Orientations to and beyond the Logos

Organized by Dr. Olga Faccani, Dr. Enrico Müller, and Prof. Angelo Tonelli

Weekly meetings will take place on Thursdays 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. (US Central Time) beginning on May 16, 2024. There will be 8 seminar sessions.


Logos has always been a fundamental concept of Western thinking. Often reduced to “rational thinking,” especially  in modernity, it has consistently been viewed as the core of Western philosophy and culture. However, ancient Greek writings reveal a more nuanced origin of the logos as fluctuant, manifold, contested, and with unclear boundaries. After it was, in the poetry of Hesiod and Homer, etymologically connected with the practice of telling a story, Parmenides elevated it to the source of all wisdom, whereas Heraclitus showed that one can think it in various ways; Plato differentiated the concept and conceived of it a) as autonomous activity of the soul, b) as inner dialogue of the soul with itself, and c) as an openness for sudden inspirations. Eventually, Aristotle prepared the ground for seeing it as a unity by making thinking the subject of a special science, i.e., “logic,” for which he developed an “organon” (tool), as it was later called. But while it became more and more narrowly defined in logical terms, it has in fact never lost its disputed and ungraspable beginnings.

Delving into the origins of the notion of logos, this seminar explores how the manifold aspects of the concept in the ancient Greek world shaped different perceptions of reality, knowledge, and belief, as well as how its interpretation as rational thinking was an orientation decision that continues to impact current philosophical thought. This seminar is discussion-based; this means that participants are expected to read the assigned passages before the sessions. The seminar is free, but seats may be limited. Please apply by May 10, 2024, via the application form below by briefly explaining 1.) your professional and/or academic background, 2.) your philosophical interests, and 3.) your motivation for joining the seminar (max. 50 words per field).

Application Form

    To apply, please send a short text briefly describing: