HoST Fall 2010

Tues/Thurs. starting at 4:00 in Babio 203

Back to HoST Fall 2010 Syllabus

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Week of 10/14

No Class on Tuesday, Just Thursday.


Assignment 6

Midterm Exam will be Week 7.

You need to have completed a short and a long essay by week 7. 

If you haven't done any essays, you have to do this one and the next one.


Updated: 10/18/10 11:45 AM

Ibn Tufayl's Story of Hayy



The spontaneous creation of Hayy.

Woodcut cartoon by me.

For Tuesday: Sleep


For Thursday:

Read these excerpts from The Story of Hayy ibn Yaqzan by Ibn Tufayl (ca. 1105-1185 - from Moorish "Spain").

IbnTufayl-Hayy-Khalidi-CambridgeEd.pdf  [1.1MB]


Remember: The Necessary Existent is basically another way to say God.

pp. 99-114

pp. 121-122 [Start at bottom of p. 121, "The first thing..."]

pp. 125-127 [Start at the top of p. 125.]

pp. 138-140 [Start at middle of p. 138, "Since the animal..."

pp. 142-153 [Start at bottom of p. 142, "When it came to..."

            Total = ca. 32pp


      This story explains how a person can find God by reading the book of nature and exploring the divine within.  I like to call it Radical Medieval Islamic Natural Philosophy for Dummys.  This sort of describes the internal form of jihad, meaning an internal struggle to be good, rather than the external form which is usually described as holy war. This was and is pretty radical stuff as it seems to suggest that the Koran is for the masses, whereas the book of nature, written by God, is the real deal. Similar ideas were floated in Christianity in the 13th and later in the 17th centuries.  This sort of stuff usually runs into a lot of resistance from religious leaders.  We won't read most of it, but I want you to get a taste. 


            Aside: Here is a quote from a literary translation of Genesis: “…and wetness would well from the earth to water all the surface of the soil, then the Lord God fashioned the human, humus from the soil, and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the human became a living creature.”  It is interesting to compare this with the creation of Hayy.


Read over these notes on AverroĎs just to refresh your memory on his ideas.


Look over the whole web site for some additional materials that may help you with this reading.


Read the following.  A very recent discovery.  Secret history. 

Science and Research at any cost and done in secret. 

Science has become very powerful and being a scientist requires a good dose of ethics and morality, and a gigantic dose of perspective and humility.  Science done in secret has some pretty glaring problems.  In this example, the scientists conducting this research had to have known what they were doing.  My advice: be very wary of research that is compartmentalized and secret.

“Although these events occurred more than 64 years ago, we are outraged that such reprehensible research could have occurred under the guise of public health,” the secretaries [Hillary Clinton and Kathleen Sebelius] said in a statement. “We deeply regret that it happened, and we apologize to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices.”

Here is the actual article: McNeil-U.S. Apologizes for Syphilis Tests in Guatemala- NYTimes 10/1/10

With friends like US...

Look up "Tuskegee AND syphilis" if you are interested in secret medical tests on people who are apparently considered to be "sub-human."

This isn't conspiracy theory, this is well documented stuff.  [But when this sort of stuff comes to light, it makes conspiracy theories seem much less far fetched.


Short Essay:


You could...... draw and write: You could draw up (comic book style) both versions of the creation of Hayy or the creations of Hayy compared with the creation of humans in Greek mythology (Promethius) or the Biblical version or some other version that you might be familiar with.  ....or .... you could write about how Hayy uses nature to discover various natural philosophical stuff, or God and compare that with modern ideas... or... Go nuts and do something fun.  Remember, that even picture oriented "essays" need to have some commentary and/or analysis.  If you prefer, you could just write and essay.  If you prefer you could make a movie. 


Long Essay:  Just make it longer and refer to some other "Long Essay" extra material that I have posted throughout the semester. Week 5 has a good selection that would probably be useful for this general topic.  I suggest the Four Humors or the Averroes or Avicenna In Our Time episodes.  If you do some sort of comic book, you should have extensive smarty-pants commentary to go with it to make this a viable Long Essay.




:::::Words:Daniel's Papers and Notes:Galen to Mondino :Heart Pictures:Galenic_Heart_diagram.jpg

This is roughly the physiology that Hayy discovers.

This is a synthesis of a few physiological theories, but it reflects the general ideas presented in the Ibn Tufail reading. 

Follow the numbered sequence, 1-5, and the arrows.  This is not a circulatory system, this is a one way system,

in one end and out the other.


:::::Ibn Tufayl Project:Hayy-cosmos-diagram.jpg

This is roughly the cosmic layout that Hayy experiences. 

This is an image from Christendom, but it differs very little (if at all) from the some of the ideas floating around medieval Islamic lands.

Numerous Christian, Jewish, and Muslim philosophers were attracted to NeoPlatonic emanation theory, the theory that Hayy appears to be discovering.




Khalidi, Muhammad Ali. Medieval Islamic Philosophical Writings.  Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.


Optional News, but of interest:


:::HoST:HoST Fall 07 Web:Ass12 Darwin:Class materials:060810-evolution_big.jpg

"Human Beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals." 

Survey said...  True, False, or Unsure?

From Owen's article, below.


Read this story from the NY Times: Chang: Creationism, Minus a Young Earth, Emerges in the Islamic World from Nov. 2, 2009.


Now read this: Owen-Evolution Less Accepted in U.S.  Than Other Western Countries, Study Finds.htm



Computers are starting to think.... sort of....

Lohr-Aiming to Learn as We Do, a Machine Teaches Itself -  NYTimes 10/4/10

Who's philosophy does this type of thinking suggest?



Overbye-Physics Nobel Honors Work on Ultra-Thin Carbon-NYTimes 10/5/10

"[A] sheet of [graphene] stretched over a coffee cup could support the weight of a truck bearing down on a pencil point."



Back to HoST Fall 2010 Syllabus


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Added 10/18/2010

Exam notes:


-Know the Ibn Tufayl reading. 

-Look over the Averroes link on this page

-Review the Galenic heart (image on this page)

Here is a PDF of some of this stuff: HayyPP-HoSTF2010-Review-3.3MB.pdf