The Centre for the Study of Ancient Thought, better known as the Léon Robin Centre, is a Joint Research Unit (UMR 8061) placed under the dual patronage of the University of Paris-Sorbonne and the CNRS. It brings together, for the most part, members of the CNRS and teacher-researchers from the University of Paris-Sorbonne and the École Normale Supérieure.

See also the history of the Léon Robin Centre.

The Centre, whose current director is Jean-Baptiste Gourinat (CNRS) and deputy director Marwan Rashed (University of Paris-Sorbonne), aims to encourage and coordinate research on Ancient thought and its history. Members of the Centre, grouped in different research programs (see the article Research themes and programs), question the texts in their philosophical content, while carefully taking into account philological and historiographical problems as well as the political, religious, aesthetic background of these texts. It makes considerable room for the history of their reception and for the issues related to their past and contemporary uses.

The Centre's activities, marked by numerous symposia, study days and regular seminars linked to the various programs, are undertaken and coordinated through several types of action and means of work which are as follows:

   1) Léon Robin conference cycle

The conference cycle focuses on a theme or author set for at least one year. Each session brings together two speakers, each of whom speaks for a maximum of 45 minutes, followed by 45 minutes of discussion. A break between the two presentations allows freer discussions.

   2) Seminar "Antiquity's philosophical legacy"

The monthly seminar “Antiquity's philosophical legacy” (A. Vasiliu dir.), focused on the following theme: “Ousia: essence or substance? » since 2017, welcomes experienced researchers and young researchers (doctoral and postdoctoral students). It works on the basis of two conferences of one hour each, followed by 30 minutes of discussion after each conference. The theme changes every two years and during those two years, at least two study days are organized (with 4 or 5 guests).

   3) Seminar "Aitia-Aitiai. The causal link in the Ancient world"

Seminar organized by Cristina Viano, within the framework of the GDRI she directs: "AITIA/AITIAI – The causal link in the Ancient world: origins, forms, transformations". Monthly session, with two guests, on the notion of causality.

The Léon Robin conference cycle and the “Legacy…” and “Aitia” seminars are all recognized as doctoral seminars by Doctoral School V “Concepts and Languages” of the University of Paris-Sorbonne.

   4) Seminar "Presocratics"

Monthly research seminar organized by Rossella Saetta Cottone and Gérard Journée in the form of thematic cycles lasting for two to four semesters. Sessions take place on Saturday mornings in the Léon Robin library. They have a duration of three hours, with a 75-minute presentation followed by a discussion of the same duration. Preparatory materials are distributed to participants ten days in advance.

   5) Hellenistic and Roman philosophy seminar

Initially created by Carlos Lévy at the University of Paris-XII, the seminar was recreated in 2017 as a collaboration between 4 research units, the Léon Robin Centre, represented by Jean-Baptiste Gourinat; the EA "Rome and its Renaissances" (EA 4080) at Paris-Sorbonne, represented by J. Dross; EA 4395 "Humanities, Ideas and Knowledge" at the University of Paris-XII Créteil, represented by C. Murgier; and EA 373 "Institute for Philosophical Research" at the University of Paris-Nanterre, represented by C. Veillard. This seminar aims to unite research on Hellenistic and Roman philosophy carried out in the Paris region, and to create a real dynamic of research and training since it is open to Master's and doctoral students. Devoted for the first year to phantasia and imagination, it will deal, in 2018, with dreams and imagination.

   6) Doctoral seminar

The doctoral seminar that J. Barnes and F. Wolff set up at the ENS has since become the Léon Robin Centre doctoral seminar. It is associated with the doctoral seminar on Ancient philosophy of the University of Cambridge, and joint sessions take place on a regular basis. It is now under the responsibility of J.-B. Gourinat and M. Rashed.

   7) Study days and colloquia

Several study days and symposia have been and are being organized which either relate to the activities carried out within the research axes, have a cross-cutting nature, or lastly correspond to specific training needs (agrégation programme, training of secondary school teachers, dissemination of knowledge).

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