Animality: Greco-Roman Conceptions of the Human Being

October 12, 2012 - October 13, 2012
Northwestern University

United States

Main speakers:

Eric Brown
Washington University in St. Louis
Ursula Coope
Oxford University
Tamar Gendler
Yale University
Brooke Holmes
Princeton University
Rachana Kamtekar
University of Arizona
Hendrik Lorenz
Princeton University
David O
University of Notre Dame

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The conference will take place on October 12 & 13 on the Northwestern and University of Chicago campuses.

The conference will focus on the following questions: How are humans different from other animals? And how should our being animals matter to us? We are interested both in how our distinctive human features affect or transform the faculties we share with other animals, and in how our animality affects our cognition and our good. Is part of us a beast and if so must we fight it or tame it? Should we instead embrace it? Ancient philosophers' answers to these questions deeply influenced their accounts of perception, pleasure, emotion, desire, locomotion, cognition and the good life. Our conference will explore their answers, put them in their historical context and see how they relate to today's philosophical concerns.

Friday, October 12, Northwestern Campus
The Arch Room, Norris 206
10:30 am - 5:25 pm

Rachana Kamtekar (Arizona) 
"Plato on animals within and without"
Commentator: Franco Trivigno (Marquette) 
Talk 10:30-11:20, comment until 11:30. discussion until 12:15

Lunch 12:15-1:30

David O'Connor (Notre Dame) 
"Socrates in Gethsemane" 
Commentator: Constance Meinwald (UIC) 
Talk 1:30-2:20, comment until 2:30, discussion until 3:25

Break 3:25-3:40

Eric Brown (Washington University in St. Louis) 
"Animality and Contingency in Cicero's Critique of Epicurean Ethics" 
Commentator: John Wynne (Northwestern)
Talk 3:40-4:30, comment until 4:40, discussion until 5:25

Dinner at Mysore Woodlands, 2548 W Devon Ave. Chicago, IL
(Transportation will be arranged for those without it.)

Saturday, October 13, University of Chicago Campus
Stuart 204
9:30 am - 6:15 pm

Hendrik Lorenz (Princeton) 
"Character-virtue as a non-rational state in Aristotle's Eudemian Ethics
Commentator: Richard Kraut (Northwestern)
Talk 9:30-10:20, comment until 10:30, discussion until 11:15

Break 11:15-11:30

Tamar Gendler (Yale) 
"Modern Harp: Aristotelian Virtue and the Neuroscience of Habit" 
Commentator: Christopher Frey (University of Chicago)
Talk 11:30-12:20, comment until 12:30, discussion until 1:15

Lunch 1:15-2:30

Brooke Holmes (Princeton) 
"Animal Awareness and Self-Preservation in Stoic Oikeiōsis
Commentator: David Ebrey (Northwestern)
Talk 2:30-3:20, comment until 3:30, discussion until 4:15

Break 4:15-4:30

Ursula Coope (Oxford) 
"Rational assent and reflection: a neoplatonist development of a stoic idea"
Commentator: Eyjólfur Emilsson (Oslo)
Talk 4:30-5:20, comment until 5:30, discussion until 6:15

Dinner at Phoenix, 2131 S Archer Ave. Chicago, IL
(Transportation will be arranged for those without it.)

Contact: David Ebrey (

You can find more information at our website:

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