Dimitris Vardoulakis - Phronesis and Materialism: Practical Judgment and Agonism

When: Wednesday, 5. June 2019, 19:00. Where: Konferenzraum IPW, NIG 2nd floor, Universitätsstr. 7, 1010 Vienna. Lecture by Dimitris Vardoulakis (Western Sydney University)

Invitation to the IPW Lecture "Phronesis and Materialism: Practical Judgment and Agonism"

Lecturer: Dimitris Vardoulakis (Western Sydney University)
Moderation: Oliver Marchart (IPW | University of Vienna)

When: Wednesday, 5. June 2019, 19:00
Where: Konferenzraum IPW, NIG 2nd floor, Universitätsstr. 7, 1010 Vienna


It is a commonplace to turn to Book 6 of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics to find out what the ancient Greeks thought about practical judgment or phronesis. There is good reason for this: Aristotle’s is the lengthiest account of phronesis. We regularly fail to note, however, the importance of phronesis in epicureanism. I first explore how Epicurus’s conception of phronesis differs from Aristotle’s. I also indicate how Epicurus’s conception influences political discourse in early modernity in materialists such as Machiavelli and Spinoza. Then I explain how practical judgment is indispensable for an agonistic politics. Finally, I delineate how the exclusion of Epicurus’s conception of phronesis in early twentieth century, for instance by Heidegger, results in the invention of a politics beyond instrumentality and calculation as a way of repressing the materialism of practical judgment.

Dimitris Vardoulakis is the deputy chair of Philosophy at Western Sydney University. He is the author of The Doppelgänger: Literature’s Philosophy (2010), Sovereignty and its Other: Toward the Dejustification of Violence (2013), Freedom from the Free Will: On Kafka’s Laughter (2016), Stasis Before the State: Nine Theses on Agonistic Democracy (2018), and Authority and Utility: On Spinoza’s Epicureanism (forthcoming in 2020). He is the director of “Thinking Out Loud: The Sydney Lectures in Philosophy and Society,” and the co-editor of the book series “Incitements” (Edinburgh University Press).

An event of the IPW Lectures event series, an international lecture series by the Department of Political Science, University of Vienna.

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