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Alpina Tommaso

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Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici - Sez. di Filosofia

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01/11/2023 – present: Tenure-track Assistant Professor (Rtd-b), Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, University of Pavia / Research Fellow, Farouk Jabre Center, American University of Beirut 



14/02/2023 – 14/02/2034: Italian Scientific Qualification (Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale) to Associate Professor in History of Philosophy (11/C5 – ssd M-FIL/08)



01/10/2018 – 30/09/2023: Research Associate (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter), MUSAPh, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Munchen

01/11/2016 – 30/09/2018: Postdoctoral Fellow (Assegnista di Ricerca), Classe di Lettere e Filosofia (Department of Humanities), Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa

* * *
01/01 – 30/04/2024: Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study, School of Historical Studies, Princeton (declined)



2016: PhD in Philosophy (award date: 03/11/2016, summa cum laude), Classe di Lettere e Filosofia (Department of Humanities), Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa

2011: Diploma di Licenza in Philosophy (High-level university qualification) (summa cum laude), Classe di lettere e filosofia (Department of Humanities), Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa

2010: MA in Philosophy (summa cum laude), Faculty of Philosophy, University of Pisa

2005: BA in Philosophy (summa cum laude), Faculty of Philosophy, University of Pisa



Italian (native speaker)
English (fluent)
French (fluent)
German (good)
Classical Arabic (excellent reading proficiency)
Ancient Greek (excellent reading proficiency)
Latin (excellent reading proficiency)
Persian (basic reading proficiency)


13/02/2023: Marie Sklodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Global Fellowship (Project title: The Arabic Roots of European Biology, acronym: AREB, call HORIZON-MSCA-2022-PF-01, project n. 101109485, duration: 3 years) - see below under the heading "Progetti di ricerca"

03/05/2020: Fritz Thyssen Stiftung Conference Grant (for the organisation of the International Conference “Medieval Arabic and Latin Conceptions of Spirit: Between Philosophy, Theology, and Medicine”)

11/2017: La Colombaria Award, Accademia Toscana di Scienze e Lettere ‘La Colombaria’, Florence (Best PhD thesis in the section of Historical and Philosophical Sciences defended in the academic year 2016-2017)

01/09/2015 – 31/12/2016: Giovani Ricercatori Grant, Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa (Research project: “Psychology and Medicine between Arabic and Latin: Internal Senses and Cardiology in a Key Work of the Arabic-Latin Translation Movement of the 12th century”)

07/2011: Antonella Musu Award (Best MA Thesis in Philosophy), University of Pisa



09/2023 - present: Member of the Société Internationale pour l'Étude de la Philosophie Médiévale (S.I.E.P.M.)
Member of the Società Italiana per lo Studio del Pensiero Medievale (S.I.S.P.M.)

09/2019 – present: Member of the Board of Officers of the Société Internationale d’Histoire des Sciences et de la Philosophie Arabes et Islamiques (S.I.H.S.P.A.I.)

02/2013 – present: Member of the International Network Medieval Philosophy in the UK


04/2021 – present: Member of the Editorial Board of Documenti e studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale (Class A journal)

Referee: Archiv fur Geschichte der Philosophie; Brill (Islamic Philosophy, Theology and Science: Texts and Studies series); British Journal for the History of Philosophy; Documenti e studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale; Filologia mediolatina, Journal of the American Philosophical Association; Journal of the History of Philosophy; Manuscrito: Revista Internacional de Filosofia; Nazariyat: Journal for the History of Islamic Philosophy and Sciences; Rinascimento: Rivista dell’Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento; Sophia: International Journal of Philosophy and Traditions

Evaluator: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG); Art and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)



25/03 – 26/03/2022: International Conference Medieval Arabic and Latin Conceptions of Spirit: Between Philosophy, Theology, and Medicine (with B. Somma), LMU – Munich

27/06 – 29/06/2018: International Conference Making the Impossible Possible: On the Methodology for Editing Medieval Works with Massive Manuscript Tradition (with A. Bertolacci), SNS – Pisa/IMT – Lucca



01/10/2018 - 30/09/2023: MUSAPh, LMU Munich

01/05/2014 – 31/07/2014: École Normale Supérieure, Rue d’Ulm (Paris), PhD Visiting Student

