The History of Philosophy Group meets regularly to hear and discuss work in progress by various faculty members and graduate students working in the history of philosophy at CU Boulder, including ancient philosophy, medieval philosophy, and early modern philosophy. 
 
Mark Boespflug presenting “Descartes’ Epistemological Naturalism”, October 22, 2018
Mark Boespflug presenting “Descartes’ Epistemological Naturalism”, October 22, 2018
 

Spring 2019

Philip Choi, “Buridan on Moral Certainty”
Tuesday January 29th, 3:00pm, Hellems 269

Joseph Stenberg, "Thomas Aquinas, Happiness, and the Unity of Ethics"
Thursday February 7th, 3:00pm, Hellems 269

Abstract: Most of us think that being happy is just about something like enjoyment or contentment or satisfaction. Because we think of happiness in this way, we also tend to think that, in principle and even in practice, we can be happy while breaking all manner of moral rules, while having questionable character, and while living quite meaningless lives. In this talk, I will trace the origins of this view from the present day back into the Middle Ages. I will then spend most of the talk reconstructing a fascinating alternative view put forward by the 13th century Dominican, Thomas Aquinas – a view that develops out of an ancient understanding of happiness. In the end, I will show that, if Aquinas is right about the nature of happiness, our being happy absolutely requires our following moral rules, our developing good character, and our living meaningful lives.

Dominic Bailey, “Powers in Plato”
Tuesday February 12th, 3:00pm, Hellems 269

James Doyle (Harvard), “The pear-theft in Augustine's Confessions and ancient theories of motivated irrationality”
Monday February 25th, 4:00pm, Hellems 269

ABSTRACT: Socrates supposed that all practical errors were consequences of ignorance, and so held that there is no such thing as akrasia, whereby the agent allegedly knows that he is acting contrary to his best judgment. Plato (Republic IV) and Aristotle (NE VII) both reject Socrates' view as psychologically unrealistic, holding that the prospect of pleasure, for example, can lead one to act akratically. I shall argue that Augustine's diagnosis of his youthful theft of the pears in Confessions II shows that Plato and Aristotle did not fully emerge from the unrealistic 'rationalism' they object to in the Socratic view, because in neglecting the role of unconscious fantasy in human action, they make the role of pleasure in undermining judgment, as it were, too intelligible.

Robert Pasnau, “Medieval Modal Spaces"
Thursday March 21, 2:30pm, Hellems 269

Abstract: The Aristotelian conception of modality tended, for much of its history, to be founded mainly on what happens in the actual world, leaving little room for unactualized possibilities. Beginning in the later Middle Ages, however, particularly in the work of John Duns Scotus, a much more expansive conception of modality appears, tied to Scotus’s libertarian conception of freedom. Here I look at how Scotus and, later, Ockham attempted to create more conceptual space for nonactual possibilities, with regard to the past, the present, and the future.

Dan Wolt (Sao Paolo Post-doc, Princeton PhD), “Kalokagathia in the Eudemian Ethics VIII 3”
Thursday April 4, 2-4pm, Hellems 269

Rachel Barney (Toronto),  “Techne as a Model for Virtue in Ancient Philosophy”
 Thursday April 11, 2-4pm, Hellems 269

Mitzi Lee, “Aristotle’s revisionist concept of justice”
Thursday April 25, 3-5pm, Hellems 369

Fall 2018

Daniel Coren, "Aristotle on External Resting Points"
Monday October 8th, 2-3:30pm, Hellems 269

Mark Boespflug
Monday October 22nd, 2-3:30pm, Hellems 269

Philip Choi, "First Things First in Medieval Epistemology"
Monday November 12, 1:30 pm, Hellems 269

Spring 2018

Daniel Coren, "Aristotle on Motion in Incomplete Animals"
April 23, 4:00-6:00pm, Hellems 269

Fall 2017

Mark Boespflug, "Locke on Doxastic Voluntarism"
October 19, 2:30-4:00pm, Hellems 269

 

Spring 2017

Robert Pasnau, “Plato’s Protagoras on Akrasia”
January 23
 
Philip Choi, “Is John Burden an Epistemic Fallibilist?”
February 20
 
Gagan Sapkota, “The Role of the Myth of Cronus in Plato’s Statesman
February 27

Joseph Stenberg, "John Buridan on Happiness"
March 3, 3:30-5:00pm Hellems 269

Bob Pasnau, “Moments of Decision: A First Try at Medieval Voluntarism” (joint talk with CMEMS)
April 10

Dan Wolt (Sao Paolo), “Two conceptions of voluntary action in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics
April 26, 3:30-5pm Hellems 269
Abstract: 
It is nearly universally agreed among commentators that according to Aristotle’s account of voluntary action in the Nicomachean Ethics (NE), for an action to be blameworthy it must be voluntary. I argue for a qualified rejection of this assumption: some blameworthy actions do not meet the criteria for voluntariness set out in NE 3.1. However, I argue that elsewhere in the NE one finds a broader conception of voluntary action, and it is true that an action must count as voluntary on the broader conception in order to be blameworthy. While according to the narrow conception found in 3.1 voluntary actions must be under the agent’s direct control, according to the broader conception an action may count as voluntary by being under the agent’s indirect control. An example is an action done in culpable ignorance of the particulars. These blameworthy actions are not voluntary in the narrow sense, but they are voluntary in the broader sense. I suggest, moreover, that the com presence of these two conceptions in the NE is not simply a matter of sloppiness on Aristotle’s part. Rather, he has good philosophical reasons for employing both. 
 

Fall 2016

 
Mitzi Lee, "Aristotle on Evil.”
Tuesday Sept. 1, 3:30-5pm Hellems 220.
 
Garret Bredeson, "How Does Kantian Virtue Differ from Aristotelian Continence—and Aristotelian Virtue?”
Tuesday Sept. 27, 3:30 - 5:00, Hellems 269.
 
Daniel Coren, "Everything moved must be moved by something: Aristotle's Physics VII.1 & VIII.4”
Tuesday Oct. 18, 3:30-5:00, Hellems 269
 
Caleb Cohoe (Metropolitan State University of Denver), “Everyone Wills to Live Forever: Augustine vs. the Stoics on Self-Preservation” 
Thursday Nov. 3,  5:00pm, HUMN 135
sponsored by the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies 
 
Mark Boespflug, "The Nature and Status of Voluntary Belief in Aquinas”
Tuesday Nov. 15, 3:30-5:00pm, Hellems 269
 

Tyler Huismann, "The art or the artisan? A causal puzzle in Aristotle"
Tuesday Nov. 29 3:30-5:00pm, Hellems 269

Daniel Coren presenting at a History of Philosophy workshop

Daniel Coren presenting to the History of Philosophy Group workshop, April 23, 2018