The interdepartmental Classical Studies Program (CLST) at Columbia University (contact information here) brings together faculty from Art History and Archaeology, Classics, History, and Philosophy. Students in the program pursue a Ph.D. or an M.A. in Classical Studies, meeting requirements in three fields relevant to the study of Greek and Roman antiquity as well as the larger Ancient Mediterranean. Together with the Center for the Ancient Mediterranean, Classical Studies is the home of a vibrant community of scholars working in ancient studies at Columbia University. Learn more…

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Classical Dialogues: Natural Character by Mariska Leunissen

As part of its Classical Dialogues series, the Classical Studies Graduate Program CLST at Columbia University is pleased to welcome Mariska Leunissen from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. On March 3, 2015, 2:10-4pm, Mariska Leunissen will discuss her paper “Aristotle on Natural Character and its Implications for Moral Development.” Comments by Mark Berger (Columbia University) and Grant Dowling (Columbia University). Location: Hamilton Hall 603, Columbia University. Please see below Professor Leunissen’s description of the larger project to which the paper belongs.

Natural Character by Mariska Leunissen

Abstract: My current project explores the implications and influences Aristotle’s science of nature has on his ethical and political treatises, both in terms of content and of methods. I have started working on a new book project, tentatively entitled From Natural Character to Moral Virtue in Aristotle, which explores Aristotle’s – often ignored – treatment of natural character in the natural treatises with the aim of juxtaposing this with his views about moral virtue in the ethical treatises. The book will also comprise a chapter on the ‘science of character’, dealing with Aristotle’s theory of induction and semiotics and with the Ps.-Aristotelian treatise Physiognomics; there will also be ample consideration for the cultural and scientific context in which Aristotle developed his views (the sources for this include Plato, the Hippocratics, and Herodotus). In this paper, I use Aristotle’s ‘ethnographical’ passage in the Politics (Pol. VII.7, 1327b18–38) as a starting point to flesh out his views about natural character in the biological works, and then further specify some implications of these views for his ethical theory.

In its Classical Dialogues series, the interdepartmental Classical Studies Graduate Progam CLST at Columbia University invites authors of recent work in ancient studies that is exemplary for the kind of study that CLST aims to foster. All faculty and students at Columbia and beyond are cordially invited. CLST students are required to read carefully at least one chapter or article in advance and prepare questions and comments for discussion.

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Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics

Seminar and Speaker Series
Spring semester 2014, Tuesday 2:10-4pm
Hamilton Hall 603, Columbia University

Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics

Please note: These talks are not open to the public. They are intended for seminar participants as well as students and faculty in the New York area.

The seminar offers an upper-level introduction to Aristotle’s ethics. It functions as a survey, suitable for advanced undergraduate students and for graduate students. We cover themes that are central to Aristotle’s ethics, much-debated in scholarly literature, and influential in contemporary philosophical debates in ethics and the philosophy of action.

In the second half of the semester, three guest speakers are visiting the seminar: Simona Aimar will speak on “Aristotle on Techne,” Jessica Moss “TBA,” and Sarah Broadie on “Aristotle and Contemporary Ethics.” The seminar also hosts a Classical Dialogues event with Mariska Leunissen and two graduate student commentators from Columbia, Mark Berger and Grant Dowling, on Leunissen’s “Aristotle on Natural Character and its Implications for Moral Development.” Finally, one session will be co-taught by Katja Maria Vogt and guest speaker Marko Malink, on “Agency and Future Contingents.”

March 3: Mariska Leunissen, Chapel Hill
March 24: Simona Aimar, Barnard/Columbia
March 31: Marko Malink, NYU
April 7: Jessica Moss, NYU
April 21: Sarah Broadie, St. Andrews

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Apply Now to the Classical Studies Ph.D. Program

Classical Studies invites applications for Fall admission to the fully funded Ph.D. program. The deadline for applications is January 5, 2015.

The Ph.D. program in Classical Studies attracts students with a broad range of interests in all fields of ancient studies. Unique in its scope, the Classical Studies Program provides access to the intellectual and organizational resources of the four participating Departments: Art History and Archaeology, Classics, History, and Philosophy. Students are eligible to work with the materials of Columbia’s archaeological, epigraphic, and numismatic collections, can apply to Columbia’s excavation projects, and participate in the numerous initiatives organized by the University: seminars, lectures, conferences, museum trips, and more.

The beginnings of this integrated approach to antiquity go back at least as far as “Altertumswissenschaft” in 19th century Germany. For Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, classical scholarship was a “science.” It should “re-create the poet’s song, the thought of the philosopher and the lawgiver, the sanctity of the temple and the feelings of the believers and the unbelievers, the bustling life of market and port, the physical appearance of land and sea, mankind at work and play.” Today, the study of antiquity is a methodologically diverse field, looking to discover the past, but also to engage with art as art, and to do philosophy with the ancient philosophers. In the words of Momigliano, historians work with sources. But their work is not to interpret these sources. It is to interpret the reality that these sources refer to: “it is this ability to interpret a document by not making it a document, but a real episode of life in the past, that ultimately makes someone a historian.” Continue reading

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