The 2008 ISNS Conference (New Orleans)

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Appel à communication - Call for Papers

 International Society for Neoplatonic Studies

The 2008 ISNS Conference in New Orleans, June 19-22

(Appel à communication détaillé infra, organisé autour de plusieurs thèmes de recherche)

The Sixth Annual ISNS Summer Conference will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana on 19-22 June, 2008 in the Hotel Provincial, 1024 Chartres Street, right in the French Quarter:  
Participants interested in presenting papers in a panel should send their proposals (a one-page abstract) directly to the organizer(s) of the panel (listed below) by March 17th, 2008.  The panel organizers will confirm participation by the end of March. 
Those who wish to present a paper not fitting any panel theme are invited to send their abstracts to John Finamore (john-finamore(at) by March 17th, 2008.  Their participation will be confirmed by the end of March.
All participants will have a maximum of 25 minutes to present their papers at the conference.
Please note that anyone giving a paper at the conference must be a member of the ISNS.  Dues for 2008 are now being accepted on the web site of the Philosophy Documentation Center:
Dues are $60.00 per year ($20.00 for students and retirees).

Further information about the conference is available at:

John Finamore
Robert Berchman
Jay Bregman
Melanie Mineo
The 2008 ISNS Conference Committee


1. Donna Altimari (donnaaltimari(at) The Significance of the Timaeus and its Legacy in Neoplatonic Tradition

Papers may focus on any aspect of Timaeus interpretation or reception of the Timaeus in Neoplatonic thinkers.
2. Robert M. Berchman (berchmanrob(at) Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics

Papers are invited in the fields of philosophy of art and aesthetics with emphasis upon Plato, Aristotle and the Platonic and Aristotelian traditions: ancient, medieval, and modern.
3. Jay Bregman (bregman(at) Anglo-American Neoplatonism

Papers welcome on the "Renaissance Syncretism" of the Cambridge Platonists, the Romantics' adaptation of Neoplatonism to contemporary Idealism; the American Transcendentalists’ use of the theurgic Neoplatonist Thomas Taylor for the study of world religions and Neoplatonism in the arts and literature. Proposals on other relevant topics will be seriously considered.
4. Luc Brisson (lbrisson(at)  Panel sur les Sentences de Porphyre / on Porphyry's Pathways to the Intelligible

Référence/Reference: Porphyre, Sentences, Études d'introduction, texte grec et traduction française, commentaire, avec une traduction anglaise de J. Dillon (Pathways to the Intelligible, translation and notes) par l'UPR 76, sous la direction de L. Brisson, Paris, Vrin, 2005, 2 vol, 874 p.
Thèmes / Topics
1)            Intelligible
2)            Incorporels / Incorporeals
3)            Degrés de vertu / Virtues and different levels
4)            Connaissance / Knowledge
5)            Causalité / Causality
6)            etc.
7)            Divers / Miscellaneous
a.            Rapport avec les Ennéades / Links with the Enneads
b.            Influence on Proclus / Influence on Proclus
c.            La doctrine des vertus chez les néo-platoniciens tardifs / Virtues in late Neo-Platonists
d.            etc.
5. Jean-Michel Charrue  (jmcharrue(at) and Marilynn Lawrence (pronoia(at)  Platonism, Freedom, Providence, and Fate

            We welcome presentations on Freedom, Providence and Fate in the entire Platonic tradition, although these topics are especially sharpened in Middle Platonism and Neoplatonism. Different and similar views on these topics are perceptible in Plato's Laws, Timaeus, and other texts that inform the long philosophical tradition in antiquity. This tradition includes schools such as Stoicism, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, and Peripateticism (which are either in confrontation or harmony with Platonism). 
            Divination and foreknowledge are present in Platonic philosophy, although its place must be evaluated in each case, as must be its place in Platonic theology of divine providence. The gods and daimons also play a significant and debatable role in platonic fate and providence.
            Human freedom, however, subsists in Platonic scholars such as Plotinus, who responded to fatalism or determinism.
            Works exploring possible contradictions in Platonism, and possible solutions that allow freedom in the face of
providence or fate, are welcome.
6. John Finamore (john-finamore(at) Platonic Psychologies:  The Nature and Structure of the Soul

             This panel will explore the make-up, function, and essential nature of soul in Platonic and Post-Platonic philosophy.  Possible areas of focus include the soul's nature, its simplicity/complexity, its interaction with the body, and its immortality.
7. Tim Knepper (tim.knepper(at) The Divine Names of Pseudo-Dionysius

This panel will consider all proposals in some way related to the divine names of Pseudo-Dionysius, but especially invites proposals that address any of the following: (a) nature, function, and order of Dionysian divine names; (b) influences on and of Dionysian divine names; (c) similarities and differences between Dionysian divine names and Neoplatonic henads; (d) interpretation of key passages and technical terms in the Dionysian corpus pertaining to the divine names (e.g., DN 11.6, autometochai); (e) recent scholarship on Dionysian divine names (e.g., Schäfer).
8. Emilie Kutash (eeekut(at) The Apeiron

