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Nadja Germann: Philosophy of Language in the Arabic World

When:We 28-10-2020 15:15 - 17:00

Colloquium lecture by Nadja Germann (Albert-Ludwigs-Universit at Freiburg), organized by the Department of the History of Philosophy

Linguistic Relativity? Philosophy of Language in the Arabic World

What is language? What is its relation to thought and, beyond thought, to reality? Questions like these have been at the center of lively debate ever since the rise of scholarly activities in the Islamic world during the 8th/9th century. In view of the fact that from the outset one of the main sources of inspiration was Greek philosophy, specifically Aristotle’s logical writings (Organon), it comes as no surprise that one of the major tendencies in Arabic philosophy of language was characterized by a Neoplatonized Aristotelian conception that may be described as a sort of universalism. However, in contrast to this trend, and largely overlooked by current research, another, strikingly different view on language and its relation to thought emerged, one that I will tentatively (although somewhat anachronistically) dub ‘linguistic relativity’. My aim in this talk consists in exploring this approach more thoroughly, an approach, it appears, that became prevalent over the ages. In order to do so, I will look more closely into its formative period—spanning approximately from Abū ʿUthmān al-Jāḥiẓ (d. 868) to Abū Ḥayyān al-Tawḥīdī (d. 1023)—when this particular approach took shape, partially in direct contact with the competing ‘Greek’ model.

How to attend

Everyone welcome! Please send an email to Martin Lenz to ask for the Google Meet link needed to attend this talk.

Workshop: Medicine and Philosophy II

From:Th 29-10-2020
Until:Th 05-11-2020

Organized by Martin Lenz (Groningen) and Evelina Miteva (Università del Salento)

What makes us appear the way we are? Which factors determine our moral, our cognitive, and physiological features? Lurking in the background of philosophical models are medical or physiological assumptions whose exposition often sheds new light on ancient, medieval and modern debates. “Climate” is a central term that figures at the intersection of many philosophical and medical discussions. This notion impacted not only doctrines about the earth, but also about its inhabitants. This way, long-lasting ideas about human and non-human life were often connected with racist and sexist implications. Focusing on the historical notion of climate, this workshop aims at apporaching these debates.


Speakers: Susi Ferrarello, Oded Horezky, Corrado la Martire, Gabriella Zuccolin, Claire Crignon, Lisa Devriese, Vlad Ile, Marialucrezia Leone, and Sara Miglietti.

Full programme


In this ZOOM workshop the speakers are not going to read their papers “ex cathedra“. Instead, we will distribute the papers in advance, and the workshop will be the place and time to ask, discuss, give feedback and exchange ideas. That is why the speakers are ordered in alphabetical order in the programme rather than in order of presentation. The workshop is open to everyone interested in the topic. Please contact the organizers to get the ZOOM link and the texts to be read in advance.

How to attend

Please contact Evelina Miteva from Cluj Centre for Ancient and Medieval Philosophy or Martin Lenz from the Groningen Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Thought to get the ZOOM link and the texts to be read in advance.

This workshop is originally part of the project “Human Being as a Cross-Point: the Beginnings of the Modern Concept of Man in the Middle Ages“ (PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2016-2351), Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca.

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