Workshop: “Our Animal Capacities” (Berlin, 28-29 March 2022)

Workshop: "Our Animal Capacities" (Berlin, 28-29 March 2022)

We are glad to give notice of the workshop Our Animal Capacities, which will take place in person at the Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities “Human Abilities” (Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Berlin, on March 28th-29th, 2022.

For registration or questions, please feel free to contact us at

Organizer of the workshop is Lucian Ionel (Freie Universität Berlin).
Speakers will be David Bartha, Elise Frketich, Lucian Ionel, Karen Koch, Agnese Di Riccio, Isabell Sickenberger, Maximilian Tegtmeyer, Martijn Wallage, Lilja Walliser, Alexey Weißmüller.


Abstract: In recent years, there has been a major controversy about the relationship between our rationality and our animality. Against the conventional view that sensory and desiderative capacities are alike in human and non-human animals, it has been argued that human sensation and desire are shaped by rational capacities. However, this view appears to leave open the question whether human beings start with the same sensory and desiderative capacities as non-human animals, which are later transformed into rational capacities; or whether our animal capacities are from the outset of a distinctive, rational kind. Moreover, is our animality or our sensibility supposed to be shaped by rationality? To what extent do we identify the notion of animal capacities with the notion of sensory and desiderative capacities? Are rational capacities less animal? In addressing these questions, the workshop aims to take stock of the current debate and to develop novel contributions to the understanding of our rational animality. It does this by facilitating a dialogue between contemporary approaches and early modern and classical German philosophy.

Programme (CEST time):

Monday, 28 March 2022

9:50 Welcome and Introduction
10:00 David Bartha, Descartes and Berkeley on Animal Imagination
11:30 Elise Frketich, Kant on Animal and Human Capacities
13:00 Break
14:30 Isabell Sickenberger, Madness In Hegel‘s Anthropology. From Sensation to the Actual Soul
16:00 Alexey Weißmüller, Hegel‘s Psychology and the Virtual. What does it Mean to Conceive Intelligence as a ‘Nocturnal Pit‘?
17:30 Karen Koch and Agnese Di Riccio, Intuition and Concept in Hegel‘s Psychology
19:00 Dinner and round-up of the discussions

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

10:00 Lucian Ionel, Hegel on Kinds of Capacity
11:30 Lilja Wassiler, Hegel on Sounds and Signs. Remarks on the Subjective Spirit
13:00 Break
14:30 Maximilian Tegtmeyer, The Sui Generis Form of Our Capacity to Know
16:00 Martijn Wallage, Pointing and Grabbing
17:30 Round-up and final discussion

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