Special Seminar:

Divine Will, Creation and Providence in Arabic Philosophy


The Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’* International Working Group

     Aquinas,                   Alfarabi,             Avicenna,        Averroes,     &    Maimonides

Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’ International 
Philosophy Seminar on 
Divine Will, Creation and Providence 
in the Greek, Arabic and Latin Medieval Traditions
in 8 Meetings
Winter/Spring 2016

Sponsored by the Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’ International Working Group 
the Marquette Midwest Seminar in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy

Friday & Monday meetings will be held on the Marquette Campus with attendance via Skype available.

Marquette Campus location 
   Marquette Hall 102
(All times indicated are for Milwaukee.)

Prof. Cevher Şulul, Harran University, Şanliurfa, Turkey; 
Prof. Luis X. López-Farjeat, Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City;
Prof. Jon McGinnis, University of Missouri at St. Louis; 
Prof. Owen Goldin, Marquette University;
Prof. Richard Taylor, Marquette University;
Dr. Sayed Hassan Akhlaq, Washington, DC;
Dr. Katja Krause, Max Planck Institut Berlin;
Dr. Daniel DeHaan, Cambridge University;
Dr. Gregory B. Sadler, Milwaukee;
Prof. Veysel Kaya, Istanbul.
Graduate students:
Meline Sousa, Brazil; Mark Schulz, Marquette University; Nick Oschman, Marquette University; Emine Taşçi Yildirim, Ankara University; Alfonso Ganem, Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City; Armagan Atar, Ankara University; Jacob Andrews, Loyola University of Chicago; Nariman Aavani, Harvard University.
More forthcoming.

Contact information:

In preparation for the seminar we recommend all attendees study these two articles:

Anthony Ruffus and Jon McGinnis, “Willful Understanding: Avicenna’s Philosophy of Action and Theory of the Will,” Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 97.2 (2015) 160-195


Daniel De Smet and Meryem Sebti, “Avicenna's Philosophical Approach to the Qur'an in the Light of His Tafsir Sürat al-Ikhläs,” Journal of Qur'anic Studies 11.2 (2009) 134-148 

January 22 (Friday 3-5 pm) ALEXANDER AND THE GREEK TRADITION Session leader: Prof. Luis X. López-Farjeat, Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City, Mexico
Some recommended readings: 
Alexander of Aphrodisias on Fate, trans. Sharples  London Duckworth 1983
Alexander De la providence, French tr. & Arabic of Abu Bisr Matta ibn Yunus, Ed. & tr. P. Thillet 2003
Alexander of Aphrodisias On the Cosmos ed. & tr. Ch. Genequand 2001
Fazzo, S., and Wiesner, H., “Alexander of Aphrodisias in the Kindi Circle and in al-Kindi’s Cosmology,” Arabic Sciences and Philosophy, 3 (1993) available at


February 1 (Monday MU campus & Skype 7-9 pm) PLOTINUS, ENNEADS 6.8  Session leader: Marquette University doctoral student Mark Schulz 
Recommended readings: 
Plotinus, Enneads 6.8;
Taylor, “Aquinas, the Plotiniana Arabica, and the Metaphysics of Being and Actuality,” Journal of the History of Ideas 59 (1998) pp. 217-239;
Brandon Zimmerman, "Does Plotinus Present a Philosophical Account of Creation," Review of Metaphysics, 67, 1, (2013), 55-105

MEETING RESCHEDULED TO MARCH 11. February 8 (Monday MU campus & Skype 7-9 pm) 

February 15 (Monday on campus & Skype 7-9 pm) AL-FARABI  (1) Session leader: Marquette University doctoral student Nick Oschman
Recommended readings: 
al-Farabi L'armonia delle opinioni dei due sapienti, il divino Platone e Aristotele, ed tr Bonadeo 2008
Farabi Harmony of the Two Sages Plato & Aristotle, in Alfarabi Political Writings, trans Butterworth 2001
D. Janos “Al-Farabi, Creation ex nihilo & Cosmology of K. al-Jam & Jawabat,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 2009 
M. Rashed, “On the authorship of the treatise On the Harmonization of the Opinions of the Two Sages attributed to al-Farabi,” Arabic Philosophy and Science 19 2009

(6) March 4 (MU campus & Skype Friday 3-5 pm) AL-FARABI (2) Session leader: Universidad Panamericana student Alfonso Ganem
Recommended readings: 
 1. al-Fārābī (1985). On the Perfect State (Mabādi’ ārā ahl al-madīnat al-fāḍilah) a revised text with introduction,
translation and comentary by R. Walzer. Great Books of the Islamic World, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
• Chapter 1-8, pg. 57-143
2. John McGinnis (2007). Classical Arabic Philosophy: an Anthology of Sources. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub. Company.
• Al-Fārābī chapter V "The Principle of Existing Things" pg. 81-104
3. al-Fārābī (2001). Selected Aphorisms translated and annotated by Charles E. Butterworth. Ithaca: Cornell
University Press.
• Aphorisms 68-72 and 82-87 pgs. 44-46 and 53-57
Also consider:
 1. Herbert A. Davidson (1992). Alfarabi, Avicenna and Averroes on Intellect: Their Cosmologies, Theories of the
Active Intellect, and Theories of Human Intellect. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
• Chapter 3.1 "Al-Madīna al-Fāḍilah and al Siyāsa al-Madaniyya" pg.44-63.
2. Damien Janos (2012). Method, Structure and Development in al-Fārābī's Cosmology. Islamic Philosophy, Theology
and Science. Leiden: Brill.
• Chapter III.2 "The Origin of Matter: From Creationism to Eternal Causation" pg.235-312.

