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Tissue of the World: On Stoic Sympathy

Lecture | October 24 | 5 p.m. | 370 Dwinelle Hall

Brooke Holmes, Princeton University

Department of Classics

The concept of cosmic sympathy, highly developed by the Stoics, is at once deeply foreign to us in its claims regarding a mind fully immanent in the world and intriguing, as we struggle anew with imagining communities that bring together humans and non-humans. This talk investigates the contours, the stakes, and the internal tensions of cosmic sympathy for the Stoics in order to argue that sympathy puts front and centers the challenges of thinking the cosmos on analogy with the organism and, at the same time, the paradoxes of Nature once it is understood as transindividual and agential. It raises the question, too, of what place “the Greeks” might have in philosophies of nature today.

Poster for Brooke Holmes lecture