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.
Brooke Holmes is Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Classics at Princeton University, where she also directs the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Humanistic Studies (IHUM) and the Postclassicisms Initiative. She has published widely on the history of the body, Greek science, medicine, and philosophy, Greek literature, gender and sexuality, and the reception of Greek philosophy in continental philosophy.
Sponsored by the UC Berkeley Department of Rhetoric; co-sponsored by the Department of Classics and The Program in Critical Theory.