Neoplatonic treatments of the Apeiron have ranged from considering it endemic to the indeterminacy of matter, the iterative infinity of serial expansion and diminution in mathematics, to temporal succession and to the Infinity of  the One.  Plotinus conceives of the One as Infinite (apeiron), claiming the One is Apeiron not according to magnitude or number but according to dynamis (V.5.10, 18-22) but also considers it associated with matter (Hylê) describing hylê as the purely infinite (2. 4. 20-37). Three different types of apeiron are discussed by Proclus : the Intellect type of infinity that is a totality and associated with Being, the iterative type characteristic of incommensurable magnitudes and the like, and the infinitude of the  One as superior to all limit ,bounded by nothing. Iamblichus too discussed Infinity and Limit as just beneath the One and Philoponus was against infinite causal chains etc. Damascius discussed it as well.: Which Infinity, according to which Neoplatonist is the real One (pun intended)?  This is a rich topic and a panel on Infinity in Neoplatonism could help sort this out.
9. Edward Moore, (patristics(at) The Corpus Hermeticum: History, Themes, Influence

The purpose of this panel is to explore the complex content and history of the philosophical Hermetica, from antiquity to the Renaissance and beyond.  The eighteen treatises, along with the Latin Asclepius and the fragments, of the CH offer a fascinating example of 'eclectic' religious philosophy and theology containing Platonic, Stoic, Jewish, and early Christian elements.  Topics for this panel may include, but are not limited to:
  • Philosophical and allegorical use of the Hebrew Scriptures.
  • The problem of dualism -- i.e., anticosmic attitudes -- in the various texts.
  • Various philosophical influences: Stoic, Platonic, (Neo)Pythagorean, etc.
  • The 'historical' figure of Hermes Trismegistus: prophet, seer, sage.
  • The reception of the CH in the Renaissance and beyond.    
Any paper dealing with the Corpus Hermeticum, or a single treatise or treatises of that collection, is welcome.
10. Deepa Majumdar (dmajumda(at) and Politics in Neoplatonism

            According to the conventional view, “the Platonist philosophers of Late Antiquity had no political philosophy” – because (it is claimed) they were more interested in the immaterial, transcendental realm than the affairs of this world. If the goal of Neoplatonic philosophy is the divinization of man, then according to the conventional view, this goal, in principle excludes interest in political philosophy. Thus Plotinus encouraged friends and pupils to “withhold” themselves from political life and praised the senator Rogatianus for his life of renunciation. The goal of the Neoplatonic sage precludes politics for it appears among the very things to be renounced for the sake of the spiritual life, so that, as O’Meara notes, “there is no Neoplatonic political philosophy because there can be none.” Such views appear directly relevant to our current despair over the right balance between contemplation and action through religion and politics.
Yet, O’Meara also points out that it is the very process of divinization, as the Neoplatonists understood it, that “far from excluding political life, actually includes it.” The withdrawal from the political life is to be understood in the context of a crucial affiliation between divinization and the political life. What is this affiliation in Neoplatonic philosophy and how does it address our contemporary concerns?
11. Jean-Marc Narbonne (Jean-Marc.Narbonne(at) The apprehension of principles in Neoplatonism

In all the Platonic tradition, the question of the possible relation of our Soul to the principles has always raised difficulties.  How can one get in touch with the principles, be it epistemological, ethical or metaphysical?  How is the ascent to be realized?  What are the preconditions, here in the sensible world (the famous 'escape') of this tentative ascension?  Moreover, is this eventual ascension the result of a pure philosophical process or does it include ritual components of some sort?
12. Marcin Podbielski (mpodbielski(at) Myth, allegory and dialogue in the Platonic tradition

50 years after the publication of Jeans Pépin’s monumental Mythe et allégorie, we have at our disposal not only many other detailed studies on the usage of myths and allegorical method within the Platonic tradition. We also have to deal with a movement of literary interpretation of Plato’s dialogues both analogous to and profoundly different from the allegory of Neoplatonists. The dialogical approach to Plato frequently turns attention to the very same facts which were not overlooked by Neoplatonic commentators: to the dramatic setting, to the plot and the metaphoric and fictional elements of the text. The method of allegory, adopted and codified in Neoplatonism, unlike many types of the dramatic approach, allowed them to treat the literary texts of Plato (and also of other authors) as vehicles of abstract theoretical conceptions. What were the philosophical gains and losses of this approach? Can the substance of the Platonic tradition be expressed only in abstract concepts, or does it require a usage of a myth not translated into abstracts? What is the value of myth if it is not subjected to a process of allegorical translation?
13. Suzanne Stern-Gillet (s.stern-gillet(at) and Kevin Corrigan ( Cette adresse email est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir. ):  Plotinus’ Ethics

The nature of Plotinus’ ethics is currently one of the most debated issues in Plotinian studies.  It is also one of the most intricate. Indeed, at the root of the controversies that have taken place in recent years we find assumptions not only on the mode of exegesis best suited to the text of the Enneads but also on the very function of ethics.   This panel will set a forum for lively debates on such issues as the nature of Plotinus’ ethical terminology, his views on the sage’s engagement (or lack of engagement) with others, his interest (or lack of interest) in the concerns of common humanity, and the ethical implications of his conception of nature and sentient life.
14. Anna Zhyrkova (zhyrkova(at) The problem of universals in the earlier Platonic tradition

Since the Middle Ages, the problem of Universals is one of the most discussed and controversial issues in philosophical discourse. The roots of this problem are generally traced to Alexander of Aphrodisias and Porphyry. The latter seems to be the first to ‘announce the problem’ and even is considered by some scholars as the ‘inventor of universals.’ But it is Alexander who is often invoked to expound the problem ‘announced’ by Porphyry. Nevertheless, it appears that one can find the origins of Porphyry’s view yet in the earlier Platonic tradition. The panel, thus, encourages examining the pre-Porphyrian Platonic roots of the problem, i.e. the theory of universals as it occurs in Middle-Platonism and Plotinus.

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