Virtual Seminar: Orientation/Disorientation in Ancient Greek Philosophy and Literature

Organized by Dr. Olga Faccani and Dr. Enrico Müller

Weekly meetings will take place on Thursdays 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (US Central Time) beginning on February 02, 2023. There will be 8 seminar sessions.


Many of the basic concepts of our present political, scientific and aesthetic world orientation have their origins in ancient Greek thought. While the ancient Greeks never acted as a longstanding political superpower, as the Romans did through their Empire, they are still influential and skillful masters of orientation: through their myths, literature, and philosophy, they continue to resonate in our contemporary lives as we navigate questions of how we understand our world, ourselves, and others. Ancient texts often portray ethically relevant situations, in which human beings lack control, and in doing so they expose readers to irritations and disorientations concerning “a lack of footholds, misleading clues, disrupted or failing routines, untenable plausibilities, fragmentary memories, or infelicitous orientation decisions” (Werner Stegmaier, What is Orientation? A Philosophical Investigation, p. 90). In this seminar, we will engage in close readings with different genres of text – such as aphorism, epic, dialogue, drama, treatise – to examine characteristic forms and worlds of orientation in ancient Greek writers like Homer, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Sophocles, Plato and Aristotle, and thereby use the framework of Werner Stegmaier’s philosophy of orientation.

The seminar is discussion-based, so participants are expected to read short texts (approx. 20 pages or less) before the meetings. The seminar is free. Please apply by January 29, 2023, via email to