Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Antike Philosophie und Wissensgeschichte



Sommersemester 2023


Beere, Jonathan: Einführung in Aristoteles' theoretische Philosophie: Mathematik/ Introduction to Aristotle's theoretical Philosophy: Mathematics (PS)

Im Mittelpunkt von diesem Seminar steht Aristoteles' Philosophie der Mathematik. Allerdings dient das Seminar auch als eine allgemeine Einführung in Aristoteles' Metaphysik, weil seine Philosophie der Mathematik ohne den Kontext von Aristoteles' Substanztheorie nicht verstehen lässt. Aristoteles hat den Begriff des Abstraken eingeführt, um seine Theorie über mathematische Gegenstände zu formulieren, und der Begriff "Abstrakt" wird eine zentrale Rolle für uns spielen.

Wir werden zunächst Aristoteles' Substanztheorie in der Kategorienschrift und der Metaphysik betrachten sowie auch seine Analyse in der Physik von Veränderung durch Form und Materie. Dann werden wir Passagen über Mathematik aus einigen verschiedenen Werken (hauptsächlich Physik, Analytiken Posteriora, Metaphysik) betrachten.

Aristoteles' philosophische Auseinandersetzung mit der Mathematik ist durch ein Spannungsverhältnis geprägt, zwischen seiner Anerkennung der Mathematik als einer eigenständigen Wissenschaft und seiner Überzeugung, dass die Gegenstände der Mathematik wie Zahlen und Figuren ontologisch abgeleitet und abhängig sind. Einerseits will Aristoteles zugeben, dass die Mathematik eine echte Wissenschaft ist, das heißt, dass sie Erkenntnisse über Substanzen erzielt, aber auch andererseits dass die mathematischen Gegenstände von wahrnehmbaren Substanzen abhängig sind. Wegen Aristoteles' Substanztheorie ist alles als klar, dass diese Behauptungen miteinander vereinbar sind. In diesem Zusammenhang spielt der Begriff der Abstraktion spielt eine Schlüsselrolle. Er scheint damit sagen zu wollen, dass mathematische Gegenstände auf eine gewisse Weise durch uns produziert werden -- doch wie ist es dann der Fall, dass wir in der Mathematik echte Erkenntnisse über die Welt gewinnen?

Mi 10-12 →Agnes


Beere, Jonathan: Being, Truth and Negation in Plato and Wittgenstein/Sein, Wahrheit und Verneinung bei Platon und Wittgenstein (HS)

In this course, we will bring together Plato's and Wittgenstein's discussions of negation, truth, and being. This is not an arbitrary juxtaposition: Plato's Theaetetus is a text that Wittgenstein responds to directly in the Philosophical Investigatoins--one of a very few philosophical texts to be mentioned at all.

In the first half of the semester, we will engage in close reading of parts of Plato's Theaetetus and Sophist that discuss the structure of propositions, the nature of truth, the possibility of false belief and false statements, and also negation. (The Sophist is closely tied to the Theaetetus, by both literary signals and philosophical themes.)

In the second half of the semester, we will turn to Wittgenstein, reading selections from the Tractatus and the Investigations. We will be interested both in how Wittgenstein responds explicitly to Plato and in how Wittgensteins responds indirectly (or unintentionally) to Plato.

During the second half of the course, James Conant (University of Chicago) will join as co-teacher.

Language of instruction: English. Papers may be written in German or English.

Di 12-14, →Agnes


Beere, Jonathan: Philosophisches Kolloquium / Philosophical Colloquium (C)
This will be a traditional colloquium in which graduate students present their work-in-progress. Anyone outside the RTG "Philosophy, Science and the Sciences" wishing to participate should please contact the instructor in advance.

Do 10-12:30, →Agnes


Bjelde, Joseph: Plato's Republic/Platos Staat (PS)

Lehrsprache dieses Kurses ist Englisch, dennoch sind Beiträge auf Deutsch gleichwertig willkommen: I will speak English but discussion will be bilingual.

For a work at the center of the philosophical canon, Plato’s Republic is surprisingly poorly understood. One reason why is that there are large gaps in Socrates’ answers to the central questions about justice and politics. For one thing, while Glaucon regards his question about justice to be answered by Socrates’ conclusion at the end of book 4, that virtue is the health of the soul, Socrates evidently does not. For another, the sketch of the political arrangements in Kallipolis extends to the abolition of the family (for the guardians) and defenses of the claim that philosophers should rule – but does not cover what one might think was the most important part of that claim, namely how philosophers will rule Kallipolis – for instance, whether they will be the kind of totalitarians which Karl Popper thought they would be. Similarly, Socrates does not say enough about the relation between Kallipolis and the city of necessities. By contrast, he has a lot to say about things whose relevance to the central questions of the dialogue is not clear. Why is so much of the book about education – and why isn’t more of it about dialectic, given how important dialectic turns out to be? How is the first book – occasionally thought to be an independent Socratic dialogue tacked on to the rest – relevant? Even the famous argument for soul-division in book 4 turns out not to be relevant in the simple way most readers take it to be.

In this seminar, we will read and consider the dialogue as an organic whole. So, while we will consider the classic questions about the Republic that first-time readers often have, we will also consider less well-worn questions that will interest participants who are not coming to the text for the first time. Why does Plato raise just those questions, and answer them in just those ways? How do the interlocutors shape the dialogue? How does the Republic compare to related dialogues?

Di 10-12, →Agnes


Bjelde, Joseph: Schreiben und Argumentieren (Ü)

The goal of this course is to help students improve their philosophical writing in English, especially the presentation and discussion of arguments. The primary focus of the course is on improving specifically philosophical writing, so that students who are already comfortable writing in English are welcome. But students with B2-level English are also very welcome, even if they do not yet feel wholly comfortable writing in English: this course is an opportunity to improve the skill of writing in English as well as the skill of writing philosophy. It also aims to be a relatively painless way to improve those skills, in part by requiring short (but frequent) written work. So the course is excellent preparation for students who intend to continue to an MA, or to study abroad in English.

Readings for the course will be thematically diverse, and will include an argument that we are all (philosophical) zombies, one philosophical magic trick, Newcomb’s paradox, two cures for weakness of will, one tension between moral and environmental values, a reponse to the objection that virtue ethics is not action-guiding, Paul on transformative experience, and Srinivasan on anger.

This course satisfies the requirement Schreiben und Argumentieren (in BA Phil(/Ethik) StO 2014).

Di 14-16, →Agnes