Has Anything Changed Since the Time of Plato?

September 24, 2008 (Wednesday) / 5:00 pm6:30 pm

Harrison Auditorium, Penn Museum, 3260 South Street

Has Anything Changed Since the Time of Plato?

Ancients and Moderns on the Value of Change

Alexander Nehamas

Professor of Philosophy
Edmund N. Carpenter II Class of 1943 Professor in the Humanities
Princeton University

Change occurs only if the thing that changes also remains unchanged; otherwise, we merely have one thing replacing another. What is more real and more valuable: stability, permanence, and eternity, or the ephemeral and the temporary? Can one exist without the other? This ancient abstract philosophical debate is surprisingly relevant to contemporary views on religion, politics, and everyday life.

Alexander Nehamas has made major contributions in classics and ancient philosophy, especially in the study of Plato. He also has written on Nietzsche and Foucault, as well as on "modern anxieties" and the aesthetics of popular culture. By placing interpretation at the center of his work, he has helped sustain philosophy as a discipline that is once again relevant to other fields such as art history, literary criticism, and religious studies in ways that can affect a broader public.