Mathematics Program and Classical Studies Program present

The Pythagorean Harmonics of the Parthenon

Michael Weinman, Professor of Philosophy, Bard College Berlin

Monday, October 1, 2018

Drawing on arguments from The Parthenon and Liberal Education (SUNY, 2018), a monograph recently coauthored with my Bard College Berlin colleague Geoff Lehman, I will point to the resonance of the work in number theory, astronomy, and harmonics of Philolaus, a near contemporary of Socrates, with central features of the design principles of the Parthenon. In this way, I hope to show that the Parthenon can be seen as a mediator between the early reception of Ancient Near-Eastern mathematical ideas and their integration into Greek thought as a form of liberal education, as the latter came to be defined by Plato and his followers. Prominently in its pursuit of harmonia (harmony; joining together) without resolving tensions between opposites, the Parthenon engages dialectical thought as we encounter it in Plato's dialogues and in ways that are of enduring relevance for the project of liberal education.

Time: 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Location: RKC 103