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The Way of Things in Classical Greek and Chinese Cultures

Thematics: Basic axes and articulations.

1) Nature of the Universe

First Principles of the World as ultimate explanation of everything.

Cosmic order or disorder?

Factors and Agents of cosmic order: Fate, Gods, Deamons.

The Soul and its destiny: this-worldly and other-worldly fundamental orientations: World, Heaven and Hell.

Determinism and open possibilities.

2) Theories of Polarity and Concepts of Harmony

Polarization of Existence.

Conjugative and Hostile Dualism (The SinoGreek versus the Iranian Model).

Harmony in a field of variation: Harmony against Chaos and Homogeneity. Harmony opposed to Uniformity.

Fitness and fittingness of different elements and parts.

Diversity and complementarity.

Spontaneous adaptation in an uncoordinated multiplicity of interacting independent parameters.

Convergence of antagonistical action in a common framework.

3) The Way of Cosmos and the Way of Man: the Logos of Things

Identity or Independence of the two Ways?

Natural Order and Human Convention: Natural Law and Stipulating Decree.

4) Systems of Order

Differentiation and organization; complexity and unity.

Stability and Efficiency.

Dynamism requires variety; structural integration channels the power of variety into productivity.

Correlation between minimal constraints and free self-adjustment on the one hand, and effective stability and the balance between creativity and regularity in human action on the other.

5) Morality, Aesthetics, Politics, Economy

Common principles. Value as Knowledge.

Form and Purpose.

Final ends and the calculus of means.

Wants and Ends: Measure of Utility.

Individual freedom and societal structure.

What is Proper?

Ethics of Wellbeing- Ethics of Propriety- Ethics of Duty.

The nature of Government. Controlling by not controlling. The Neutral Framework.

Divisions of faculties and roles – higher integration.

Special case: Money as an abstract measure of equivalence. A natural or a fiat coordinate of a disparate, organized field of human interaction?

6) Mind and World

Epistemological issues.

Is reality intelligible – how far?

What are the ultimate data of existence?

Is mind a mirror of things or their organizing principle?

Types of thinking.

Method and truth.

Criteria of truth – proof or coherence?

Perception, belief, knowledge, wisdom.


The Conference is planned to last for at least 2 days. (It can be expanded to 3 or, preferably, more days, depending on the availability of means).

12 one hour sessions are envisaged with 2 speeches per session (20´+20´) and 20´ of debate.

A 3rd day may be devoted to archaeological visits (the Temple of Heaven, the Forbidden City).

Two events could be organized with performances of ancient Chinese and ancient Greek music respectively.