Lecture of Demetra Sfendoni-Mentzou, Professor Emerita of Philosophy of Science and President of the “Interdisciplinary Centre for Aristotle Studies,” A.U.Th., at the Plenary Session on Nature, at the XXIV World Congress of Philosophy, Beijing 2018
On Friday August 17, 2018, Demetra Sfendoni-Mentzou, Professor Emerita of Philosophy of Science and President of the “Interdisciplinary Centre for Aristotle Studies,” A.U.Th. was the Chair of the Plenary Session on Nature, at the 24thWORLD CONGRESS OF PHILOSOPHY, Beijing 2018.
In her Introductory Address, Demetra Sfendoni-Mentzou referred to the origin of the concept of nature, its subsequent development and the role that it has played in the history of Western thought. She called attention to the fact, that since antiquity there have been two main models of nature: the Parmenidean/atomic static, a-temporal universe with its revival in Newtonian Mechanics and Aristotle’s dynamic model of nature, which, on the basis of the ideas of scientific revolution, has for centuries been considered as a failure. However, the exploration of nature in contemporary Physics, invites us to abandon the Newtonian model and with it the empiricist/positivist/nominalist trends, and adopt, instead, a neο-Aristotelian perspective to natural science. This, she claimed, can lead us to a deeper understanding of the physical world; at the same time, it can help us discover the fundamental reasons, why we should respect nature in the sense of the totality of all things that exist. In order to achieve this, we need an interdisciplinary approach of nature and a holistic attitude acknowledging both the multi-dimensional character of nature and the interconnectedness of its parts.
The speakers of the Plenary Session were the following:
Guillermo Hurtado: Naturaleza Muerta
Sebastian Rödl : The Good – As It Is Comprehended in Practical Reasoning
Guorong Yang: The Shared Beauty of Nature and Human Being: The Twofold Horizon of "The Perspective of Human Being" and "The Perspective of Nature"
Peter Singer: The Moral Status of Animals and the Ethics of Our Treatment of Them