Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Myers Lecture – Geoffrey Lloyd

September 23 2010 @ 12:00 am


will be given by

Professor Sir Geoffrey Lloyd, University of Cambridge

“Humanity between gods and beasts? Ontologies in question”

Thursday 23 September 2010 at 5.45 pm in the Stevenson Theatre, Clore Education Centre, the British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG.

All welcome. Admission free without ticket. Refreshments afterwards.

The lecture will be preceded by the RAI’s AGM. All are welcome to the AGM; only RAI Fellows may vote.

Enquiries to: RAI, 50 Fitzroy St, London W1T 5 BT; tel 020 7387 0455; email


Wherein lies the humanity of human beings? Many conflicting answers have been attempted in ancient and in modern times, with many focussing on the triadic relationship between humans, gods and beasts. This lecture will review a wide range of suggestions, from those of ancient Greeks and Chinese, to recent anthropological proposals (by Viveiros de Castro and Descola in particular) of alternative ontologies. We have every reason to take rival human understandings seriously, but that should not be thought to lead to radical relativism, let alone to a breakdown of mutual intelligibility. Rather, they offer resources for exploring the substantive questions and for reflecting on the propensity of human beings to entertain or presuppose strong views on, precisely, what makes humans human. While evolutionary biology, ethology, cognitive science and anthropology itself have all contributed to an increased recognition of the complexities of the question, we need the input not just of those disciplines, but also of philosophy and of history, to evaluate potential answers. In that spirit the lecture offers an interdisciplinary commentary on the problems.

This lecture is now available online here.


September 23 2010
12:00 am
Event Category: