Prospects for an Ethics of Self-Cultivation: Hellenistic Ethics from Nietzsche to Foucault, University of Warwick, 25-27 September 2014 – full details here
Philosophical interest in the ethical ideal of self-cultivation has increased in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as philosophers have sought alternatives to deontological and utilitarian theories. This interest has been most evident in the widespread revival of virtue ethics, although contemporary virtue ethicists tend to focus on Aristotle’s account of character formation. Philosophers in the modern European tradition, however, have been influenced by other views on self-cultivation from the Hellenistic period. Nietzsche’s account of self-cultivation, for instance, is closer to Epicurus’s than Aristotle’s, while Foucault draws extensively on Stoicism and Cynicism for his account. The insights of these thinkers suggest that we may deepen and expand our understanding of self-cultivation by reassessing the merits of the Hellenistic tradition.