Marquette University and the University of Denver

present

PHILOSOPHY IN THE ABRAHAMIC TRADITIONS

Fifth Annual Summer Conference

Monday & Tuesday, JUNE 25-26, 2012

Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI


 

al-Farabi  Avicenna  Averroes  Maimonides  Gersonides  Ibn Gabirol  Augustine  Aquinas  Scotus






 



Presented by the Departments of Philosophy at

the University of Denver and Marquette University

and

the University of Denver’s Center for Judaic Studies


Organizers:


Prof. Sarah Pessin, University of Denver

&

Prof. Richard C. Taylor, Marquette University



This Conference is intended to provide a formal occasion and central location for philosophers and scholars of the Arabic / Islamic, Jewish and Latin Christian philosophical traditions of the Middle Ages  to present and discuss their current work in medieval philosophy.


First held at Marquette University in 2008, this Summer Conference alternates between the University of Denver and Marquette University. In summer 2012 the conference will be at Marquette University.


((Note: Wednesday June 20 - Friday June 22, 2012,  Marquette University will also host the 7th Annual Marquette Summer Seminar in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy which focuses on Aristotle and the Aristotelian Tradition. For information click HERE.))



Conference Proposal Submission Guidelines

Established Scholars: send a title and tentative abstract;

Graduate Students: send a title, abstract, CV and a supporting letter from your faculty advisor or dissertation director.

NOTE: Abstracts should be 150 words or fewer.

Send applications by email to: Richard.Taylor@Marquette.edu.


OPENING DATE FOR SUBMISSIONS: January 1, 2012.

The Selection Committee will select presenters on the basis  of quality of proposals (title and abstract) and scholarly record as the primary criteria.


PROGRAM ANNOUNCED: April. The first review of submissions will take place March 1. This date should be considered the deadline for submissions since it is likely that the conference program will be completed at that time.

Presenters will be asked to confirm their participation by paying the registration fee when offered the conference slot.



ATTENDING ONLY: Send Registration check with name, address, academic affiliation.


CONFERENCE REGISTRATION FOR ALL PRESENTERS AND ATTENDEES

(fees cover breakfasts, refreshments, dinner one night)

Advance Registration ($45 by check) Deadline: May 1.

NOTE => After May 1 Registration only at the door: $50 cash.

CHECKS SHOULD BE MADE OUT TO: Marquette University

(Fees are waived for Marquette students, faculty and staff.)


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Registration Form


=> ALL ATTENDEES (including the Marquette community) are asked to register.<=


NAME:

TITLE: 

ACADEMIC AFFILIATION:

ADDRESS:

EMAIL ADDRESS:

TELEPHONE:

CHECK NUMBER: 

(Registration fees are waived for members of the Marquette community.)

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Print the Registration Form above and send your check made out to “Marquette University” to:

Richard Taylor

Philosophy Department

Marquette University

P.O. Box 1880

Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881



*Fee paid, or waived for Marquette students, faculty, staff.



Conference Schedule*

*View conference presentation videos with Quicktime.

PC users can obtain Quicktime free. Click HERE


All sessions will be held in the Center for Teaching and Learning, Classroom R330B, 3rd floor of Raynor Memorial Library. (See below for location link.)



MONDAY 25 JUNE Conference location: Center for Teaching and Learning, Classroom R330B, 3rd floor of Raynor Memorial Library


Presentations  


9:00 - 10:00 am Tzvi Langermann, “A New Arabic Text on the Platonic Ideas” Click HERE.


10:10 - 11:10 am Yehuda Halper, “Analogy and Immanent Knowledge of God according to Averroes’ Long Commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics Delta”  Click HERE.


11:20 am - 12:20 pm Richard C. Taylor, “Creation in Averroes”


12:20 -2:00 pm Lunch: suggestions: AMU (Student Union), Subway, Jimmy John’s Subs, local Pizza restaurant, Qdoba, Miss Katie’s Diner, and more in the immediate area.


Presentations


2:00-3:00 pm Mohammad Azadpur, “Scepticism and Prophecy in Medieval Islamic Thought and Modern Philosophy” Click HERE.


