7th February, 2014 / 11.00am - 4.00pm
27th November, 2013
Inaugural Lecture by Professor Maria Rosa Antognazza
There are different ways of doing history of philosophy. The way which I favour conceives the history of philosophy as both a kind of history and a kind of philosophy. As a kind of history, it demands the standards of any other serious historical research, including the use of the relevant linguistic and philological tools, and the study of the broader political, cultural, scientific, and religious contexts in which more strictly philosophical views developed. As a kind of philosophy, however, its ultimate aim is a substantive engagement with those very philosophical views – firstly, in striving to understand them on their own terms, and secondly in probing and interrogating them as possible answers to central questions of enduring philosophical relevance.
This lecture will explore the benefit to philosophy of a deep and broad engagement with its history through the discussion of some examples from epistemology, metaphysics, and the historiography of philosophy itself. It will come to the conclusion that doing history of philosophy is a way to think outside the box of the latest philosophical orthodoxies. Somewhat paradoxically, far from imprisoning its students into the straight-jacket of outdated and crystallized views, the history of philosophy trains the mind to think differently and alternatively about the fundamental problems of philosophy. It keeps us alert to the fact that last is not always best, and that a genuinely new perspective means often embracing and developing an old insight.
Maria Rosa Antognazza is Professor of Philosophy and Head of the Philosophy Department at King’s College London.
For more information and a full biography of Maria Rosa Antognazza please click here.