Next Spring's medieval conference at Kalamazoo, MI, will have one session reserved for the theme of "Aquinas and the Arabs," sponsored by the Aquinas and the Arabs International Working Group (led by Marquette's University's Richard Taylor [link to site]). He will have a paper on the following, "Natural Epistemology in Aquinas's Earliest Major Work: the Roles of Avicenna and Averroes" (description scraped from an e-mail from Taylor):
This short presentation is focused on the roles of Avicenna and Averroes in the account of natural human knowing in Aquinas's Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. Particular attention is given to the accounts at In 2 Sent. d. 3, q. 3, a. 1 (sol.: in intellectu vero humano similitudo rei intellectae est aliud a substantia intellectus, et est sicut forma ejus; unde ex intellectu et similitudine rei efficitur unum completum, quod est intellectus in actu intelligens; et hujus similitudo est accepta a re) and at In 2 Sent. d. 17, q. 2, a. 1 (sol.: anima habet uirtutem per quam facit species sensibiles esse intelligibiles actu, que est intellectus agens, et habet uirtutem per quam est in potentia ut efficiatur in actu determinate cognitionis a specie rei sensibilis facta intelligibili in actu; et hec uirtus uel potentia dicitur intellectus possibilis. Et harum duarum uirtutum operationes sequitur omne nostrum intelligere, tam principiorum quam conclusionum) and the sources for these teachings in Avicenna's De Anima and Metaphysics and in Averroes' Long Commentary on the De Anima. The paper indicates precisely how Aquinas cobbled together his understanding of the process of human apprehension of intelligibles from selected texts and teachings from these thinkers of the Arabic / Islamic tradition.