Conceptions of contemplation in Greek and Roman philosophies

A/Prof. Matthew Sharpe will be presenting on Thursday 7 April 2022 1-2pm, via Zoom, as part of the Contemplative Studies Centre’s new interdisciplinary colloquium series, ‘Wise words: A deep dive into contemplative science’.

Conceptions of contemplation in Greek and Roman philosophies

The possibility of a contemplative way of life was widely recognised in ancient Greek and Roman thought. Aristotle conceives of the bios theoretikos as the highest form of life, on grounds of its pleasures, its objects, and its independence. Even the Stoics and Cicero, who valorise the active life of public service, each recognise that humans have a distinct contemplative capacity whose fulfilment will be part of the best life. Yet, to the extent that we presently identify philosophy with rational argumentation, this dimension of ancient philosophy has often been overlooked. This seminar will explore conceptions of contemplation (theoria), the contemplative life (bios theoretikos), as well as specific contemplative practices, across different philosophical schools, including Aristotle, the Stoics, and Epicureans.

This event will be facilitated by Associate Professor Nicholas Van Dam, Director of the Contemplative Studies Centre. There will be an opportunity for Q&A at the end.

Click here to register for the event.

Cathy Legg interviewed in Figure/Ground

Deakin Philosophy’s Dr Cathy Legg was recently interviewed at length by Laureano Ralón for Figure/Ground, on C.S. Peirce’s pragmatism and its ongoing relevance. 

This rich array of Peirces can seem like completely different philosophers. But I prefer to see them like scattered initial excavations of a ruined city, which ultimately presents a strongly integrated and brilliant plan.

The interview is available here.

Telos Press Podcast: Matthew Sharpe on Albert Camus, Political Engagement, and the Contemplative Life

A/Prof. Matthew Sharpe was interviewed on the Telos Press Podcast hosted by David Pan.

In their conversation they discussed the ways Albert Camus engaged himself politically during his life; how Camus justified his aesthetic work in relation to his political activity; how he responded to critiques of his focus on contemplation rather than political engagement; and how he understood the relationship between aesthetic contemplation and philosophical contemplation.

You can listen to or download the podcast here.



Philosophy and the Rise of Fascism: A Symposium on Lukác’s Destruction of Reason

Philosophy and the Rise of Fascism

A Symposium on Lukác’s Destruction of Reason

February 1st, 2nd, and 3rd 2022, 5 – 8 pm EST (via Zoom)

Join us for a three-day symposium centered around discussion of the legacy and importance of György Lukács’s 1954 work, The Destruction of Reason, one of the most important twentieth century works of philosophy, hosted by Study Groups on Psychoanalysis and PoliticsDeakin University, and Verso Books



Mariana Teixeira, Freie Universität Berlin

Vanessa Wills, George Washington University

Dirk Moses, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Adrian Johnston, University of New Mexico

Carl Sachs, Marymount University

Daniel Lopez, Jacobin Magazine

Ishay Landa, Open University of Israel

Margit Köves, Delhi University

Tijana Okić, Scuola Normale Superiore



Daniel Tutt, Study Groups on Psychoanalysis and Politics

Matthew Sharpe, Deakin University

Please  RSVP to A/Prof. Sharpe

Philosophical Perspectives on Artistic Agency: A day-long workshop 

Philosophical Perspectives on Artistic Agency: A day-long workshop 

Friday, November 19th, 2021 

Judith Leyster, Self-Portrait (c.1630), National Gallery of Art, Washington

(All sessions will be held online via zoom, all session times AEDT) 

What do artists “do” when they make art? Where does the artist end and her work begin? How might accounts of the agency at work in artistic creation help us to think agency more generally? Does artistic agency have political implications? These questions and more will animate our discussions during this day-long virtual workshop, hosted by the Philosophy and History of Ideas Research Group (PHI) at Deakin University. The workshop will bring together scholars working on themes related to artistic agency for a series of short presentations and informal discussions. All are welcome.  


Zoom Details 

Topic: Philosophical Perspectives on Artistic Agency 

Time: Nov 19, 2021 09:30 AM Australia/Melbourne 


Join Zoom Meeting 

Meeting ID: 861 8009 7516 

Password: 09046113 



9.30 – 9:45am 


(Timothy Deane-Freeman and Alistair Macaulay, Deakin University) 


9:45 – 10:45am 

Riding the Currents of Creation, Agents and Actants in the Field of Dance  

Philipa Rothfield (University of Southern Denmark, La Trobe University) 


10:45 – 11:45am 

Intentionality without Ends: reading Klossowski’s Nietzsche alongside Practising Theory 

Antonia Pont (Deakin University) 


11:45 – 12pm 

Coffee Break 


12 – 1pm 

The Genesis of an Improvisational Space: Cleaning the Canvas and the Thread of a Tune 

Alistair Macaulay (Deakin University)  





2 – 3pm 

Artistic Agency and the Painting of Sensation: Francis Bacon’s Challenge to the Standard Theory of Action 

Sean Bowden (Deakin University)  


3 – 4pm 

Castoriadis on the Creation of the Individual 

Gavin Rae (Universidad Compultense de Madrid) 


4 – 4:15pm 

Coffee Break 


4:15 – 5:15pm 

Machinic Agents: Schizoanalysis and the Semiotics of Nature 

Timothy Deane-Freeman (Deakin University)  


Abstracts and author bios: 


This event will take place primarily on unceded land belonging to the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation. 

Matthew Sharpe on the appeal of the far right

A/Prof Matthew Sharpe has published a piece via ABC Religion and Ethics on countering the appeal of the far right in contemporary politics:  

If we are to combat recruitment into the ranks of the far right, even among the well-educated in our communities, we need to face the uncomfortable fact that forms of right-wing libertarianism, misogyny, ethnonationalism, neo-Nazism, and accelerationism (the desire to “speed up” the purportedly inevitable collapse of the liberal democracies) have powerful appeal among certain groups — especially in periods of distress and social, political, and economic alienation like we face in the era of the global financial crisis, debt and immigration crises in Europe, and now the global pandemic.

The article can be read in full here.