9 April 2019, 2.30pm

Prof. Francesco Fronterotta, University of Rome "La Sapienza"
Dr. Michele Alessandrelli, CNR ILIESI

Department of Philosophy, Building B Room B7/1140 Campus UAB


Generation as μίμησις and κόσμος as μίμημα: cosmological model, productive function and the arrangement of the χώρα in Plato’s Timaeus.

Francesco Fronterotta (University of Rome “La Sapienza”)

Chair: Silvia De Bianchi (UAB – PROTEUS)


My purpose in this paper is to illustrate the ‘mimetic’ language and conceptual apparatus through which, in the Timaeus, Plato explains the generation of the sensible universe. Every form of generation of a sensible reality, which necessarily implies a productive function, is in fact a reproduction of a model and, to this extent, an imitation of it (mimesis), so that the sensible reality which is so produced is a copy or an image (mimema) of that model. I will try to answer the two following questions: 1. How does this mimetic action (in which every generation consists) take place? 2. In which sense and to which extent the object which is generated is a copy of a model or, in other words, how to understand the ‘mimetic’ relation between the model and the copy?


Time and Cosmic Conflagration in Ancient Stoicism

Michele Alessandrelli (CNR ILIESI)

Chair: Daniel Vázquez (UAB – PROTEUS)


In the Stoic doctrine of universal conflagration, God is conceived of as an agent both of destruction and reconstruction of the world. The Stoic thesis of the periodic destruction of the world was in explicit and conscious contrast with the eternalist cosmologies of Plato and Aristotle. Regardless of how we interpret the fiery condition in which the world finds itself during the conflagration, whether as the best of the possible states (Mansfeld) or simply as a phase of life or history of the world itself (Long), the following questions arise immediately: what role does the time play during the conflagration? If time is conceived of as a dimension of the movement of the world, do we have to suppose that the conflagration is a timeless state? This conclusion seems unavoidable if it is true that during the conflagration the world no longer exists and with the world its movement. It is perhaps possible to answer these questions by appealing to the Stoic distinction between two senses of the word “world”. The world that is destroyed is the world conceived of as diakosmesis. Conversely the world as ousia or theos survives. The conflagration is equivalent to the destruction of the former and the transformation of the latter. This distinction saves the time from its disappearance. I wish to advance the hypothesis that the conflagration is a sort of forge of Zeus’ thoughts and that time accompanies the unfolding of this supreme theoretical activity.