The President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Prokopios Pavlopoulos: "Aristotle is a Universal Point of Reference for Human Thought”, December 18, 2019, Acropolis Museum

The President of the Hellenic RepublicMr. Prokopios Pavlopoulos, honored with his presence an event for the presentation of the two commemorative volumes, Aristotle Contemporary Perspectives on his Thought (De Gruyter, 2018, p. 366) and Proceedings of the World Congress “Aristotle 2400 Years” (A.U.TH. & DIKAM, 2019, p. 848), that resulted from the World Congress “Aristotle 2400 Years”. The event was organized by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Aristotle StudiesA.U.TH. (DI.K.A.M.), on December 18th, 2019, at the Amphitheatre of the Acropolis Museum. The volumes were edited by Professor Emerita of Philosophy of Science and President of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Aristotle Studies, Demetra Sfendoni-Mentzou, who was also responsible for the organization and coordination of the event. 

After the end of the speeches, the President of the Hellenic Republic, overlooking the protocol —given the fact that a speech by the President was not included in the Program —delivered, without any preparation, an insightful speech on Aristotle and Aristotle’s work. At the same time, the President emphasized how pleased he was that: “you gave me the opportunity to set under the auspices of the President of the Hellenic Republic—not under the auspices of Prokopios Pavlopoulos—this symposium… you offered me this opportunity to have my own contribution in the perpetuity of this volume, attempting to earn even a small part of it.” And he continued: “I wish to thank you for your diligence, depth and persistence, which you show without taking into account the peculiar times that we are living in, times in which we cannot set a hierarchy for what is proper to be done.” He then went on to argue, by developing concrete examples, that Aristotle “is a universal point of reference for human thought” with his contribution in Philosophy as well as in the Sciences.  

After the end of the speeches, the President of the Hellenic Republic, overlooking the protocol —given the fact that a speech by the President was not included in the Program —delivered, without any preparation, an insightful speech on Aristotle and Aristotle’s work. At the same time, the President emphasized how pleased he was that: “you gave me the opportunity to set under the auspices of the President of the Hellenic Republic—not under the auspices of Prokopios Pavlopoulos—this symposium… you offered me this opportunity to have my own contribution in the perpetuity of this volume, attempting to earn even a small part of it.” And he continued: “I wish to thank you for your diligence, depth and persistence, which you show without taking into account the peculiar times that we are living in, times in which we cannot set a hierarchy for what is proper to be done.” He then went on to argue, by developing concrete examples, that Aristotle “is a universal point of reference for human thought” with his contribution in Philosophy as well as in the Sciences.  

The speakers of the event were: Lambros Couloubaritsis, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Université libre de Bruxelles, Member of the Royal Academy of Belgium, Correspondent Member of the Academy of Athens; Theodosios Tassios, Professor Emeritus of the National Technical University of Athens, Honorary Doctor of Engineering, A.U.Th., Honorary President of the Hellenic Philosophical Society; and Demetra Sfendoni-Mentzou, Professor Emerita of Philosophy of Science, President of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Aristotle Studies, A.U.Th. Coordinator of the discussion that followed was Zacharias Skouras, Professor of Genetics, A.U.Th., Secretary General of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Aristotle Studies, A.U.Th.

Referring to the contribution of the two volumes, Lambros Couloubaritsis pointed out: “In fact, the structure of the volumes, which reflects the way the programme of the [World] Congress was organized, reverses the traditional structure of Aristotle’s work since the time of Andronicus of Rhodes, but mainly since the Medieval period, when the scholars placed methodology, namely what they called Organon, at the beginning of Aristotle’s work.” This advantageous positioning of methodology that prevailed for many centuries generated many difficulties, which indicated that we needed new approaches “in which,” as Lambros Couloubaritsis highlighted, “the Philosophy of this Conference belongs to, by setting as a starting point Philosophy of Nature, followed by Philosophy of Human Action and is completed by the Theory of Thinking, which encloses methodology and, also today, informatics… DIKAM, that was founded in 2011, presents, indeed, an innovation and originality on a global scale with the presence of scientists from the fields of Biology, Genetics, Astrophysics and Mathematics, and not just the traditional classical scholars and philosophers.

Subsequently, Thedosios Tassios, defending the timeliness of Aristotle beyond the contemporary value and relevance of Aristotelian Ethicsreferred to a number of the Stageirite’s correct predictions in various fields of Science, despite the absence of experimentation. He specifically cited examples from the fields of BiologyMeteorology and, even, Seismology

Finally, Demetra Sfendoni-Mentzou, presented her own proposal for a new reading of Aristotle’s Philosophy of Nature, which is developed in detail in the first of the two volumes, Aristotle – Contemporary Perspectives on his Thought (DeGruyter, 2018) and is in opposition to the traditional view of Aristotle’s “utter failure” in the field of Physics. She, thus, outlined the main features of Aristotle’s dynamic—as she characterized it—model of nature, opposing the static model of Democritus’ atomic theory, and, in modern times, of Newtonian Physics. By sketching out Aristotle’s model of nature, she emphasized the importance of the concepts of motiontimecontinuitypotentiality and actuality, as well as, of “prime matter.” “All these,” as Demetra Sfendoni-Mentzou argued, “support the idea that the way Aristotle views nature is far closer to the vision of nature of contemporary Science, than Newtonian Physics.” She thus suggested that we “should attempt a re-reading of Aristotle’s work in light of the new discoveries in the field of Science;” and she concluded: “the same idea applies to all fields of Aristotle’s work, as the reader of the two volumes will find out. The Stageirite’s ideas, amongst others, of democracy, polity, citizenship, education, society in general, justice, ethics, are of great interest today and render Aristotle a contemporary thinker; a thinker with whom we can develop a dialogue. Through this connection we can be led to a deeper understanding of ideas and problems of our times, find solutions for our present dead ends and become better people and better citizens.”

(Translation from the Greek text: George Stremplis)

Video presentation of the speech of the President of the Hellenic Republic

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