Doctoral Seminar - State of the Art and Perspectives in Philosophy and History of Science: Origins and Uses of Philosophy and Science in the Mediterranean (February 28, March 7 and 14, 2023)

© Pixabay

This seminar is organized within the framework of the doctoral program "Mediterranean Studies" of the Institut Sociétés en Mutation en Méditerranée (SoMuM). Each seminar aims to provide a theoretical and methodological synthesis of each discipline in the field of Mediterranean studies: state of knowledge and perspectives.

Coordinator: Mariagrazia Cairo, Centre Gilles Gaston Granger (CGGG), CNRS, Aix-Marseille University

The Mediterranean is a space of circulation of knowledge and ideas in which philosophy was born, spread, dispersed and transformed. In the framework of this doctoral seminar we propose to explore three non-exhaustive avenues of reflection that allow us to question the emergence and circulation of knowledge, practices and uses of philosophy and science in the Mediterranean and that attempt to take into account the durability of these disciplines during the transmissions that their knowledge has undergone in spite of successive dominations (Greek, Arab-Muslim, European). The analysis of texts and their interpretations will be at the heart of the three sessions.

Session 1: Circulation of scientific knowledge in the Mediterranean

February 28, 2023, 10 am - 1 pm
(Paul-Albert Février room, MMSH, Aix-en-provence)

The Mediterranean has been a place of circulation of scientific knowledge between the civilizations that have occupied it since antiquity until the 19th century, but this circulation has not been continuous. We can identify in the course of this long period particular moments, marked by the intensity of scientific activities.

We will present in particular the transmission of knowledge from the Greek world to the Arab world, then from the Arab world to the Latin world, by combining two approaches. On the one hand, the study of translations, which provides us with direct evidence of this transmission, and on the other hand, the comparative analysis of texts, which requires a deeper knowledge of the contents but which sometimes allows us to restore lost works.

Philippe Abgrall is a CNRS researcher, member of the Centre Gilles Gaston Granger, Aix-Marseille University, and a specialist in the history of science, especially Greco-Arabic and Arab-Latin mathematics. His current research focuses on the transmission and circulation of mathematical knowledge in the Mediterranean area and, more particularly, on the history of geometry and its instruments from the 9th to the 13th century as well as its applications to optics, statics and astronomy. His publications include Le développement de la géométrie aux IX-XIe siècle - Abū Sahl al-Qūhī, coll. Sciences dans l'histoire, Lib. A. Blanchard, Paris, 2004, and he is preparing a work on L'explication de la construction de l'astrolabe par Ptolémée (IIe siècle) et par al-Farghānī (IXe siècle): un essai de comparaison.

Session 2. The ancient Mediterranean and the beginnings of philosophy

March 7, 2023, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
(Paul-Albert Février room, MMSH, Aix-en-provence)
Visio :
Meeting ID: 897 6957 9808
Secret code : 655846

"The Beginnings of Philosophy" is the title of a scholarly work published in 2016 by two specialists in ancient philosophy, André Laks and Glenn Most, simultaneously published in French and English(Early Greek Philosophy for the English title). The work renews the reference work published by Hermann Diels in 1903, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, whose last edition, with additions by Walther Kranz, dates back to 1952. We will use these collections of fragments and testimonies on the pre-Socratics to reflect on the specificities of the study of philosophical texts from the ancient Mediterranean.

Isabelle Koch is a professor of philosophy at Aix-Marseille University, Centre Gilles Gaston Granger, specializing in ancient philosophy. Her current research focuses on causality in Antiquity, especially the polemics against Stoic determinism in Cicero and Alexander of Aphrodite, as well as on the relationship between Hellenism and Christianity (Plotinus, Porphyry, Augustine). She has recently published La Causalité humaine. Sur le De fato d'Alexandre d'Aphrodise, Classiques Garnier, Paris, 2019.

Session 3. Self-experience and work in the Mediterranean space

March 14, 2023, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
(Paul-Albert Février room, MMSH, Aix-en-provence)
Visio :
Meeting ID: 217 525 1816
Secret code: 36TDLP

Considering the Mediterranean as a space for the circulation of knowledge, ideas, and practices also allows us to explore the ethical construction of the subject in its relationship to others and to the world. With the help of Michel Foucault's analyses and texts on the "concern" and "techniques" of the self, we will explore a history of subjectivity, that is to say, of "relationships to oneself" caught up in relations of power, knowledge and freedom, which seems to have its point of emergence in Hellenistic philosophy and its circulation in the Mediterranean space. This reading grid will allow us to examine the transformations of the ways of thinking about the experience of oneself and the knowledge that stems from it by focusing, in particular, on the examination of the figure of the "working subject" that is constituted between the practice of parrêsia and the management of oneself by oneself and by others

Mariagrazia Cairo is a lecturer in philosophy at Aix-Marseille University, Centre Gilles Gaston Granger, CNRS, specializing in the philosophy of activity and work. Her current research focuses on the transformations of work today, particularly in the field of training, education and teaching. She is particularly interested in the processes of subjectivation at work between devices and activity and in the relationship between philosophy and the humanities and social sciences, particularly around the place of the practice of inquiry. She recently co-edited with Enrico Donaggio and José Rose the collective work Travail e(s)t liberté? ères, Toulouse, 2022, and with Christine Félix and Frédéric Saussez, the thematic dossier "Dispositifs et activité́ en éducation, formation, orientation" for the journal Recherches en éducation, issue 47, March 2022,

Session 4. Disciplinary Seminar Debriefing

March 14, 2023, 12:30-1:30 pm
(Paul-Albert Février room, MMSH, Aix-en-provence)
Visio :
Meeting ID : 217 525 1816
Secret code : 36TDLP


February 28, 2023 (10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.), March 7, 2023 (10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.), March 14, 2023 (9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.)

Maison méditerranéenne des Sciences de l'Homme (MMSH), Paul-Albert Février room.
Participation by videoconference is also possible for sessions 2, 3 and 4. The first session will be held in person only.

Hourly volume
This seminar is valued at 10 hours, as part of the "Mediterranean Studies" doctoral program of the SoMuM Institute.

Free and compulsory registration
Registration deadline: February 23, 2023

doctoral seminar
circulation of knowledge