers were contributions to a conference at the University of Pittsburgh entitled 'Being, Nature, and Life in Aristotle', to honor Professor Allan Gotthelf's many contributions to the field of ancient philosophy; a few are contributions from those who were invited but could not attend. The contributors, all longstanding friends of Professor Gotthelf, are among the most accomplished scholars in the field of ancient philosophy today.



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Program Application

  • Students do not apply directly to the CPAS Program
  • Instead, students should apply to one of the cooperating departments (Classics, HPS, or Philosophy) and indicate their interest in the program on their application