Pop-up Online Workshop: Self-knowledge in Ancient & Medieval Philosophy

June 18, 2021
Department of Philosophy , Uppsala Universitet

Please contact [email protected] to get the zoom-invitation link, and for any other inquires.


  • Academy of Finland


Uppsala University
Uppsala University

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The workshop is free and open for all. Please contact [email protected] to get the zoom-invitation link, and for any other inquires.

Pop-up Online Workshop, June 18th 2021



1100-1140 “Tiresias and the Cave-men: Knowledge and Self-knowledge in the Meno and the Cave Analogy” - Ellisif Wasmuth (University of Essex)

1140-1220 ”Socrates’ Reflection in Alcibiades I” - Olof Pettersson (Uppsala University)

1220-1300 “The Beauty in the Eye of the Other: Self-knowledge and Political Power in Plato's Alcibiades 1” - Kristian Larsen (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

1300-1340 Lunch Break

1340-1420 “(Self-)Awareness and Perception in Augustine” - José Filipe Silva (University of Helsinki)

1420-1500 “Wanting to Be Determinate? Self-Perception and Self-Knowledge in Aristotle's EE 7.12.5-7” - Pauliina Remes (Uppsala University)

1500-1540 General Discussion

What is This Event About?

Rationalist theories of self-knowledge argue that our thoughts are not detected by ourselves as ready and fixed objects. Rather, when we think about our mental states, these states are at the same times forged, given shape, or interpreted. This understanding of self-knowledge has the repercussion that normative self-constitution might not be something we do only when we work to change or improve our thoughts, convictions, and values, but happens already at the level of coming to know the object of our thinking. In giving shape to what we think or value we already forge our future selves. While this tradition has Kantian roots, there is a question of whether - and in what kind or shape - it appears in pre-Kantian philosophizing. Especially ancient and medieval periods might at the first sight have nothing to compare with these theories, as the main model for thinking is often considered to be merely receptive, and for knowledge, to imitate or merge with an external form of ideality.

This workshop sets out to trace arguments in ancient and medieval philosophy that are generally open to the idea that a too sharp distinction between a normative and an epistemic understanding of self-knowledge is misleading. This will be studied on two levels. On the level of mental or psychological activities: is there evidence in ancient or medieval philosophy that knowing these activities is not mere reception or discovery of objects, but involves normative or constitutivist mechanism? On another ethical level, how does the self develop or improve by involving itself with itself? How do normative self-inquiry, character formation and moral progress arise from the soul’s engagement with the objects of its thinking?

The workshops is a part of the Academy of Finland project “Rationalist Theories of Self-Knowledge from Plato to Kant” and organized by Pauliina Remes and Olof Pettersson. It is also a pop-up event, swiftly organized, and intended to be a place to test new and tentative ideas.

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June 18, 2021, 9:00am CET

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