3:10 - 4:10 pm María del Carmen Elvira, “Avicenna’s Commenary on Aristotle’s Poetics and its Practical Consequences” Click HERE.



4:20 - 5:20 pm TBA


7:00 pm Dinner at the home of Prof. Taylor, included in the Conference Fee.

Carpooling available.



TUESDAY JUNE 26 Conference location: Center for Teaching and Learning, Classroom R330B, 3rd floor of Raynor Memorial Library


9:00 - 10:00 am Tyler Huismann, “The Metaphysics and Experience of Privation in Augustine’s De Civitate Dei” Click HERE.


10:10 - 11:10 am Katja Krause, “Lumen Gloriae – Aliqua Dispositio de Novo: Aquinas’ Original Linking of Greek, Latin, and Arabic Thought for Elucidating the Intellectual Enhancement in the Divine Vision” Click HERE.


11:20 am - 12:20 pm Joseph Steineger, “Divine Properties in the Context of Bonaventure’s Use of John of Damascus & Anselm’s Argument” Click HERE.


12:20 -2:00 pm Lunch: suggestions: AMU (Student Union), Subway, Jimmy John’s Subs, local Pizza restaurant, Qdoba, Miss Katie’s Diner, and more in the immediate area.


Presentations


2:00-3:00 pm Günther Mensching, “Roger Bacon on Abrahamic and Other Religions” Click HERE.


3:10 - 4:10 pm Andrew LaZella, “Like Light Belongs to Air: Thomas Aquinas and Meister Eckhart on the Rootless Existence of Creatures” Click HERE.


4:20 - 5:20 pm Juan Carlos Flores, “Henry of Ghent on Faith and Reason” Click HERE.



Dinner suggestion: to-be-announced at the conference



CONFERENCE LOCATION:

Conference sessions will take place in the Raynor Library (1355 W. Wisconsin Ave.) Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday June 16-18, 2009. For information on the Raynor Library and nearby parking see http://www.marquette.edu/contact/finder/raynor.shtml and the links there.


HOUSING:

On campus housing is available at a modest cost.  For information, click here.  To reserve a room contact the housing office directly:  Carrie Enea at 414-288-7204 or via email at carrie.enea@marquette.edu. Cut-off date for room reservations: ca. 25 May 2012. Rooms requested after the cut-off date are subject to availability.

Rooms will be at Straz Tower, 915 W. Wisconsin Ave. or at Mashuda Hall, 1926 W. Wisconsin Ave., each about. a three block walk from the conference location.


PARKING:

Structure 1, located on 749 N. 16th Street, and Structure 2, located at 1240 W. Wells St ., have been designated the university’s visitor parking facilities. For information on the costs of parking ask at the check-in desk at Straz Tower, 915 W. Wisconsin Ave. or at or at Mashuda Hall, 1926 W. Wisconsin Ave

Daytime visitors’ parking 6 am - 5 pm is $5-6 per day at these structures.

Overnight parking (ca. $6) can be arranged at the check-in desk at Straz Hall.

New: For parking information, click here or go to:  http://www.marquette.edu/about/visitor_parking.shtml.


HOTELS:

Just a few blocks East from Marquette University is the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Milwaukee Downtown, 611 West Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203. Tel. 1-414-273-2950.

For further information on the hotel, see click HERE.

A few blocks West from Marquette University is the very charming Ambassador Hotel: 2308 W Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53233. Tel.(414) 342-8400

For further information on the hotel, see www.ambassadormilwaukee.com

(Mention that you are attending a Marquette conference may get you a discount. Be sure to ask.)


DIRECTIONS AND MAPS:

For directions to the Marquette Campus, see http://www.marquette.edu/contact/directions/

For a map of the Marquette University campus, see http://www.marquette.edu/contact/CampusMap.pdf

For a map of downtown Milwaukee, see

http://www.wisconline.com/counties/milwaukee/map-downtown.html

For parking information, click here or go to:  http://www.marquette.edu/about/visitor_parking.shtml.


