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Animals in the philosophy of the Islamic world

When: Wednesday, 17 April 2019 - Wednesday, 17 April 2019
Where: Braamfontein Campus East
Seminar Room, Humanities Graduate Centre, South West Engineering Building
Start time:17:00


The Centre for Indian Studies will host Peter Adamson to present this seminar.

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.

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