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Critical Thinking in Classics: The Europaeum Classics 2024 Colloquium

Critical Thinking in Classics

Freie Universität Berlin | 16 – 18 December 2024


The study of ancient texts lies at the heart of the classical tradition, offering a window into the thoughts, beliefs, and practices of the Greco-Roman world. Yet the interpretation of these texts is far from straightforward, requiring careful analysis, contextual understanding, and critical reflection. This year’s Europaeum Classics Colloquium seeks to explore the role of critical thinking in the reading and interpretation of all aspects of Antiquity and how application of rational inquiry can deepen our understanding of Antiquity’s relevance for contemporary thought and practice.


While often considered a modern concept, the roots of critical thinking can themselves be traced back to the ancient world. Greek and Roman, and non Greco-Roman, thinkers grappled with questions of logic, rhetoric, and epistemology, laying the foundations for the development of critical thinking as we know it today. Amongst the themes this Colloquium explores will be (1) how classical sources conceptualised and practised critical thinking, and how their approaches related to those of other ancient traditions; (2) how theories of critical thinking were applied across different domains such as philosophy, politics, law, literature, and education in the classical world; and (3) how classical ideas about critical thinking relate to, and can inform, contemporary debates about reasoning, argumentation, and the pursuit of truth.


Above all, the Colloquium seeks to generate a dialogue between classical sources and modern problems that will allow us to apply new insights to our own contemporary issues, including debates about education, media literacy, and public discourse. It will bring together master’s and doctoral researchers in Humanities and Social Sciences subjects who have a particular interest in classical perspectives on critical thinking.


We invite applications from master’s and doctoral candidates at Europaeum member universities who wish either just to join the discussions or to present a 15-minute paper based on their research. We especially welcome proposals for papers engaging the following fields:


  • Latin & Greek Literature
  • Ancient History
  • Philosophy & Logic
  • Modern Critical Studies

Participants will join lively working groups during the event and hear from experts in their field from the Freie Universität and other member universities. Those not presenting a paper will be allocated a role as discussant to kick-start Q&A sessions following on from presentations. Successful applicants will be provided with free accommodation and reimbursed reasonable travel expenses.

Applications should include the Europaeum application form, a brief CV, a statement of purpose (up to 500 words), and a reference letter from their supervisor or academic advisor. Those who wish to submit a paper should also add a short abstract of the proposed paper (up to 500 words).

For more information about how to apply visit:

Deadline for submission of applications and abstracts: 31 August 2024.

All submissions should be sent to