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Gunning Lecture Series: 2 Lectures, followed by a lunch-time discussion

7th May, 5pm Philosophy Without Borders: Intellectual Exchange between India, Europe, Islam and Africa.

This lecture will explore the way that philosophical ideas passed across cultural and linguistic boundaries, and make a case for the idea that European philosophy cannot be understood if it is studied in isolation. In fact the history of ancient and medieval thought shows that ideas were transmitted out of, and back into, Western Europe through a series of translations movements, most famously into Arabic but also into many other languages including Armenian, Georgian, and Ge'ez. A case will be made for the idea that it was indeed translation that facilitated profound engagements between cultures, something that is lacking in the much-discussed case of intellectual influence between Indian and ancient Greece and Rome.  This lecture will be followed by a drinks reception.


8th May, 5pm Animals in Philosophy of the Islamic World.  It is commonly supposed that philosophers only recently began to take animal welfare seriously, in the wake of utilitarianism and Darwinism. In this lecture, it will be shown that this is not true: authors of the Islamic world like al-Razi, the Brethren of Purity, Avicenna, and Ibn Tufayl made remarkable contributions to the history of animal ethics and psychology. Reacting to themes from the Quran, Aristotle, and the medical tradition, they argued explicitly for benevolence towards animals and also for acknowledging the sophisticated cognitive abilities of animals. They thus put into question the traditional stark opposition made by philosophers between humans as rational beings, and animals as irrational creatures who do not fall within the scope of moral concern.


1pm 9th May, Lunchtime Discussion, chaired by Professor Mona Siddiqui, with Dr Abdul Rahman Mustafa, Dr Joshua Ralston and Cameron Clausing (PhD Student). A brief response will be given to the two lectures described above, followed by a wider discussion.  Tea/coffee and snacks will be available after this event.


These are public lectures, to which all are welcome.