Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Philosophy, Science and the Sciences

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Department of Philosophy | Philosophy, Science and the Sciences | Events | Guest talk: Platonic Astronomy and the Development of Ancient Sphairopoiia (Paul Kalligas, Athens)

Guest talk: Platonic Astronomy and the Development of Ancient Sphairopoiia (Paul Kalligas, Athens)

  • When Jan 26, 2016 from 06:00 to 08:00 (Europe/Berlin / UTC100)
  • Where Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Hannoversche Str. 6, room 1.03
  • Add event to calendar iCal

Paul Kalligas is Assistant Professor at the University of Athens.

Abstract:

Plato’s discussion of “true astronomy” in Book 7 of the Republic may be profitably illustrated and complemented by the mythical account of the heavenly motions offered in Book X of the same work. A passage from Theon of Smyrna’s treatise on Platonic mathematics seems especially important for understanding this connexion, since it relates the design of mechanical models of the cosmos with the research project of “saving the appearances” originally associated with the school of Plato. On the other hand, the so-called Antikythera Mechanism represents a remarkable breakthrough in ancient scientific technology, yet its exact function and purpose still remain unclear. By examining the existing literary evidence concerning similar devices from antiquity one may begin to form an idea about the theoretical background underlying its construction and find reasons to relate it to the same project. An attempt is made to achieve a better insight into the theoretical underpinnings of this programme and to understand the reasons for its eventual abandonment in late antiquity.