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Visiting Speaker: Professor Peter Adamson - 'Animals in the Philosophy of the Islamic World'

Peter Adamson, Professor of Late Ancient and Arabic Philosophy at the LMU in Munich, Professor of Philosophy at King’s College London

Event details

It is often supposed that philosophers began to take a serious interest in animals, and especially the ethical treatment of animals, only recently, perhaps because Darwinism established close affinity between humans and the animal kingdom. This presentation will question that assumption. After a brief review of the topic in ancient Greek philosophy, three thinkers will be discussed: al-Razi, Avicenna, and Ibn Tufayl, all of whom had surprisingly generous views of animal cognition or our ethical duties towards animals. However it will also be shown that these views rested on very different principles than those that inspire animal ethics nowadays.


Peter Adamson's primary areas of interest are late ancient philosophy and Arabic philosophy. His two monographs deal with the Arabic version of Plotinus, the so-called "Theology of Aristotle," and with al-Kindi (d. after 870 AD). He has devoted articles to several figures of the Greek tradition: Aristotle, Plotinus, and Porphyry; and numerous philosophers of the Arabic tradition, including al-Kindi, Abu Bakr al-Razi, Yahya Ibn 'Adi, Miskawayh, Avicenna, and Averroes. He has also edited several books including, most recently, "In the Age of Averroes" published by the Warburg Institute. In 2012 Prof Adamson moved to the LMU from King's College London, which is the home of a research project he oversees, on "Natural Philosophy in the Islamic World," funded by the Leverhulme Trust. He is also the host of the History of Philosophy podcast


IAIS Building/LT1