A sketch of an old man's face with wrinkles in black dress with a tower in the background

The IIS has continued its engagement with the Aquinas and “the Arabs” International Working Group Meeting this year, which runs online in May-June 2021.

On May 19th, the Institute sponsored the panel "Ismaili Thought: Between Neoplatonism and Aquinas" at the conference, which this year has the title “Philosophy in the Abrahamic Traditions: Structures of Being, World and Mind”.

The panel was organised and chaired by Dr Janis Esots, a Research Associate in the IIS’s Shi'i Studies Unit, and featured two IIS scholars, Dr Fârès Gillon and Professor Carmela Baffioni, as well as Dr Cristina D’Ancona of the Università di Pisa.

Dr Gillon, who has also recently convened the Islamic History and Thought Lecture Series at the IIS, investigated the pre-philosophical roots of Ḥamīd al-Dīn al-Kirmanī’s doctrine of ‘two perfections’.

Professor Baffioni, building on her work on the Rasā’il of Ikhwān al-Ṣafā’, proposed to consider Ismailism as a philosophical medium between East and West.

Dr D’Ancona elaborated on the intellect and the intellection of the human soul as an Aristotelian problem and its non-Aristotelian solutions in Arabic philosophy.

On the conference, Dr Esots said “The initial plan, drafted in 2019, was to hold this event live at the IIS, in June 2020, with much more involvement of our researchers and students. The programme was drafted and circulated in early 2020. Then the pandemic happened and the conference was postponed for a year. In late 2020, we decided to have a Zoom event instead.”

“I am very glad that everything went smoothly, and that the panel was well received. I would like to warmly thank the speakers, Fârès, Carmela and Cristina, for their well-prepared and insightful talks, and the audience for their interest and engagement. I hope we will be able to sponsor more events of this kind in the future.”

Find out more about the conference.