Congratulation, Tue Søvsø!

1 Tue Søvsø, the topic of your dissertation is “Cicero’s Stoicism: Sceptical reflections on Stoic ethics”. Why did you choose this topic and what did you hope to find out? 

I have been interested in Cicero’s philosophical writings and Stoic ethics for a long time and my project was an opportunity to study these two topics in combination. My primary aim was therefore simply to reach a better understanding of Cicero’s texts and the Stoic theories he discusses. In my view, his thoughts on how and why individual people can make a difference despite the sometimes-hopeless odds we face as human beings represent some of the finest and most interesting writings on the topics of ethics and politics. It has been a privilege working on these texts during these last five years, turbulent and challenging as they were.

2. You were a doctoral student in BerGSAS and you have successfully completed the program “Ancient Philosophy and History of Ancient Science (APhil/HistAS)”. In your experience, what are the benefits of a structured PhD program?

The structures established by the BerGSAS (the curricula, half-way evaluations etc.) definitely made it easier for me to navigate and plan my doctoral studies, but the biggest benefit was perhaps simply the sense of being part of a larger scholarly community. In a process like this, where you are working a lot on your own, that feeling is quite reassuring in itself. It also makes it a lot easier to network and seek the help and support of one’s colleagues.

3. What do you take away from your time as a doctoral student at BerGSAS?

I had a wonderful but also quite challenging time as a doctoral student at BerGSAS with the pandemic and several other events intruding on the focused time for study that I had hoped to find here. What I take with me, besides a lot of good memories and new insights, is a deep sense of gratitude for having had this opportunity to really focus on the topics that interest me and a great group of people, whom I hope to get the chance to work with again in the future.

4. What advice would you give to students who are about to begin their PhD program?

First of all, choose a topic that genuinely interests you. And while it is important to be realistic about one’s time and possibilities throughout the process, also try to stay open to new ideas and allow yourself the necessary time to explore the things that seem important and interesting to you right now. Second, don’t waste too much time and energy on comparing your own work to that of others. It is inevitable, I think, that one becomes insecure and doubts oneself along the way, but try to be kind to yourself and the people around you all the way through.

5. During the “Berliner Antike im Humboldt-Saal … – Personen und Objekte” event on the 11th of December, you and other recent PhD graduates will receive your official PhD certificate. What do you plan to do next?

Since 1 July I have been part of a research project at the University of Heidelberg where I am continuing my work on Cicero but with more of a focus on social and political philosophy. In particular, I am interested in Cicero’s description of how the participation in different communities impacts goals and priorities we adopt here in life. Heidelberg is a wonderful place to work and I hope to be able to stay around for some years to come while we try to establish an even more stimulating environment for the study of ancient, especially Hellenistic and Roman, philosophy.

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teamredaktion (2023, 7. Dezember). Congratulation, Tue Søvsø! Berliner Antike-Blog. Abgerufen am 2. März 2024, von

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