CORDIS - EU research results

"Indeterminacy and Argument in Greek Philosophy: An Alternative Metaphysics in Protagoras, Pyrrho and in the Socratic Schools (traditionally named as 'minor')."


"This project aims to unearth the full philosophical importance of Protagoras, Pyrrho and of two Socratic schools (the Cyrenaics and the Megarians) from the shadows imposed on them by modern traditional scholarship, by focussing on the key-idea of metaphysical indeterminacy.
Metaphysical indeterminacy is the radical view that reality is inherently without any fixed ontological structure on its own: things in the world do not have any intrinsic essence on their own. The project at issue here proposes to understand the significance of metaphysical indeterminacy (as well as reconstructing the logic through which indeterminacy is both argued for and contrasted to) in the context of the thought of Protagoras, the Socratic schools of the Cyrenaics and the Megarians and of Pyrrho, in the crucial period of time spanning from the fifth to the end of the fourth century B.C. In so doing, a challenging interpretation of the philosophical weight to be attached to the figures and schools just referred to will be proposed. It will be argued that these figures and schools delivered a metaphysical model of reality that was philosophically appealing, in so long as it provided a forceful alternative to the Platonic/Aristotelian view of reality.
The novelty of the proposed project is that it first identifies a view, such as indeterminacy, as an essential metaphysical position to be evaluated in Greek philosophy and, secondly, that it makes such a view as the common element around which Protagoras, the Cyrenaics, the Megarians and Pyrrho constructed their different—yet germane—doctrines, hence offering a quite innovative reading of both the philosophical relations between these somehow underestimated thinkers and of their respective importance in the context of Ancient thought."

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EU contribution
€ 236 547,00
56126 Pisa

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Centro (IT) Toscana Pisa
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Bruno Centrone (Prof.)
Total cost
No data