Prof. Richard C. Taylor


Edition of the Arabic Text of the

Liber de causis / Kalâm fî mahd al-khair

Proclus Arabus: Collaborative work with Cristina d’Ancona (Pisa, Italy) and Gerhard Endress (Bochum, Germany) in preparing critical editions and French and English translations of the extant Arabic translations of the works of Proclus, including the Liber de causis / Kalâm fî mahd al-khair. More information forthcoming.

The Aquinas and the Arabs International Working Group (AAIWG)

    Together with my Marquette colleague, Prof. David B. Twetten, I founded the “Aquinas and the Arabs” project at Marquette University with the support and encouragement of colleagues at Marquette and elsewhere. The general purpose of the AAIWG is to promote sound cross cultural and interreligious understanding through insightful studies of the common philosophical interests and principles of Thomas Aquinas and of the Arabic tradition broadly construed to include thinkers of the Abrahamic faiths working and living in the context of Medieval Islam. The project’s first conference was July 8, 2006; text seminars featured four speakers annually in its first two years.

    In a 2008 meeting with Dr Adriano Oliva, O.P., head of the Commissio Leonina in Paris (responsible for the preparation of the critical editions of the works of Thomas Aquinas), an agreement was reached that the “Aquinas and the Arabs” project at Marquette should move to work cooperatively with the Commissio Leonina on the Latin translations of Arabic philosophical works and their understanding and interpretation by Thomas Aquinas.

    The AAIWG as now conceived involves the production of translations and studies of the works and teachings of Aquinas as they are influenced by philosophical materials from the Arabic tradition (including the Jewish thinker, Moses Maimonides).  Arrangements have been made to work regularly in the AAIWG with Dr. Oliva.  The purpose of this collaboration is to better the understanding of the philosophical and theological work of Thomas Aquinas in its proper context and to highlight features and issues common to the three Abrahamic faiths.  Dr Oliva (and other members of the Commissio Leonina) will assist by providing unpublished critical texts of Aquinas, by providing informed comment on accounts of the thought of Aquinas, particularly in areas of special theological concerns beyond the expertise of Project members, and in other yet to be specified ways.  In turn the AAIWG will be providing assistance to Dr Oliva and others of the Commissio Leonina with understanding the meanings of the philosophical texts from the Arabic tradition which were so important to the development of the thought of Aquinas. (In some cases this may prove valuable for determining correct manuscript readings in the tradition of the works of Aquinas, Dr Oliva has remarked.)  We expect that this will be a multi-year collaboration.

    In connection with the AAIWG, Dr Oliva visited Marquette in October 2008 and made a presentation on the importance of philosophy to the development of the theological thought of Aquinas to the Theology and Philosophy Departments. Dr. Oliva also a featured speaker at the October 11-12, 2008, Aquinas and the Arabs Conference. (For information, click HERE.)  

    The first annual Spring conference, Thomas d’Aquin et ses sources arabes / Aquinas and the Arabs, took place March 27-28, 2009, at the Bibliothèque du Saulchoir in Paris.Two research conferences are held annually in Fall at Marquette University in Milwaukee and in Spring at the Bibliothèque du Saulchoir in Paris. (For information, click HERE.)

    The AAIWG  aspires to the production of several volumes of English studies and translations of works of Aquinas and the Arabic sources that were important stimulants in the development of his philosophical and theological teachings.  Each will contain English translations of relevant philosophical texts of Aquinas together with translations of the Arabic sources in Latin translation used by Aquinas. There will also be reference to and discussion of those sources in Arabic in their own philosophical context.  That is, the studies on teachings and arguments will reference Aquinas, the Latin translations, and the original Arabic where available. As presently conceived, the first major project of the AAIWG will address the early work of Aquinas in his first encounter with the Arabic philosophers in his Commentary on the Sentences and in his De ente et essentia  Subsequent studies will be on his middle and late periods through his final years when he commented on the Liber de causis and was at a high point of his intellectual powers.

