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2015 Annual Spring Symposium
Workshop on Free Will, Metaphysics, and Science

Workshop on Epicureanism: 2015 Annual Spring Symposium
Saturday, March 14th, 2015
University of Tennessee

Epicurus and his followers produced a bold, systematic philosophical position that combined a radically empiricist methodology, atomistic materialism, anti-teleology, and hedonism.  On each of these points, they stand in stark contrast to most other ancient philosophers (e.g. Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics).  Thus, they provide an especially important touchstone for understanding ancient philosophy as a whole, and how widely-shared commitments such as ethical eudaimonism could be developed in radically different directions.

Papers will be presented by David Sedley (Cambridge), Voula Tsouna (UC Santa Barbara), Eric Brown (Washington University) and Clerk Shaw (Tennessee).  Tim O'Keefe (Georgia State) will serve as commentator-at-large.  At least some papers will address the relationships among the three main parts of Epicurean philosophy (canonic, physics, and ethics).

There will be two sessions in the morning and two more in the afternoon, followed by an evening reception.  All are welcome!


  • 8:30-9:20: breakfast 
  • 9:20-9:30: opening remarks
  • 9:30-11:00: Voula Tsouna, University of California, Santa Barbara: "Cyrenaics and Epicureans on the nature of pleasure"; comments by Kelly Arenson, Duquesne University
  • 11:15-12:45: Clerk Shaw, University of Tennessee, Knoxville: "Two modes of reasoning about pleasure in Epicurean ethics"; comments by Emily Austin, Wake Forest University
  • 12:45-1:45: lunch
  • 1:45-3:15: Eric Brown, Washington University in St. Louis: "Animality and contingency in Cicero's critique of Epicurean ethics"; comments by Rachel Singpurwalla, University of Maryland, College Park
  • 3:30-5:00: David Sedley, Cambridge University: "Epicurus on taxonomy and definition"; comments by Max Robitzsch, University of Pennsylvania
  • 5:00-5:30: reception

For further information, please contact Clerk Shaw,, or 865 974 3255.