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Author: Bethany Somma
This study argues that late ancient Greek and medieval Islamic philosophers interpret human desire along two frameworks in reaction to Aristotle’s philosophy. The investigation of the model dichotomy unfolds historically from the philosophy of Plotinus through the Graeco-Arabic translation movement in 8th-10th century Baghdad to 12th century al-Andalus with the philosophy of Ibn Bāǧǧa and Ibn Ṭufayl.

Diverging on desire’s inherent or non-inherent relation to the desiring subject, the two models reveal that the desire’s role can orient opposed accounts of human perfection: logically-structured demonstrative knowledge versus an ineffable witnessing of the truth. Understanding desire along these models, philosophers incorporated supra-rational aspects into philosophical accounts of the human being.
In: Reading Proclus and the Book of Causes, Volume 3
Author: Bethany Somma

Abstract

At the beginning of his Ḥayy Ibn Yaqẓān, Ibn Ṭufayl offers an overview and appraisal of his predecessors. Though this overview is clearly important, its internal logic is unclear. The prologue is vaguely doxographic, but it seems to fall short of what is demanded of a true doxography. I argue for a liminal understanding of Ibn Ṭufayl’s doxography. First, the nature of the doxography’s subject matter requires him to remain on the verge of a proper doxography, for since the topic is properly speaking ineffable, it restricts him to saying only what he is not saying. Second, his remarks are also geographically organized, as he restricts himself to examining two distinct lines of Aristotelians arranged from west to east to west. This organization allows Ibn Ṭufayl to present an Andalusī intellectual history within which he stands at the summit. As a result, Ibn Ṭufayl’s doxography is doubly liminal, its subject matter on the verge of expression and its author on the verge of historical, intellectual fulfillment.

In: Received Opinions: Doxography in Antiquity and the Islamic World
In: Models of Desire in Graeco-Arabic Philosophy
In: Models of Desire in Graeco-Arabic Philosophy
In: Models of Desire in Graeco-Arabic Philosophy
In: Models of Desire in Graeco-Arabic Philosophy
In: Models of Desire in Graeco-Arabic Philosophy
In: Models of Desire in Graeco-Arabic Philosophy
In: Models of Desire in Graeco-Arabic Philosophy