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Classics [clear filter]
Tuesday, December 6
 

2:00pm

Women Through The Lens Of Luis Buñuel
Luis Buñuel, the renowned filmmaker of the 1900s, is known primarily for the Surrealism that permeates much of his filmography. His films often make a commentary on politics, Catholicism, and/or the bourgeoisie, all topics that are important to Buñuel as a person and as a Surrealist. It can also be argued that Buñuel may be criticizing the patriarchy with his somewhat outlandish and potentially parodying portrayal of women. However, upon further consideration of Buñuel’s work, which contains recurrent and damaging representations of women, this assessment seems simplistic, or at least incomplete. Analysis of Buñuel’s films leaves one wondering whether he is truly criticizing the patriarchy or rather contributing to the patriarchy, albeit possibly with good intentions. In this presentation, Buñuel's films Un Chien Andalou, El ángel exterminador, Susana, Viridiana, Belle de Jour, and Cet obscur objet du désir are analyzed thoroughly and presented as examples of his depiction of women and sexual desire. Quotes from Buñuel himself, testimonies from acquaintances of his, and further explorations of the time period, however, seek to show the ambiguity presented in those films: are they a criticism of the times, or are they actual proof of Buñuel’s misogynistic views?

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Tuesday December 6, 2016 2:00pm - 2:20pm
237 Owen Hall

2:20pm

On The Virtue Of Women: Aspasia And Diotima
In the works of Socrates’ disciples two women are presented exceptionally; Aspasia, famed courtesan and lover of Pericles from Miletus, and Diotima, a priestess from Mantinea of Arcadia. Both characters are represented as teachers of Socrates, an individual hailed as a progenitor of Western philosophy. This representation of women is a striking difference from how ancient Athenian society often depicts women, as a threat to men, or less than men in respect to intellect, physical strength, and attractiveness. I will explore why these women are represented as teachers of Socrates in Plato’s Menexenus and Symposium, and in Xenophon’s Symposium and Memorabilia; and I shall examine whether they possess “aretê,” the ideal of Socratic philosophy. Given that both of these characters were foreigners in Athens and in social positions outside of the family, I also consider what example these two characters could serve for the women of ancient Athens, and whether or not women could attain “aretê” by following the Socratic tradition. However, due to the stigmatization of these two characters, with Aspasia being a courtesan and Diotima being a foreigner, I propose that the characters of Aspasia and Diotima reveal positive Socratic assumptions about the potential for women’s virtue but are undermined by the models of virtue established for women by Athenian tradition.

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Tuesday December 6, 2016 2:20pm - 2:40pm
237 Owen Hall

2:45pm

Socrates Sowing The Seeds Of Environmental Philosophy
I will argue that Socrates planted the seeds for later philosophers on environmentalism. In Plato’s Phaedrus, Socrates denies interest in the natural world by stating “I am a lover of knowledge, and the men who dwell in the city are my teachers, and not the trees or the country.” However, a closer look in Plato’s other works reveals Socrates studying the role of the natural world in the life of humans. I will argue that Plato’s apparent aversion to Socrates’ interest in nature is in response to Aristophanes’ The Clouds and the prejudice claims against him in the Plato's Apology of Socrates. I will study Plato’s Apology of Socrates, Republic, and Timaeus. The Timaeus reveals that Plato does write about the natural world’s effect on the life of humans. While Plato includes Socrates in this dialogue he does not make him the main speaker on humans’ relationship with the natural world. Contemporary environmentalism is not evident in the Socratics, including Plato. However early thoughts from Socrates and Plato reveal how both of them believe humans today, should live in balance with nature.

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Tuesday December 6, 2016 2:45pm - 3:05pm
237 Owen Hall

3:05pm

Tracing A Socratic Legacy Through Albert Camus' “Myth of Sisyphus”
Albert Camus was well-acquainted with the major philosophers of the Classical world, and many of his works testify to his infatuation with ancient Greece. But little work has been done to trace the Classical origins of his philosophical reasoning. In what ways could the writings of Albert Camus have been influenced by the legacy of one of the foundational figures of western philosophy, Socrates? How does the Socratic tradition manifest itself in Camus’ theory of the Absurd? For this study, I will look primarily at Camus’ 1942 essay, The Myth of Sisyphus, in which his theory of the Absurd is most clearly illustrated. This essay, in conjunction with Plato’s Socratic writings including the Apology, Phaedrus, and Symposium, as well as other Socratic sources from Antiquity, will allow me to demonstrate the extent to which Camus, however inadvertently, became part of a clear Socratic tradition in philosophy. The Myth of Sisyphus contains clear traces of Socratic reasoning. Though Camus and Socrates may diverge on the ultimate result of philosophical inquiry, many of Socrates’ methodologies and attitudes are echoed in Camus’ writing, including but not limited to a strong desire for the “awakening” of a critical consciousness, a preoccupation with the human rather than the metaphysical or cosmological, and a conception of human wisdom as a knowing-of-not-knowing. This positions him on a long line of modern and ancient thinkers who were both directly and indirectly influenced by Socrates and his methods, which were revolutionary in their time.

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Tuesday December 6, 2016 3:05pm - 3:25pm
237 Owen Hall