As part of our weekly Speaker Series, the Department of Philosophy invites you to join us in welcoming Dr. Sukaina Hirji (University of Pennsylvania). Links for all Department of Philosophy Speaker Series talks are distributed through an email distribution list. If you would like to be added to this list, and hence to receive regular email notifications and reminders about Philosophy talks, please email the Philosophy Department office (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you would like to attend just this one talk, you may also email the philosophy office (same email address) to request a meeting link.
Talk title: “White Blindness, and Self-Knowledge in Plato’s Alcibiades”
Abstract: There has been growing reflection within the field of Classics about the role the discipline has played in the invention and dominance of a certain conception of “whiteness”. I suggest that similar concerns arise within the field of Ancient Philosophy. I draw on Plato’s account of self-knowledge as mirroring in the Alcibiades to argue that we should take an approach of epistemic humility to these challenges, one that involves fostering a more pluralistic set of methods and approaches within the field. On the interpretation I defend, in the Alcibiades, knowing one’s own ignorance involves knowing one’s own epistemic limitations, and this is best achieved by the help of someone better positioned to see one’s shortcomings. To better know our own limitations as scholars and teachers of ancient texts, we ought to seek out, amplify, and integrate challenges to our own practices.