De eerste editie van mijn promotie onderzoek

Posted by on May 13, 2015 in Gedachtegoed | 0 comments

De eerste editie van mijn promotie onderzoek

Abstract

In the present dissertation we had the aim to investigate the development of the prenotions of destiny and freedom in ancient Greek thought. Our research consists of two parts. The first part is dedicated to the research of the development of the first ‘contours’ of destiny in Archaic, Classic and Hellenistic thought. We have studied mainly the works of Homer, Hesiod, Pindar, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Plato, Aristotle, Seneca and Alexander of Aphrodisias.  We sustain the idea that there is no linear development of the notion moira, as some scholars maintain. Instead of a progress from a concrete representation to an abstract one, or the other way around, we observe the coexistence between a concrete image of the word moira (a chthonic goddess) and her abstract representation (the first expressions of the conception of destiny). Many scholars have made conjectures about the existence of a universal, abstract and superior Moira, who ordained the Justice and the right distribution of the whole cosmos. But in our research we did not find a glimpse of this philosophical and absolute Moira in any archaic or classical text. In the second part of the present investigation we have tried to demonstrate that the notion of freedom is not subject to a progressive development either. In the poetry of Homer the hero is not a marionette in the hands of the gods, and in the tragedies of Euripides we do not observe what some scholars have called the ‘secularization’ or ‘emancipation’ of the human ‘will’. Instead of a radical rupture between the archaic and the classic thought we observe continuity of perspective: the notions of destiny and freedom are never absolute but mutually conditioned. The Archaic, Classic and even Hellenistic poetry, describe the human being as vulnerable to external and internal influences, but also as capable of taking daily decisions. The same idea of fragility is applied to the conception of destiny. The manifestations of necessity are never absolute, but open to the changes of the contingency, the decision of the gods and the input of human action.  The need of an unconditioned and absolute free will, opposed to an absolute Destiny, was unknown to the ancient Greeks. The responsibility of the human being was explained through its limitations and not through an infinitive capacity of volition.

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