Presocratic Ethics

Giannis Stamatellos

Presocratic Ethics

Applications now open! 

Please apply here


The workshop aims to offer a concise introduction to early Greek philosophical ethics. Cicero (106 – 43 BCE) emphatically stated that “Socrates was the first who brought down philosophy from heaven to earth and placed it in cities, and introduced it even in homes, and drove it to inquire about life and customs and things good and evil (Tusculan Disputations V.10). Aristotle in Metaphysics 987b2 regarded Socrates as the philosopher who wondered extensively on ‘ethical matters’. Aristotle further claimed that Socrates’ teaching focused on ‘definitions’ found not to the world of nature as a whole but to the universal principles of ethics. However, the Derveni Papyrus demonstrated a wide range of Presocratic themes including ethics. Presocratic philosophy was not only an enquiry on the cosmos and physical reality, but also on the aporia of human life, virtue, excellence and the soul’s purification. Whereas virtue ethics systematically developed and discussed by Socratic and post-Socratic philosophical movements, the early Greek philosophical tradition should not be excluded from an ethical discourse. Eminent Presocratic thinkers such as Xenophanes, Heraclitus, Pythagoras, Empedocles, Democritus and Archelaus enquired on key areas of early Greek philosophical ethics.

(1) Heroic Ethics (Homer, Hesiod, Xenophanes)

(2) Virtue Ethics (Heraclitus, Pythagoreans, Empedocles)

(3) Atomic Ethics (Democritus)


Giannis Stamatellos, PhD: MA in Ancient Philosophy, University of Wales Trinity Saint David (2001); PhD in Philosophy, University of Wales Trinity Saint David (2005). Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Center for Neoplatonic Virtue Ethics (CNVE) at the University of Copenhagen (2010–2012); External Research Associate in the project Power Structuralism in Ancient Ontologies at the University of Oxford (2011-2014); Founder and President of the Institute of Philosophy and Technology (Greece). He is a Member of the Research Ethics and Deontology Committee at the Ionian University and the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies. He is the author of the books: Plotinus and the Presocratics (SUNY, 2007), Computer Ethics: A Global Perspective (Jones and Bartlett, 2007), Introduction to Presocratics: A Thematic Approach to Early Greek Philosophy (Wiley Blackwell, 2012), and he co-edited the volume Plotinus and the Moving Image (Brill 2017). He has published more than 50 papers on philosophy and classics.

Meeting: Saturday, 19 February 2022, 18.00 – 20.00 (Greece time)

Place: Online (MS Teams)

Deadline for Applications: 15 February 2022

Workshop Fee:  20€

Number of Participants: 20 (maximum)


A certificate of attendance will be provided upon request after completion of the workshop.


Please apply here