Other Research Activities

    Currently I am involved in the international project, “Noétique et théorie de la connaissance dans la philosophie arabe des IXe –XVIIe siècles” sponsored by the Centre Nationale de Recherches Scientifiques, France, directed by Meryem Sebti and Daniel de Smet. This is a project in the study of the vocabulary and key teachings of the Arabic philosophical tradition on thought and knowledge. All participants are kept informed of the Paris presentations with summaries and handouts shared via the Internet. In November 2008 I presented my seminar on Ibn Rushd / Averroes at Paris. The contributions of the collaborators in this project will be published by Drs. Sebti and de Smet in a volume funded by the CNRS.

Page under construction. More forthcoming.


Current Research Projects


  My research and publication work focus largely on discerning the proper understanding of Medieval Arabic philosophical works in the Aristotelian and Neoplatonic traditions, particularly those works by philosophers whose thought was influential in Latin translations made in the 12th and 13th centuries. However, in recent years I have expanded into study of historical and contemporary Islam because of the intrinsic value of knowledge of these topics, because of the depth it adds to my understanding and analyses, because of the qualitative impact on my teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and because of contemporary political, religious and philosophical concerns. 


Averroes (Ibn Rushd) of Cordoba. Long Commentary on the De Anima of Aristotle, translated with introduction and notes by Richard C. Taylor with Thérèse-Anne Druart, subeditor, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009) cix, 498 p., is now available. Click here for information.

Efforts to understand doctrines of intellect in medieval philosophy in Arabic and Latin have resulted in a number of publications on the development of the thought of Averroes through his three commentaries on the De Anima and other works. Some articles on Averroes are available here.

Research Link to DARE, Cologne:

Department of Philosophy

Marquette University, P.O. Box 1881

Milwaukee WI 53201 (414)288-6857

"Truth does not contradict truth but rather is consistent with it and bears witness to it." Ibn Rushd / Averroes following Aristotle.

Other studies of Averroes, his thought and his influence  

Averroes and Aquinas; Averroes’s Rationalism; Averroes and Themistius.

Additional studies are now in print or in press:

“Arabic / Islamic Philosophy in Thomas Aquinas’s Conception of the Beatific Vision in In IV Sent. D. 49, Q. 2. A. 1”, The Thomist 76 (2012) 509-550.

“Intellect as Intrinsic Formal Cause in the Soul according to Aquinas and Averroes,” in The Afterlife of the Platonic Soul. Reflections on Platonic Psychology in the Monotheistic Religions, Maha El-Kaisy Friemut and John M. Dillon, ed. (Leiden: Brill, 2009), pp. 187-220.

“Ibn Rushd / Averroes and ‘Islamic’ Rationalism,” in Medieval Encounters. Jewish, Christian and Muslim Culture in Confluence and Dialogue 15 (2009) 125-135. [Special issue on Al-Andalus: Cultural Diffusion and Hybridity, ed. Ivry Corfis].

Themistius and the development of Averroes' noetics” in Medieval Perspectives on Aristotle's De Anima, ed. by R.L. Friedman and J.-M. Counet (Philosophes Médiévaux, LVIII), Louvain-la-Neuve/ Louvain-Paris-Walpole MA, Editions de l'Institut Supérieur de Philosophie/ Peeters, 2013, pp. 1-38.

“Averroes on the Ontology of the Human Soul,” Muslim World 102 (2012) 580-596

“Averroes on the Sharîʿah of the Philosophers,” for The Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Heritage: Philosophical and Theological Perspectives in the Abrahamic Traditions, Richard C. Taylor & Irfan Omar, eds. (Marquette University Press, Milwaukee, 2012), 283-304.

“Averroes’ Philosophical Conception of Separate Intellect and God,” in La lumière de l’intellect : La pensée scientifique et philosophique d’Averrès dans son temps. ed. Ahmad Hasnawi (Leuven: Peeters 2011), pp. 391-404.

