Early Greek philosophy is normally interpreted as focusing on the creation and workings of the cosmos. However, various thinkers who are included in Diels’s handbook, such as Alcmaeon, Parmenides, Hippo, Menestor, Philolaus, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Democritus, and Diogenes of Apollonia, are also interested in the study of human beings, animals, and plants. A survey of the extant sources shows that the formation and development of living beings, their biological functions, the relationship between mind and body, the anatomy and constitution of the body, the aetiology of health, disease and old age, and the process of sex differentiation are issues of primary importance in the treatises Peri physeos. Conversely, several medical theorists, such as the authors of On regimenOn the nature of manOn ancient medicineOn flesh, and On sevens not only deal with the same issues and try to understand them in relation to the large-scale processes, but also are concerned with methodological and doctrinal developments in “natural philosophy”, thus rejecting, modifying, and integrating philosophical ideas and concepts into their systems. The aim of this workshop is to reconsider the relevant textual evidence, which is often neglected in Presocratic scholarship.

The workshop is free to attend, but registration is required for organisational purposes and in order to gain access to the pre-circulated material. For registration and queries, please do not hesitate to contact the workshop organiser, Stavros Kouloumentas.

The workshop will take place at the Humboldt University in Berlin (Room 2103, Hauptgebäude), which is located in the city centre (Unter den Linden 6).


09:30 - 10:00
Welcome address
Stavros Kouloumentas
Philip van der Eijk
10:00 - 11:00
The Matter of Mind for the Presocratics
Maria Michela Sassi
11:30 - 12:30
Aristotle's Criticism of Pangenetic Theories: A Fresh Start?
Claire Louguet
15:00 - 16:00
Alcmaeon on Health and Disease
Stavros Kouloumentas
16:30 - 17:30
In Defence of a "Worthless" Philosopher: Hippo of Croton
Daniela Manetti
10:00 - 11:00
Hippocrates On Flesh
Elizabeth Craik
11:30 - 12:30
The Concept of Pneuma in On Regimen
Hynek Bartoš
15:00 - 16:00
Empedoclean Superorganisms
David Sedley
16:30 - 17:30
The Pythagorean Taboo on Beans: Between Religion and Dietetics, Cosmology and Magic-Chemical Experimentation
Constantinos Macris
09:30 - 10:30
Anaxagoras on Nutrition
David Sider
10:45 - 11:45
Life, Birth and Death in the Physiology of Democritus
Miriam Peixoto
12:00 - 13:00
Outside the Hippocratic Corpus: Losers and Winners in early Greek Science
Lorenzo Perilli