CONF: Ancient Fallacies

Seen on the Classicists list:

Ancient Fallacies

Durham, 21-23 September 2011

Department of Classics and Ancient History, Ritson Room

An international conference organised by Dr Luca Castagnoli and Dr Valentina Di Lascio, with the sponsorship of the Leverhulme Trust and the Department of Classics and Ancient History of Durham University.

Greek philosophers ‘invented’ the discipline known as ‘logic’, the study and classification of valid forms of argument and inference (the ‘invention’ is usually attributed to Aristotle, but less systematic reflections on logical issues can be traced back at least to Plato). Since its beginning and throughout antiquity, this inquiry remained intimately connected to the investigation, diagnosis and classification of forms of argument that are invalid or otherwise unsound, and especially of those forms of argument which, despite their invalidity, somehow appear to be valid and thus can easily induce in error. To be able to spot and unmask ‘fallacies’ in someone else’s argument was particularly crucial in a context in which philosophy itself had an intrinsic dialectical nature, and fallacy was often used consciously or ‘sophistically’ to win the debate or put one’s rival into a corner. The conference will investigate ancient theories of fallacies and sophisms, practices and examples of fallacious argumentation, and philosophical attitudes towards them.

Provisional Programme

21 September

9.00-9.30 Welcome, Registration and Coffee

9.30-9.45 Introduction

9.45-10.45 P. Crivelli (Oxford) – Plato, Meno 87c11-89a7: the Interweaving of Arguments

10.45-11.45 M. M. McCabe (KCL) – First chop your logos … – Ambiguity in Plato’s Euthydemus

11.45-12.00 Coffee break

12.00-13.00 M. Burnyeat (Cambridge) – The exchange between Socrates and Polemarchus in Plato’s Republic I

13.00-15.00 Lunch Break

15.00-16.00 N. Denyer (Cambridge) – Megarics, Dialecticians, and the Use of Fallacy

16.00-16.30 Coffee break

16.30-17.30 P. Horky (Durham) – Fallacies in Inquiry (Historia)

17.30-18.30 L.-A. Dorion (Montreal) – Can the dialectician use sophisms? The case of Socrates and that of Aristotle

19.30 Dinner

22 September

9.15-10.15 C. Rapp (Munich) – ‘Aristotle on sound and deceptive sign arguments’

10.15-10.45 Coffee break

10.|45-11.45 A. Schiaparelli (Oxford) – Fallacies in Aristotle’s Topics VI

11.45-12.45 P. Fait (Padova) – The Third Man Argument in Aristotle’s Sophistical Refutations 22

12.45-15.15 Lunch break / Cathedral tour

15.15-16.15 P. S. Hasper (Munich) – Understanding Aristotle’s Theory of Fallacy

16.15-16.30 Coffee break

16.30-17.30 J.-B. Gourinat (Paris) – The Place of Fallacies in Stoic Dialectic

17.30-18.30 W. Cavini (Bologna) – The ΟΥΤΙΣ Fallacy

19.30 Dinner

23 September

9.15-10.15 L. Castagnoli & E. V. Di Lascio (Durham) – Different Approaches to Fallacy in Antiquity

10.15-10.45 Coffee break

10.45-11.45 S. Ebbesen (Copenhagen) – Aristotle’s Sophistical Refutations in the Medieval Tradition

11.45-12.45 A. M. Mora (Copenhagen) – Meaning and Equivocation in the 13th century

12.45 Conclusion and buffet lunch

To register for the conference please fill and send the registration form at by 10 September 2011.

For more information about the conference please contact the organisers, Dr Luca Castagnoli (luca.castagnoli AT and Dr Valentina Di Lascio (e.v.di-lascio AT

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