Philosophy as Therapy and Self-Transformation in Seneca

Tuesday, 30 September, 6:30
Theatre C, Old Arts, University of Melbourne

Prof Aldo Setaioli

Seneca, the tutor and advisor of the Roman emperor Nero, left behind a wide range of philosophical writings. The first goal of Seneca’s philosophy is the therapy of the soul – in other words, the moral progress of the reader as well as of the writer himself. This is a process entailing several stages. The philosophical therapist will first address the emotions of the reader still far removed from wisdom and reason; he will then encourage ascetical ‘exercises’ and finally he will be able to appeal to reason. An important role in this spiritual progress is also played by reading.

Aldo Setaioli is Professor Emeritus of Latin Language and Literature at the University of Perugia (Italy). He has published widely in the area of Latin literature, never losing sight of Greek antecedents and devoting special attention to such authors as Catullus, Virgil and his commentators, Horace, Seneca and Petronius. His research interests have been in the philosophical and allegorical interpretations of classical myth and poetry, as well as afterlife beliefs in the Greek and Roman world down to late antiquity.

This public lecture and Professor Setaioli’s visit are sponsored by the Classical Association of Victoria (CAV), the Australasian Society for Classical Studies (ASCS), the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies (SOPHIS) of Monash University and the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies (SHAPS) at The University of Melbourne.