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Theories of causation and human agency in ancient Greek philosophy

Grant number: 15/05317-8
Support type:Research Projects - Thematic Grants
Duration: September 01, 2015 - November 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Principal researcher:Marco Antônio de Ávila Zingano
Grantee:Marco Antônio de Ávila Zingano
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Principal researchers:Daniel Rossi Nunes Lopes ; Evan Robert Keeling ; Fátima Regina Rodrigues Évora ; Nuno Manuel Morgadinho dos Santos Coelho ; Roberto Bolzani Filho
Assoc. researchers:Fernando Maciel Gazoni ; Luiz Henrique Lopes dos Santos ; Paulo Fernando Tadeu Ferreira
Associated grant(s):19/20694-3 - Understanding art through causality: a study of Aristotle’s poetics, AV.EXT
19/16414-5 - The individual and the city: human and political relationships in Aristotle and his time, AP.R SPRINT
18/16020-4 - V Conference of the Brazilian Society for Analytic Philosophy, AR.BR
18/02035-0 - Causation in geometry according to the Pseudo-Aristotelian treatise De Lineis Insecabilibus, AV.EXT
16/09861-7 - Method, causation, and goodness in Aristotle's ethics, AV.BR
Associated scholarship(s):20/03144-7 - Matter and Life Final Cause as a function in book IV of Aristotle's Meteorologica, BP.PD
20/05994-8 - Prolegomena to sentimental education: À¬¸¿Â, DÁµ¾¹Â and the constitution of non-rational motivation on the philosophy of Aristotle, BP.DR
19/13987-4 - Perspectivism, incommensurability and pleasure on Plato, BP.DR
+ associated scholarships 19/01323-4 - Tradition and innovation in René Descartes' les Météores: between rupture with Aristotelianism and continuity with scholastic thought, BP.DR
19/20698-9 - Plato's revision of his doctrine of forms in the dialogue Parmenides, BP.IC
19/05555-7 - Practical reason and the determination of the ends of action in Aristotle, BP.DR
17/18451-0 - Shame in Plato's Dialogues, BP.DR
17/03295-2 - Resemblance as non-accidental homonymy in Aristotle: the case of friendship, BP.MS
16/11249-8 - Protagoras in Ancient Greek Philosophy, BE.PQ
16/05333-6 - The Aristotelian tradition on 'De anima' commentary, BP.PD
16/05983-0 - Voluntary action in Aristotle's 'Eudemian Ethics': reason, responsibility and imputation, BP.PD
16/11848-9 - Determinism and compatibilism in Stoicism, BP.PD
16/04948-7 - Justice as 'psychic harmony' and the tripartition of the soul in Plato's 'Republic', BP.MS
15/22490-5 - 'Eph' hêmin', determinism and moral responsibility in Aristotle, BP.DR
15/21196-6 - Theory of Recollection in Plato's Meno: a study of two authors approach on Recollection and Paradox of Meno, BP.IC
14/17154-3 - The role of matter in Aristotle's Metaphysics books ZH, BP.PD - associated scholarships

Abstract

The notion of cause plays a central role in all major philosophical enquiries in Antiquity. From the pre-Socratics to late Antiquity, philosophers have not only inquired about what causes what, but also, and more importantly, have tried to understand what it means to be a cause. There is a deep connection in Greek philosophy between doctrines of causation, which mainly address natural phenomena, and doctrines of moral responsibility, central to any theory on human agency. This link is clear already in the common ancient Greek language, as aitios refers primarily to who is responsible for an action, especially to who is to blame for a given action, but was quickly expanded to all cases of responsibility, either blameworthy or praiseworthy human actions. From such an extended use it also acquired, now in a philosophical mood, the meaning that will become our familiar notion of natural cause and causation (notably concerning the abstract noun aitia). Such a notion of causation, although applied specifically to natural domains, will always keep its close links to the notion of moral responsibility, where it is originally grounded. This research project aims at investigating the different conceptions and doctrines about the nature of causation brought forward in Ancient Greek philosophy, and is aimed as well at charting in a philosophical fashion the corresponding theories of human agency that were proposed by ancient philosophers in close connection with their theories of natural causation. (AU)

Articles published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the research grant:
O filósofo e o sofista, segundo Platão