TRAVELING TO MARQUETTE UNIVERSITY (& DOWNTOWN MILWAUKEE) FROM

MILWAUKEE’S MITCHELL AIRPORT:

For a shuttle, see http://www.mitchellairport.com/getting.html

Downtown Milwaukee: info from http://kiwinc.itgo.com/mwc/mitchell.html

    * Expect a taxi to cost around $30 or a bit more due to fuel costs.

    * Most convenient: Airport Connection shared ride van serves a frequent loop of most downtown hotels. http://mkelimo.com/ ($12-15)

    * Cheapest: MCTS bus route 80 serves 6th St. downtown, next to the Midwest Airlines Center and nearby hotels. Travel time is 25 minutes, often only a few minutes longer than taxi or van.

http://www.ridemcts.com/routes_and_schedules/schedule.asp?route=80

Straz Tower is at 9th and Wisconsin.



The Conference Center is in the lower level of Raynor Library at 1355 W. Wisconsin Ave.



Midwest Seminar in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy link:

http://web.mac.com/mistertea/Midwest_Seminar/Welcome.html


Aquinas and the Arabs Project link:

http://web.mac.com/mistertea/iWeb/Aquinas%20&%20the%20Arabs/Aquinas%20&%20the%20Arabs.html


MARQUETTE UNIVERSITY PHILOSOPHY DEPARTMENT link:

http://www.marquette.edu/phil/






Presentation Abstracts


Below are the accepted initial proposals in alphabetical order by author.



Mohammad Azadpur (San Francisco State University, San Francisco)

“Scepticism and Prophecy in Medieval Islamic Thought and Modern Philosophy”

Richard Popkin attributes the inception of “modern philosophy” to the availability (and influence) of Greek sceptical thought.  What is interesting is that sceptical philosophy was also available to Medieval Muslim theologians and those Jewish and Christian thinkers influenced by them.  For example, the influential Muslim theologian and philosopher of the eleventh century, Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad Ghazzālī, draws on sceptical arguments and strategies against Peripatetic philosophers and intellectual opponents of Sunni orthodoxy (e.g., Isma’ili thinkers). In this essay, I explore the availability and sources of these sceptical arguments and strategies in the Islamic millieu.  I maintain that a main source is Galen’s discussions of the various ancient schools of medicine.  My aim is also to see the extent to which the Islamic appropriations of scepticism follows the patterns of its appropriation by “modern” European philosophers.  Here, I draw from Popkin’s research on sixteenth and seventeenth century philosophy and the relevant theories of prophecy.  This will then provide deeper insight into the relation between philosophy in the modern West and the Islamic intellectual traditions.


María del Carmen Elvira (Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City)

(Video presentation & discussion)

“Avicenna’s Commentary on Aristotle’s Poetics and its Practical Consequences”

The commentaries on the works of Aristotle within the Arabic tradition were a fascinating attempt to explain his thought. Several aspects contributed to its transformation and to the rising of a new different proposal. In the particular case of Avicenna’s “Commentary on Aristotle’s Poetics”, this is quite evident. When interpreting the Greek dramatic arts, Avicenna discovers in them a characteristic with which the Arabic poetics was not acquainted: universality. Avicenna shows how poetics seem to be an art related to the discovering of truths that, although lacking the logical necessity proper to the scientific truths, it does indeed contribute to knowledge, especially to practical knowledge. Given the affective nature of the poetical representation, its effect leads to some motion of desire or evasion. The poetical discourse sets affectivity in motion so a psychological tendency emerges, either directed towards the acceptance or rejection of a moral action, something known as the “imaginative assent”. Therefore, the Poetics should be understood as a treatise of great cognitive and practical value, since it moves the soul to assent certain moral belief through the imitation of noble actions. 


Juan Carlos Flores (University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit)

"Henry of Ghent on Faith and Reason"

Henry of Ghent's synthesis of faith and reason develops several sources, notably Augustine and Avicenna. Henry (d. 1293) criticizes his predecessor at the University of Paris, Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274), and provides an alternative approach to incorporating Aristotelian concepts within a Christian vision, an approach that quickly and sharply influenced Aristotelians and Platonists alike. This paper will highlight a specific, but basic, aspect of Henry's synthesis, namely his account of the distinction and relation between philosophy and theology, as found especially in article seven of his Summa. The paper develops Henry's position against the background of Thomas Aquinas, with special reference to Augustine and Avicenna.


