The Senses, Pleasure, and Self-Discipline in Antiquity and Late Antiquity

Do21Okt(Okt 21)9:45Fr22(Okt 22)16:00The Senses, Pleasure, and Self-Discipline in Antiquity and Late AntiquityVeranstaltungsartWorkshop


This workshop seeks to explore the attitudes, anxieties and assumptions of ancient thinkers towards the senses. One particularly prominent feature of the ancient discourse on the senses is how it blends the investigation of the senses with questions of self-command. This relates to specific practices of self-control, but also to theoretical reflections about the ontological distinctness of the senses vis-à-vis a noetic cosmos, especially in Platonism. The ontological rank which was attributed to the senses was often related to a normative understanding of how one should relate to them.

This normative dimension relates to the fact that the senses were, at least since Empedocles, seen as possible sources of pleasure. For some, the bodily nature of sensory pleasure made it inherently threatening to the soul. Thus, the question of legitimate or illegitimate pleasure was a key dimension of late ancient discourse about the senses.

The purpose of this online workshop is to facilitate exchange especially among early-stage researchers who are working on the senses in antiquityin any academic discipline. The workshop is organised by Clare Gardom (Oxford) and Carsten Flaig (FSGS/FU Berlin).

To receive a link to join the workshop, please email


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21. Oktober 2021 9:45 - 22. Oktober 2021 16:00(GMT+01:00)

Freie Universität Berlin

Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin

Freie Universität Berlin