Avicenna and Avicennisms
A Colloquium at SOAS, 6–7 June 2014
Convenors: Ayman Shihadeh (SOAS) and Sajjad Rizvi (Exeter)
In the Islamic tradition, Abu ʿAlī Ibn Sīnā or Avicenna [d. 1037] remains the paradigmatic philosopher whose modification of the Aristotelian system, to propose the first comprehensive Islamic philosophy, was to have a lasting impact in both the Islamic world and medieval Europe. Bringing together a range of Avicenna scholars from established names to younger, up-and-coming scholars, this colloquium focused on the impact and reception of Avicenna in these two lines of influence—that is, in scholasticism and in the Islamicate world—and perpetuated the recent tendency of defining philosophy in the Islamic traditions broadly to include the tradition of philosophical theology or kalām.
Avicenna and Avicennisms examined not just what Avicenna meant for the formulation of Islamic philosophy and philosophical inquiry more generally in the Arabic and Persian traditions, but also how he was received, understood, reformulated, criticized, and even rejected (often in ways that still marked out the great influence that he had upon his detractors). In that sense, it analysed what one of the speakers called ‘la pandémie avicennienne’ that marked out learned culture in both Christendom and the world of Islam for most of the pre-modern period. The presenters discussed not just wider issues of the very understanding of philosophy and what Avicenna meant, but also a range of particular considerations in metaphysics, logic, natural philosophy, and even anthropology.
Audio recordings were made of most of the presentations (though, unfortunately not all of them, due to technical problems). If available, the audio files and any accompanying visual materials will be found at links following the titles of the presentations, below.
FRIDAY, 6 June 2014, Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS
14.00–14.30 Welcome: Ayman Shihadeh (SOAS), Sajjad Rizvi (Exeter), Morgan Davis (BYU)
Session 1. Chair: Ayman Shihadeh
14.30–15.15 Toby Mayer (IIS), ‘Disputed Concepts of Creation in the 5th Namaṭ of Ibn Sīnā’s Ishārāt and in Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī’s and Naṣīr al-Dīn Ṭūsī’s Commentaries’ AUDIO
Session 2. Chair: Catarina Belo
SATURDAY, 7 June 2014, Room B102, Brunei Gallery, SOAS
Session 3. Chair: Sajjad Rizvi
09.00–09.45 Jon Hoover (Nottingham), ‘Ibn Sina and Ibn Taymiyya on Fitra’ AUDIO
09.45–10.30 Sophia Vasalou (Oxford Brookes), ‘Ibn Taymiyya against the Philosophers: Reclaiming the Nativity of Moral Propositions’ AUDIO
Session 4. Chair: Yahya Michot
11.45–12.30 Catarina Belo (AUC), ‘Avicenna on Intellect in Thomas Aquinas’ Summa contra gentiles’
12.30–14.00 Lunch break
Session 5. Chair: Morgan Davis
15.15–16.00 Tony Street (Cambridge), ‘Against Avicenna? The Evolution of the Seventh-Century Logic Text’
Session 6. Chair: Wilfrid Hodges
17.15–18.00 Yahya Michot (Hartford), ‘Avicenna, Bahmanyār and the “Ishārāt”’ AUDIO
18.00–18.15 Closing Remarks: Sajjad Rizvi and Ayman Shihadeh