"Sine quibus non": Arabic Philosophy of Science and the Impact of Medieval and Renaissance Latin Translations
2017 - 2018
Riccardo Strobino is Mellon Assistant Professor at Tufts University (Classics and Philosophy). Before joining Tufts in 2015, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Ruhr-Universität Bochum and Cambridge University (Clare Hall) and a visiting lecturer at UCLA. His research focuses on the history of ancient and medieval philosophy, especially the reception of ancient logic and epistemology in the Latin Middle Ages and in the Arabic-Islamic tradition. He has published on the nature of scientific knowledge, modality, inference, paradoxes, and textual transmission. His first monograph, Avicenna’s Book of Demonstration: Logic, Epistemology, Metaphysics, is forthcoming with University of California Press in 2018.
What is a definition? What qualifies as a proof? What counts as a scientific explanation?
The project investigates historical and systematic aspects of Arabic-Islamic philosophy of science in connection with the ancient Greek and medieval Latin traditions, focusing on Averroes’ commentaries on Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics and the impact of their medieval and Renaissance translations. Averroes’ network of texts on the idea of science and scientific knowledge is representative of a sophisticated phase of conceptual elaboration that brings together elements from the ancient and late ancient Greek tradition (Aristotle and his commentators) and the earlier Arabic tradition (Fārābī, Avicenna, Avempace), and which crucially shapes the way these notions were understood and conceptualized in the Latin West and early modern Europe before the advent of the scientific revolution. The dissemination of Averroes’ ideas culminated in a celebrated 16th-century Venice edition of his commentaries on Aristotle, at the confluence of four layers of mediterranean culture: Greek philosophy, its Arabic and Latin reception, the mediation of Jewish translators. The project aims to untangle some of these distinct but interconnected threads as integral parts of a unified cultural framework.