(7) March 11 (MU campus & Skype Friday 3-5 pm) THE CIRCLE OF AL-KINDI & THE KALAM FI MAHD AL-KHAIR  Session leader: Prof. Richard Taylor, Marquette University
Recommended readings: 
Kalam fi mahd al-khair / Liber de causis: propositions 1, 4, 5, 8, 17, 20, 21, 31 in Arabic, Latin and English;
Taylor, “Primary causality and ibdā‘ (creare)in the Liber de causis,” 2012;
Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, Book 2, distinction 1, question 1, article 2, “Whether anything can go forth from <God> by creation”
For texts click HERE. 
Also recommended: 
Peter Adamson, The Arabic Plotinus (2002) Theology and Metaphysics, pp. 111-170 & 182-192; and
Peter Adamson, Al-Kindi (2007), Metaphysics: Oneness and Being, pp. 46-73.

(8) March 18 (MU campus & Skype Friday 3-5 pm)  IBN SINA: Creation, Divine Will, Eternity
     Session leader:  Prof. Jon McGinnis, University of Missouri at St. Louis 
Recommended readings:
1) Creation: Ishārāt, namaṭ 5 (pp. 132-143 in Inati's translation)
2) Will and providence: the Appendix of Tony's and my article
If there is an interest in Avicenna's solution to the problem of evil we could also include:
3) Ilāhīyāt of al-Shifā', 9.6 (p. 339-47 in Marmura's translation)
Supplemental reading for those who want the fully worked out arguments concerning creation might include:
4) Eternity of motion: Ṭabī'īa of Shifā', 3.11 (pp. 359-70 in McGinnis' translation)
5) Eternity of creation: Ilāhīyāt of al-Shifā', 9.1 (pp. 299-307 of Marmura's translation).
Skype participants: Jon McGinnis, Nariman Aavani, Alfonso Ganem, Meline Sousa, Dr Seyed Akhlaq, Nick Oschman

(9) April 8 (MU campus & Skype Friday 3-5 pm) IBN SINA  
     Session leader:  Emine Taşçi Yildirim, Ankara University graduate student, visiting researcher, Marquette University 
Recommended readings: 
1.	İbn Sina, Kitāb al-Mabdā’ wa-l-Ma‘ād, ed. ‘A. nūrānī. Mu’assasah-’i Muṭāla‘āt-i Islāmī: Dānishgāh-i Makgīl. Tehran 1998, pp. 82-85,88-90. 
2.	Ibn Sina, Remarks and Admonitions: Physics and Metaphysics, trans. Shams Inati, Columbia University Press, New York 2014, 7 class, 18, 22-24. 
3.	Avicenna, The Metaphysics of The Healing, trans. Michael E. Marmura, Brigham Young University Press, Provo 2005, Book IX. C 6. 
4.	İbn Sina, İşarat ve’t-Tenbihat, thk Suleyman Dunya, Daru’l-ma’arif, Kahire, c.3, 6 nemat, 5-9  fasıl; 7 nemat, 17.
5.	Avicenna, Ta’liqat, thk. Abdurrahman Bedevi, el-Heyetü’l-Mısrıyyetü’l-Ammeti’l-Mektebi, Kahire 1973, s.16-18.
6.	İbn Sina, Risale-i Nübüvvet(peygamberliklerin ispatı ve onların kullandıkları sembol ve örneklerin yorumu hakkında risale), Risaleler, çev. Aşparslan Açıkgenç, M.Hayri Kırbaşoğlu, Ankara 2004, pp. 35-44.
7.	S.Nusseibeh, “Avicenna: Providence And God’s Knowledge of  Particulars”, Avicenna And His Legacy golden age of science and philosophy, Brepols,Turnhout 2009.
8.	Catarina Belo, “Avicenna On Celestial Causation And Providence”, Chance and Determinism in Avicenna and Averroes, Brill, Boston 2007,pp.91-120.
9.	Shams c. Inati, The Problem Of Evil Ibn Sina’s Theodicy, Global Publications, New York 2000.
Attendees: Prof. Cevher Şulul; Ferhat Taskin; Alphonso Ganem; Nick Oschman

(10) April 15 (MU campus & Skype Friday 3-5 pm) IBN RUSHD 
Session leader: Prof. Richard Taylor, Marquette University

(11) April 22 (MU campus & Skype Friday 3-5 pm)  "Creation and the First Cause in Albert's De causis et processu universitatis" 
     Session leader:  Dr. Katja Krause, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Germany
Important questions that I would like us to think about are the following: (1) What is the relation of the First Cause to all created things? (2) What are Albert's arguments for this relation of the First Cause's to all created things? What principles do they rest on? And are they philosophically convincing? (3) What are the philosophical influences on Albert's solution? (4) How does it differ from these influences as well as from his Latin peers? (5) Why is it philosophically interesting and yet potentially theologically problematic?
Recommended readings: 
(1) Bonin, Thérèse, "Albert's De causis and the Creation of Being", in: A Companion to Albert the Great. Theology, Philosophy, and the Sciences, Irven Resnick (ed.), Leiden / Boston 2013, 688-694.
(2) Moulin, Isabelle & Twetten, David, "Causality and Emanation in Albert", in: A Companion to Albert the Great. Theology, Philosophy, and the Sciences, Irven Resnick (ed.), Leiden / Boston 2013, 694-721.
(3) Sweeney, Leo, "Esse primum creatum in Albert the Great's Liber de causis et processu universitatis", The Thomist 44 (1980), 599-646.

Final Meeting:
(12) April 29 (Friday 3-5 pm Milwaukee time)  Canceled