Views on Women in Medieval Islamic Philosophy: Ibn Rushd in context.

01 October 2018 → 30 September 2023
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • History of philosophy
    • Feminist philosophy
    • Philosophical anthropology
    • Philosophy of mind
    • Study of Islam and quranic studies
Islamic Philosophy
Project description

This project aims to deliver the first comprehensive study on the characterisation of women in Medieval Islamic philosophical texts. The study will primarily focus on Ibn Rushd (Latin: Averroes), but will involve al-Ghazali, al-Farabi and Ibn Arabi as well. Ibn Rushd is best known for his commentaries on Aristotle. He played a decisive role in the Islamic world as an advocate for Greek philosophy and his belief in reason as superior to revelation makes him unusual for his time. He was suspected of heresy and sent into exile. But he triumphed in the Latin West, where his commentaries were translated into Hebrew and Latin from the 13th century onwards. For more than three hundred years Western scholars read Aristotle through Ibn Rushd's commentaries. The radical aspects of his thought provided the essential backdrop for the development of modern philosophy and the Enlightenment in the West. It is fair to say that he can be seen as the bridge between Medieval and modern philosophy. The conceptualisation of women in Medieval Islamic texts has not yet been studied. Studying views on women goes hand in hand with the study of related concepts, like "nature" (i.e. what it means that it is "natural" for someone or a group of people to be a certain way), physical vs mental differences, concepts of emotion and reason, and the opposition or interaction between them. How these concepts are constructed within Islamic philosophy is part of the study, no concept being general or timeless.