Yehuda Halper (Tulane University, New Orleans)

“Analogy and Immanent Knowledge of God according to Averroes’ Long Commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics Delta”

In his Long Commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics Delta, the book of the Metaphysics in which Aristotle lists significations of 30 metaphysical terms, Averroes links the terms together through analogical relation. At one point, Averroes tells us that things related analogically form a kind of genus and thus we can infer that the terms in Book Delta together form a single genus that can be studied in metaphysics. Averroes also connects these terms via analogical relation to the Divine, particularly the Divine Final Cause of Metaphysics Lambda. Consequently, understanding the significations of the terms described in Book Delta is part of understanding the genus that includes the Divine. Yet, in the Long Commentary on the Metaphysics, the terms of Book Δ are explained as they are understood in ordinary, not necessarily philosophical language. Thus there is a kind of immanence of the Divine in the ordinary use of these terms, even though it is not always so understood by everyone who uses those terms.


Tyler Huismann (University of Colorado, Boulder)

“The Metaphysics and Experience of Privation in Augustine’s De Civitate Dei

In this paper, I will explain how, for Augustine, human happiness and human suffering are grounded in a dependence-relation with God. This dependence-relation gives contours to his metaphysics of privation and concreteness to the human experience of such deficiency. Humans depend on God as an object of volition or love insofar as the unity conferred by being oriented towards God is more stable than any self-constructed unity; therefore, a will or love grounded in one’s self is comparatively distended or attenuated. The consequences of this dependence apropos human life are drawn out in DCD: happiness is the experience of love of God, unhappiness, i.e. suffering, the experience of love of some created good. If we take Augustine’s view seriously, sin is not merely psychological but also ontological, and the suffering that Augustine insists is one of its effects is metaphysically necessary.


Katja Krause (King’s College London) (Video presentation & discussion)

“Deiformis – Lumen Gloriae – Aliqua Dispositio de Novo: Aquinas’ Original Linking of Ancient Greek, Latin, and Arabic Thought for Elucidating the Intellectual Enhancement in the Divine Vision”

In a strikingly original way, Aquinas accounts for the enhancement of the human intellect that is necessary for the direct visio dei in patria (vision of God in heaven). In so doing, he links the late Ancient notion of θεουργός, or deformitas in Latin, with Albert’s understanding of the lumen gloriae as a kind of medium solely affecting the human intellect. Philosophically most important, however, is Aquinas’ reliance upon Averroes’ Long Commentary on the ‘De Anima’. Here he finds an appropriate causal account explaining how this divinizing light of glory can be a material cause of the visio dei in the human intellect. This causal account shields Aquinas’ arguments against complete substantial union between the human intellect and God in the visio dei, but also against a mystical and ultimately philosophically inexplicable understanding of it. In this paper, I shall examine in detail Aquinas’ synthetic reasoning and elucidate the importance of Ancient Greek, Latin, and Arabic thought for his arguments of intellectual enhancement.



Tzvi Langermann, (Bar-Ilan University Ramat Gan)

“A New Arabic Text on the Platonic Ideas”

MS Teheran, Majlis 16373, contains a two page essay explaining the true meaning of the Platonic ideas (al-muthul al-aflāṭūniyya) and distinguishing them from Aristotle’s forms. This brief text is one of several discussions of this topic from the eastern reaches of Islam that were written in the wake of Avicenna’s momentous contribution to philosophy. Though not particularly deep, the essay is of historical interest. I propose, first, to offer a brief survey of other texts from the period that treat of the same issue; some were published by A. Badawi in a small (and apparently hard to get) book, Al-muthul al-aflāṭūniyya (Cairo, 1947), others have been collected by me over the years, and then to present a transcription and draft translation of this text, which ought to be short enough to be read in the time alloted to my talk. However, the story does not end here. The new text ends by observing that the distinction that the author has drawn shows that al-Fārābī was wrong when he claimed, in his “Conciliation” or “Harmonization” between Plato and Aristotle, that the difference between the two sages was merely verbal. The critique of al-Fārābī adds a new dimension to the topic; all the more so, since a number of scholars, most recently Marwan Rashed, have recently challenged the authenticity of this book of al-Fārābī. But al-Fārābī’s discussion of the “ideas”, and his argument that is based on a long quote from the so-called “Theology of Aristotle”, have long been known to be problematic; the explanations proposed by a line of prominent scholars, beginning with Leo Strauss, seem to have dropped out of the discourse. I will address this aspect of the problem as well.


