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Griph colloquium: Peter Adamson (LMU Munich)

When:We 20-09-2023 15:15 - 17:00

Peter Adamson (LMU Munich): Skepticism Across Borders: Arguments from Animal Difference in Chinese, Greek, and Arabic Philosophy 

Abstract: This paper focuses on a skeptical argument that may be most familiar from its appearance in Sextus Empiricus, where it is treated as one of the skeptical “modes”: animals have a different perspective on the world from humans; there is no reason to prefer the human perspective on the world to animal perspectives; therefore one should suspend judgment about the veracity of the human perspective. Obviously this argument needs a lot of filling out before it can be evaluated. To undertake this task, the paper begins from a resonant passage in the Taoist classic, the Zhuangzi, before examining in more detail the skeptical mode from animals in Sextus and similar material in Montaigne. The paper then turns to an epistle from the Islamic “Brethren of Purity,” who imagined animals bringing a court case against humans. It is argued that this epistle adopts a view of animal difference that would make the skeptical mode especially powerful, by insisting on both the fundamental difference of animal perspectives and their equal validity. Finally, a response to the strengthened skeptical argument is suggested, one that brings us back to the Zhuangzi.

This event will be followed by drinks and dinner. Contact Lisa Herzog for information.

In addition to the Griph colloquium Peter Adamson is also giving a Studium Generale lecture, entitled "Philosophy in the Islamic World" on Tuesday 19 September at 20:00 in the Academy Building.