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James Drake

I'm no expert but it seems to me that there's considerable interest in ancient philosophy. For instance, Anthony Flew, world-class atheist, changed his mind and became a theist after coming to have a better understanding of Aristotle's Metaphysics.

Also, Feser's The Last Superstition was highly praised in one of those review journals for librarians, and it depends very much on ancient Greek metaphysics, as well as the thought of Thomas Aquinas.

John Pepple

I think there's some interest, though my impression is that there's more interest in the medieval world or ancient Egypt. And the interest comes and goes, too. With Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, there was a bit of a revival, but that was decades ago.

But even if there was a lot of interest, academics would be snobbish about these outsiders. Academics in medieval studies seem to have a different attitude completely, for their main conference (in Kalamazoo) attracts all kinds of people who aren't academics, and none of the academics seems too bothered by this.

By the way, I think it's Antony and not Anthony Flew.

lee faber

A medievalist here; have you written this up or published this already, or what?

John Pepple

My article on Empedocles was eventually published in the Journal of Value Inquiry for 1996. The rest I self-published. I put an article on Plato and Speusippus on the Internet:


And I self-published a book:


One scholar (Andreas Graeser) who saw the article and liked it wrote a review of the book. The review was in German, but I don't know if it ever got published because the journal was some obscure German journal that I don't have access to and which didn't seem to have a presence on the Internet.

Since you're a medievalist, do you go to Kalamazoo? My wife is a medievalist, and her career was basically made at that conference. She was allowed to run her own sessions, even though she was a nobody. A book publisher (Brill) then offered her an opportunity to do an edited volume, which made her name.

I don't know of any other academic conference that is so egalitarian.

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I remember the saying back in the 1980s, about the children of the African elites. If the parents wanted their kids to become socialists, they sent them to school in Paris. If they wanted them to become capitalists, they sent them to school in Moscow.

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