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Reading Avicenna in Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin Philosophy: Avicennan Metaphysics in its Medieval Context


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to:

  • BA students in Philosophy/Filosofie (see requirements below).

  • Pre-master’s students in Philosophy who are in possession of an admission statement, and for whom this course is part of their programme.

BA students enrolled in the Global and Comparative Perspectives track must have successfully completed their first year, and also completed at least 10 EC’s of the mandatory components of the second year, including Language of Thought, and Concepts of Selfhood.

Students enrolled in the BA Filosofie must have successfully completed their first year, and at least 10 EC's of the mandatory components of their second year, including Comparative Philosophy, and Philosophy of Mind or Philosophy of Language. In addition, students must have completed the course World Philosophies: Middle East


Avicenna stands tall as one of most profound philosophical minds in medieval philosophy. Many centuries passed after the composition of Aristotle’s Metaphysics before metaphysical works of similar size and ambition were written in the Peripatetic tradition. In terms of comprehensiveness, systematic effort, and influence, Avicenna’s metaphysical writings are arguably more important than Aristotle. The present course explores in some detail the main contours of Avicennan metaphysics and its reception in three different culture: Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin.

Course objectives

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • demonstrate familiarity with some of the major philosophical-metaphysical traditions in the medieval period;

  • critically reflect on, distinguish between, and examine key varieties and aspects of philosophical argumentation;

  • exhibit the analytic skills necessary to comprehend the relevance of the past to their understanding of the present, while becoming more familiar with their own assumptions and values;.

  • acquire a set of reading and discussion skills that allow them to engage texts and others in an informed and conscientious manner.


The timetable is available on the following website(s):

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Course load

Total course load: 10EC x 28 hours = 280 hours

  • Attending lectures: (13 weeks x 3 hours): 39 hours

Further calculation of the course load to be annpounced.

Assessment method

To be announced.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Announcements

  • Posting of links for readings

  • Extra class discussions

Reading list

  • D. Gutas, Avicenna and the Aristotelian Tradition: Introduction to Reading Avicenna’s Philosophical Works (Leiden, 2014)

  • J. Janssens, and D. De Smet (eds.), Avicenna and His Heritage (Leuven, 2002)

  • J. McGinnis, Avicenna (Oxford, 2010)

  • R. Wisnovsky,* Avicenna’s Metaphysics in Context* (Ithaca, N. Y., 2003)

  • P. Adamson (ed.), Interpreting Avicenna: Critical Essays (Cambridge, 2013)


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. A. Bdaiwi


Not applicable.