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Subjectivity and Selfhood in the Arabic and Latin Traditions

GoTriple's project summary

The overall aim of the SSALT project is to throw light on the incubation of modern notions of the self and moral agency in the thought of the ancient world, their adoption and adaptation in the European and Arabic middle ages, and finally their transformation in the early modern period. This aim is approached through the twin paths of Arabic and Latin thought, both of which were in equal measure heir to the legacies of Greek rationalism and Hebrew monotheism. While most of the progress made so far in the scholarship has concentrated on Latin scholasticism, a more equally weighted investigation between the Arabic and Latin traditions can not only serve to bring to light much material that is of contemporary philosophical and ethical interest, but will also bring about a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Greek and Hebrew notions of selfhood and moral agency that form the bedrock of our culture. Once we begin to understand the similarities as well as the differences between the various thinkers frequently cited in the discussions (Aristotle and Descartes; Augustine and al-Ghazali; Avicenna and Aquinas), we can begin to discern what the theoretical implications are of committing to a certain philosophical viewpoint regarding human subjectivity and agency. Plainly, the importance of these findings reaches beyond the merely academic.

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