Il kairos, le arti e le tecniche


  • Alessandro Stavru
  • E. Giada Capasso



It is a well-known fact that the concept of kairos encompasses a wide variety of meanings, ranging from “due time”, “critical situation”, “appropriate or decisive moment”, to “correct behaviour” and “skilful action”. All of these meanings point not only to the temporal, spatial and circumstantial characteristics of kairos, but also, and more importantly, to the action that is required in order to seize a favourable opportunity in a given moment. Without such action, and the ability to perform it, the kairos does not yield any advantage, thus remaining unexploited. On the other hand, without kairos no action can be successful, as even the most refined ability is by itself no guarantee for a successful outcome. In the Graeco-Roman world, kairos is therefore always linked with specific skills: in arts such as poetry, rhetoric, medicine, divination, alchemy and in a variety of techniques such as those needed in farming, warfare and sports, the successful outcome depends on the ability to grasp the kairos that is within reach at a given moment.

This volume examines the different meanings of kairos as reflected in the methodologies commonly applied in the arts and techniques, showing how these help to broaden and deepen our knowledge of kairos. The chapters investigate both aspects of kairos: that relating to its objective conditions, i.e. its manifestation on certain occasions and circumstances; and that relating to its subjective conditions, i.e. the skills needed to grasp the opportune moment in which it should be utilized.