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  al-Kindî              al-Fârâbî                Avicenna            al-Ghazâlî            Averroes      Maimonides

Independent Study / Directed Readings

“Philosophy in the Lands of Islam”

Prof. Richard C. Taylor

Department of Philosophy, Marquette University,

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Fall 2015

Prof. Richard C. Taylor

Website: http://web.mac.com/mistertea/Research_and_Teaching/Research.html

MAILBOX: Marquette Hall, first floor

TELEPHONE: 288-5649; FAX: 288-3010

EMAIL: Richard.Taylor@Marquette.edu

OFFICE HOURS: Tuesdays 9 am - 12 pm and by appointment

APPOINTMENTS WEBSITE (for all my Fall 2015 courses): http://web.mac.com/mistertea/Philosophy_104%3A_Theory_of_Ethics/Appointments.html

COURSE WEBSITE: http://academic.mu.edu/taylorr/Philosophy_in_the_Lands_of_Islam/Welcome.html

MEETING PLACE: Marquette Hall, 437

MEETING TIMES: Wednesdays 3:00-5:00 pm, occasionally until 6:00 pm

Brief Course Description     

Independent Study / Directed Readings:

Philosophy in the Lands of Islam, with special emphasis on political philosophy

This independent study or directed readings course in medieval Islamic philosophical thought is a graduate level introduction to philosophical thought in a cultural context which is at once starkly different from ‘Western’ Christian culture and at the same time steeped in the same religious (Abrahamic) and philosophical (Greek) traditions as traditional ‘Western’ thought.

         This course is narrowly focused on major figures of the Classical Rationalist Philosophical Tradition in the lands of Islam with the expectation that we will delve deeply into the reasoning and arguments of these philosophers.  Still, there is much, much more to the Arabic / Islamic philosophical tradition. Consequently, students are urged to read much more widely outside of assigned class work. At the beginning and throughout the course I will make mention of other key figures worth serious philosophical study.

The development of social and political philosophy on the part of the major thinkers of the Classical Rationalist tradition in the Islamic intellectual milieu will be the primary focus of this independent study course. We will begin with lectures and discussion of the Greek philosophical and Islamic theological background and then turn to the major philosophical figures (al-Kindī, al-Fārābī, Ibn Sīnā [Avicenna], al-Ghazalī Ibn Rushd [Averroes], et alii).  Among the topics discussed will be: theories of knowledge and their impact on conceptions of society and state; metaphysical issues and issues of natural philosophy & psychology foundational for social and political philosophy; prophecy and society; the attainment of happiness; the relation of religion and philosophy; and more. The independent study course will close with the consideration of the importance of this tradition for the development of the political philosophy of Leo Strauss. Although our focus will be on this philosophical tradition, frequent specific reference will be made to the influence of Arabic / Islamic philosophy in translation on Latin Europe.

Our study may include video lectures, online discussions, and other available technological resources for teaching and learning. It may also involve international collaborations with expert scholars elsewhere. Grading will be based on student participation in discussion during meetings and a course paper of ca. 20-30 pp. developed discussions and student analyses and presentations based on assigned readings.

Readings will be selected from Classical Arabic Philosophy. An Anthology of Sources, Jon McGinnis & David C. Reisman, ed. (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2007); The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy, Peter Adamson and Richard C. Taylor, ed. (Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Capetown: Cambridge University Press, 2005) and the Routledge Companion to Islamic Philosophy Richard C. Taylor & Luis López-Farjeat ed. (2015). We will also study selected translations from works by the major figures and selections of secondary sources by scholars of the history of Arabic / Islamic philosophy (e.g. Gutas, Endress, Adamson, Hasse, Druart, Brenet, Ivry, Butterworth, Mahdi, and more).