Andrew LaZella (University of Scranton, Scranton, PA)

“Like Light Belongs to Air: Thomas Aquinas and Meister Eckhart on the Rootless Existence of Creatures”

This paper compares Thomas Aquinas and Meister Eckhart around the question of their creaturely being, or existence, (esse). Using a shared metaphor “existence belongs to creatures like light belongs to air,” the two Dominicans understand its metaphysical implications in radically different ways. Whereas Aquinas goes to great length to identify the actus essendi of each creature as its own (suum), although not rooted in its creaturely essence, Eckhart finds such a move untenable, instead identifying such an actualizing presence with God himself. This leads him to the un-Thomistic, and seemingly contradictory, conclusions that either existence is God and creatures lack existence (Prologues to the Opus Tripartitum) or God causes creaturely existence, but himself is beyond all existence (Parisian Questions). Although Eckhart’s conclusions turn out to be mutually compatible with each other, they do reveal, however, deeper problems with Aquinas’s metaphysical parsing of this metaphor. 


Günther Mensching (Hannover)

“Roger Bacon on Abrahamic and other Religions”

Roger Bacon (ca. 1214-1292) is known as a precursor of the modern sciences and as a reformer of the medieval university studies. His engagement for the introduction of Hebrew and Arabic language into the curriculum has also been noticed by the secondary literature. What almost has been missed that is his knowledge of non-Christian religions. In the seventh part of his Opus maius he explains the high importance of moral philosophy for his plans for reform he transmitted to pope Clement IV. in 1268. Here Bacon deals explicitly with the monotheistic religions. His general intention is to win the pope as supporter of his struggle against the Antichrist whom he supposed to come with the Mongolian aggression. Bacon tends to unite the Abrahamic religions in order to call them for battle against the invaders. In this context Bacon shows remarkable knowledge even of Asian religions. Though he considers Christianity as the only true religion, he does not want to fight against the other faiths by war, but by the power of persuasion. My paper will elucidate the images of the religions Bacon had. He is perhaps the first in the history of Christian thinking who tries to give a fair comparison of the Abrahamic religions.


Joseph Steineger (University of Chicago, Chicago)

“Divine Properties in the Context of Bonaventure’s Use of John of Damascus & Anselm’s Argument”

In his Commentaria in quatuor libros sententiarum I.d8.p1.a1.qq1-­‐2, Bonaventure appeals to John of Damascus as a Patristic authority in support of Anselm’s argument.   While such an appeal was common among 13th century Latin scholastics, Bonaventure’s association of the Damascene with Anselm’s argument includes a nuanced sense of “property” (proprium) that comes close to the way in which the Damascene understands the term.  I argue that this nuanced sense of a divine proprium affects how both thinkers address the necessity of divine existence. My analysis includes a summary of how the Damascene presents the divine proprium of existence, which I then compare with Bonaventure’s account of divine existence, all in an effort to show how the Damascene might have accepted Bonaventure’s version of Anselm’s argument.


Richard C. Taylor (Marquette University, Milwaukee)

“Averroes on Creation”

In his Long Commentary on the Metaphysics of Aristotle Averroes considers three accounts of creation and proceeds to reject (i) an account that all things are latent in matter and only require an agent moving cause for their appearance in creation; and (ii) the account of the Muslim theologians and the Christians that holds for a temporal creation involving no preexistent substance or matter out of which the created world exists so that there are no conditions on the action of the Creator. His own view involves  one of three subcategories of  a view he describes as involving (iii) generation and a substrate for changing in substance. This presentation explains Averroes’s typology of understandings of creation and explicates his own view. I will also address the issue of whether his own understanding is in accord with the Islamic conception of creation.