BASS Sociology and Philosophy

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Islamic Philosophy

Course unit fact file
Unit code PHIL20001
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course begins with discussions on the origins of Islamic philosophy, its Greek background, and the role of the Translation Movement in the formation of this philosophical tradition. The most influential schools of Islamic philosophy and their central teachings will be introduced and discussed in this course. Moreover, this course covers some of the most well-known ideas of the main figures of Islamic philosophy such as al-Kindī, al-Fārābī, Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna), al-Ghazālī, Ibn Rushd (Averroes), al-Rāzī, and al-Suhrawardī. Discussions of the reception of Islamic philosophy in medieval Latin philosophy will conclude the course. Some of the reading materials of the course are from primary texts whose translations are available in English and some others are selected from secondary literature on Islamic philosophy.


The course unit aims to:

  • introduce students to major schools, figures, texts, and issues of medieval Islamic philosophy.
  • acquaint students with a non-Western philosophical tradition, which can be seen as a mediating link between ancient Greek philosophy and medieval/early modern Western philosophy.
  • give students an understanding of the strong interconnectedness of philosophical issues from different traditions.
  • gives students the opportunity to exercise intellectual fairness, sympathy and tolerance towards different world views and intellectual traditions.
  • improve students’ skills in analysing philosophical texts, reconstructing their main arguments, and writing expository essays about them.
  • gives students the opportunity to engage with the main texts of Islamic philosophy (available in English translation).

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge of the main schools and central issues of Islamic philosophy.
  • demonstrate knowledge of the main historical connections of Islamic philosophy to Greek philosophy and medieval/early modern Western philosophy.
  • analyse and critically assess the main ideas and arguments of passages from the main texts of Islamic philosophy.

Teaching and learning methods

There will be a mixture of lectures and tutorials.

Please note the information in scheduled activity hours are only a guidance and may change.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 67%
Written assignment (inc essay) 33%

Feedback methods

The School of Social Sciences (SoSS) is committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to students on their academic progress and achievement, thereby enabling students to reflect on their progress and plan their academic and skills development effectively. Students are reminded that feedback is necessarily responsive: only when a student has done a certain amount of work and approaches us with it at the appropriate fora is it possible for us to feed back on the student’s work. The main forms of feedback on this course are written feedback responses to assessed essays and exam answers.

We also draw your attention to the variety of generic forms of feedback available to you on this as on all SoSS courses. These include: meeting the lecturer/tutor during their office hours; e-mailing questions to the lecturer/tutor; asking questions from the lecturer (before and after lecture); presenting a question on the discussion board on Blackboard; and obtaining feedback from your peers during tutorials.

Recommended reading

  • Adamson, Peter, 2007, Al-Kindī, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Adamson, Peter, 2016, Philosophy in the Islamic World: A History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Adamson, Peter, 2021, Al-Rāzī, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Adamson, Peter and Richard C. Taylor (Eds.), 2004, The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • El-Rouayheb, K. and Schmidtke, S. (Eds.), 2016, The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Philosophy, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Khalidi, Muhammad Ali, 2005, Medieval Islamic Philosophical Writings, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • McGinnis, Jon, 2010, Avicenna, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • McGinnis, Jon and David C. Reisman, 2007, Classical Arabic Philosophy: An Anthology of Sources, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Mohammad Saleh Zarepour Unit coordinator

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