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

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Department of Philosophy | Philosophy, Science and the Sciences | Events | Conference: The Concept of 'Pneuma' after Aristotle

Conference: The Concept of 'Pneuma' after Aristotle

  • When Jul 02, 2015 09:30 to Jul 04, 2015 05:30 (Europe/Berlin / UTC200)
  • Where Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Hannoversche Str. 6, room 1.03
  • Add event to calendar iCal

In the history of the concept of pneuma, the writings of Aristotle are considered a turning point: he develops a complex conception of pneuma and assigns it a central role in the generation, development and workings of the body and soul. After Aristotle, the importance and supremacy of pneuma in medical and philosophical thought is almost undisputed; yet, while it constitutes an important stage in this history, the period after Aristotle has attracted little attention. The aim of this conference is to fill this lacuna by focusing on post-Aristotelian conceptions of pneuma, and tracing changes in the history of ideas of pneuma from the early Hellenistic period to the early Middle Ages.

The conference will look at the concept of pneuma from a number of perspectives: (a) the role of pneuma in physics, psychology, physiology, embryology and pathology; (b) definitions of pneuma among different schools and where & why these views intersect, e.g. Peripatetic, Stoic, Medical (Dogmatic, Methodist, “Pneumatist”), Neoplatonist, Arabic; (c) pneuma in social & religious contexts—e.g., pagan, Talmudic, Christian, Islamic.

The program is available on the Topoi website.

The conference is free, but registration is necessary. Please register by 12.6.15.
To register please send an email to:

The conference format emphasizes discussion and collaboration. Abstracts and passages will be pre-circulated among participants about a month in advance. Sessions will last 60 minutes, from which 20-30 minutes will be dedicated to discussion.

Sean Coughlin (TOPOI / HU-Berlin)
David Leith (Exeter)
Orly Lewis (TOPOI / HU-Berlin)