Regarding these papers, see

New Translation Project

The Averroistic ‘De beatitudine animae’

and Two Genuine Treatises by Averroes

This project involves preparation of translations and studies of three works: (i) Averroes’ Commentary on the On the Intellect by Alexander of Aphrodisias in Arabic, (ii) the De beatitudine animae (On the Happiness of the Soul) in Latin. The first of these is a late treatise and the second is an early work, though both of them provide valuable insights into the development of the thought and arguments of Averroes on the nature of human intellectual understanding and the attainment of happiness on the part of human beings.  In both works his rationalist approach founded on the Aristotelian tradition is evident though his arguments and approach differ.  In the third work mentioned, the De beatitudine animae (On the Happiness of the Soul), appeared in Renaissance times (1501) as a work attributed to Averroes and was widely studied and was even the subject of detailed commentaries. Nevertheless, at the end of the Nineteenth Century its authorship became suspect. Thanks to the work of Marc Geoffroy and Carlos Steel in their critical edition of this text, it has now been established that this is neither a genuine work by Averroes (it is rather a mixture of the very different teachings of al-Farabi and Averroes) nor does it represent his doctrine accurately. Still, the work was highly influential in the Renaissance and beyond.

This project is part of my continuing work on Arabic philosophy and the Latin West through studies in the translation of ideas and texts from Ancient Greek thinkers through to Arabic tradition and also through Arabic to the High Middle Ages of the Latin West and beyond into the Renaissance.

The Routledge Companion to Islamic Philosophy


Contact information:



Dept. of Philosophy,

Marquette University

P.O. Box 1881

Milwaukee, WI 53005

For some articles in PDF, click HERE.

Aquinas and the Arabs International Working Group:

Fall 2016 I am teaching the graduate course Phil 6959, Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’ Th 9-11:40 am. For information see

I am also teaching Phil 2310-114, Theory of Ethics. For information, see

Research for Fall 2016: FORTHCOMING

For Spring 2016 I am scheduled to teach undergraduate courses, Ancient Philosophy and two sections of Theory of Ethics.

For Fall 2015 I am teaching four classes: (a) two sections the undergraduate course, Theory of Ethics; (b) a graduate level directed readings course on Philosophy in the Lands of Islam with two enrolled students and two observers via Skype; and (c) co-teaching Aquinas in Context: Aquinas and Bonaventure on Divine Creation and Human Knowledge at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, with Prof. Andrea Robiglio.

In the academic year 2014-15 while remaining in Milwaukee I continued as special visiting professor at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven collaborating with Prof. Andrea Robiglio in a hybrid online and live video graduate course on the topic: Thomas Aquinas: The Nature and Attainment of Happiness. The course will include study of Aquinas’s Arabic sources. For the course syllabus and other information, click HERE.

Presentations 2014-15

“Al-Farabi’s lost commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics and issues in Averroes and Aquinas,” Annual Fall 2014 Workshop on Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’, University of St Thomas, Houston TX, 5-6 September, 2014

“Creation and Divine Will in the Plotiniana Arabica, Liber de causis and Avicenna,” Métaphysique et Cosmologie Médiévales. Héritages Philosophiques du Livre des causes, Dijon, France, 15-20 2014 (invited)

Commentary on F. Romero Carrasquillo, “Averroes, Maimonides & Aquinas on the Interpretation of Scripture,” at the annual meeting of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, Washington, DC, 10 November 2014

“Ibn Rushd (Averroes): Method in Religion and Philosophy,” 9th International Colloquium of the Société Internationale d’Histoire des Sciences et de la Philosophie Arabes et Islamiques, Paris, France, 8-10 October 2013 (presentation and discussion via internet video)

“Ibn Rushd (Averroes) on the Soul,” Center for the Study of Research Traditions, Flint, MI, 15-16 November 2014 (invited)

Annual Aquinas Lecture, Ave Maria University, Ave Maria, FL, late January or early February 2015 (invited)

“Remarks on Intellectual Abstraction in Aristotle and the Medieval Traditions,” Colloquium Series, Philosophy Department, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI 17 April 2015 (invited)