Dimitrios Vasilakis

Dimitrios Vasilakis


Personal profile

Research interests (short)

Ancient Greek Philosophy, esp. Plato, Aristotle and Neoplatonism; Christian philosophy, esp. Byzantine; Modern-Greek philosophy.  Philosophy of music and Hermeneutics.

Biographical details

Dimitrios Vasilakis was born in Athens, Greece in 1986.  He did his BA in the faculty of Philosophy, Pedagogy, Psychology of the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens (2004-2008).  Due to his marks he was awarded annual scholarships and prizes by the I.K.Y. (State Scholarship Foundation) and the "Andreadis" Prize by the University of Athens.  With a scholarship by the "Foundation Lilian Voudouris" he went on for postgraduate studies at King's College London.  Upon the successful completion of his MA in History of Philosophy (September 2010), he was awarded an AHRC scholarship in order to continue for his MPhil/PhD in Ancient Greek Philosophy at King's.  Having upgraded to the PhD level already from May 2011, he has been giving tutorials to undergraduates, as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) and for the summer semester of 2013 he was visitor of LMU (MuSAΦ: Munich School of Ancient Philosophy). For his present studies he has been assisted by a scholarship by the Academy of Athens (won after examinations in May 2010) and educational grants by the A.G. Leventis Foundation.

In parallel, he is a musician, too.  Having started playing the violin from a small age, finally he got his diploma in piano in January 2005 (Prof. J. Ioannidis), along with degrees in Harmony-2001, Counterpoint-2003 and Fugue-2005 (Prof. A.D. Vasilakis). Furthermore, he has been a regular member of the Choir of the University of Athens and participates in several choral groups insides and outside King's College, such as: the Choir of the Cathedral of Saint Sophia in Bayswater (London), the Palestrina Ensemble & the Collegium MuWicum (in Munich).

Research interests

My research revolves around the notion of Love (Eros) in key texts of the Neoplatonic philosophers Plotinus (204/5-270 A.D.), Proclus (c.412-485 A.D.) and Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (late 5th-early 6th cent. A.D.).  In the first year of my study I worked on Plotinus' treatise devoted to Love (Enneads, III.5) and I tried to show the ontological importance of Eros within the Plotinian system.  For Plotinus for an entity (say Soul) to be/exist is to be erotic, i.e. be directed to the intelligible realm.  Hence, one of the conclusions is that Love implies deficiency, and, thus, it takes place in a vertical scheme, where an inferior entity has eros for its higher progenitor.

If this is so, then Proclus apparently diverges greatly from Plotinus, because in his Commentary on the First Alcibiades Proclus clearly states that inferior entities have reversive (/upwards) eros for their superiors, whereas the latter have providential (/downwards) eros for their inferiors.  Thus, in my second and half of the third year I analyzed Proclus' position and tried to show that in fact he does not diverge much from Plotinus; the former only explicates something that is already implicit in the latter.  I also connected this issue with an identification of Eros' position in the Proclean ontological hierarchy.

In the rest of the third year, apart from restructuring the Plotinus' chapters to the standards of my last section on Proclus, I have been reading pseudo-Dionysius in order to examine his treatment of God as Eros in his word On the Divine Names.  One basic motivation is the verdict of a number of scholars that the Areopagite is a mere plagiarizer of Proclus.  However, the examination of Eros is a characteristic case study, where one can ascertain that Dionysius uses a Proclean language, although his meaning is not identical, owing to fundamental ontological presuppositions that differentiate the Neoplatonic philosopher from the Church Father.  Aim of the fourth year (writing-up) is to complete and write down my examination of Dionysius along with a restructuring of my first sections on Proclus, so that I offer a unified whole.


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