The Leventis Foundation Lecture Series

Wednesday 04 May 2022

Supported by the A.G. Leventis Foundation, the evening is an opportunity to hear Exeter academics draw on new, cutting-edge research to illuminate the impact of Greek culture, both in the ancient world and beyond.

Can machines think? No, they can’t…or so Aristotle says. – Dr Gabriele Galluzzo
We think we know very clearly the distinction between what is natural and what is artificial, what is human and what is non-human? But do we really know? Developments in Artificial Intelligence and robotics seem to shake our certainties and raise important yet difficult questions: can machines do what we can do? Can they think or feel the way we do? It would be a mistake to think that we need to watch the Matrix saga to see these questions addressed. In his Politics, Aristotle comes up with the bold fantasy of a world populated by robot-style self-moving artefacts that mimic certain important features of living beings and animals. Still, Aristotle insists, even if they could actually be produced, those artefacts would not be living beings and animals. But why? In this talk, we will try to understand why Aristotle is so adamant that the distinction between the natural and the artificial cannot be blurred.

I know, therefore I heal. Knowledge, Healing, and Religion at Epidauros – Irene Salvo
Diseases define the human experience of life on earth. As disease takes infinite possible forms so does healing. Trying to pin down the most effective and appropriate healing paths is therefore a constant challenge throughout histories and cultures. In fourth-century BCE Greece, healing could take place at a sanctuary of Asklepios, the god of medicine. In this context, priests held a key role in the diagnosis and therapy of diseases. In what ways could figures of higher knowledge offer a cure and liberation from suffering? Which rituals agents could solve knowledge-rich problems by using their expertise and cognitive skills? This lecture explores how a combination of human and divine knowledge on physical and psychological illness and therapies allowed healing to happen.

The Leventis Initiative, sponsored by the A.G. Leventis Foundation, facilitates research carried out by the University of Exeter into the impact of Greek culture in antiquity and upon the modern world. Established in May 1979, the A.G. Leventis Foundation is the outcome of the vision of the Cypriot entrepreneur Anastasios G. Leventis (1902-1978), who laid the bases of its focus on society, education and culture.

Now in its fourth decade, the Foundation retains its adherence to these priorities, keenly supporting the dissemination of Greek and Cypriot cultural heritage, as well as extensive public benefits programs, pioneering environmental protection projects, and medical research. Projects include studentships, a lectureship and the ‘Leventis Room’ within the Classics department at the University of Exeter.

Organised by Exeter University. Supported by The Hellenic Centre


The Hellenic Centre


Free entry, RSVP required

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