01/10/2013 – 30/04/2014: École Normale Supérieure, Lyon, PhD Visiting Student

07/01/2013 – 31/07/2013: University of Cambridge, St. John’s College, PhD Visiting Student

01/09/2012 – 30/12/2012: University of Jordan, Amman, 4-month intensive Arabic language programme



‘Averroes With or Against Avicenna? The Case of Medical Theory’, Averroism. History, Developments and Implications of a Cross-cultural Tradition (orgs. L. Bianchi, P. Porro, F. Retucci, A. Tabarroni), University of Turin, Turin, 10-12 January 2024

‘Deconstructing the Myth of Avicenna’s Eastern Philosophy: Some Considerations on the Role of the Active Intellect’, Avicenna and Oriental Philosophy (org. A. S. Daghighi), Iranian Institute of Philosophy (IRIP) – Tehran, 17 September 2023

‘None of these things follows the need of nature and the necessity of matter: Avicenna’s (New) Approach to the Study of Plants’, Plants and Philosophy: From Ancient Wisdom to Today’s Science (org. F. Baldassarri), Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, 30-31 May 2023

‘A Soul With Faculties or Faculties Without a Soul ? A Theoretical Crux in Avicenna’s Psychology’, Avicenne et les Intraduisibles: Pour un Lexique Philosophico-médical de la théorie de l’âme (orgs. M. Sebti, M. Alinejad-Zanjani), École Normale Supérieure, Paris 25-27 May 2023,

‘Avicenna’s Biology: Dynamics of Selection, Appropriation, and Refutation’, New Issues in Natural Philosophy from Antiquity to Middle Ages (orgs. G. Nastasi, G. Trovato), University of Pisa – Pisa, 15-16 December 2022

‘Healing the Soul by Transforming the Body: Melancholy in Avicenna’s Adwiya qalbiyya (De viribus cordis)’, Medicine and Philosophy 4: Maladies of the Soul (orgs. L. Grijac, V. Ile, M. Loconsole, E. Miteva, M. Panarelli), Cluj-Napoca, 15-16 November 2022

‘Between Emanation and Perfect Disposition: Avicenna on Ruh’, Medieval Arabic and Latin Conceptions of Spirit: Between Philosophy, Theology, and Medicine (orgs.: T.Alpina, B.Somma), LMU – Munich, 25-26 March 2022

‘Staying Alive: the Place of Plants in Avicenna’s Thought’, Plants in Early Modern Knowledge (and Before): History, Philosophy, and Medicine – Winter 2021-2022 (org.: Fabrizio Baldassarri), Università Ca' Foscari – Venezia, 2 December 2021

‘Has Avicenna ever defined the soul? Witnesses on the stand’, LOGOS+ Research Colloquium on Philosophy between Maghreb and Middle East (orgs.: N. Germann, M. Najafi), Freiburg-Luzern, 26 November 2021

‘Come pensare se stessi: Avicenna e l’uomo volante’ (guest lecture, invited by M. Benedetto), Università degli Studi di Bari, 3 November 2021

‘Avicenna on Colours: Elements of His Account of Vision’, Le statut ontologique des couleurs en philosophie ancienne et médiévale/The Ontological Status of Colours in Ancient, Arabic, and Latin Philosophy (orgs.: V. Decaix, K. Ierodiakonou), Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, 21-22 October 2021

‘Common to Body and Soul: Sleep as an Affection of the Animal Body’, Le sommeil. Théories, représentations et pratiques (Moyen Age et Epoque moderne). Colloque International (orgs.: B. Andenmatten, K. Crousaz, A. Paravicini Bagliani), Université de Lausanne, 20-22 October 2021

‘Contemplating the Contemplator: Human Soul as the Object and the Subject of Contemplation’, Intellect and Contemplation in Ancient Greek and Medieval Islamic Philosophy (orgs.: Rotraud Hansberger and Mareike Hauer), Munich School of Ancient Philosophy (MUSAPh) – LMU, Munich, 6–7 March 2020 (postponed to 1-2 October 2021 due to Covid19)

‘Studying the Living Being: Different Approaches to the Soul in the Medieval Arabic Tradition’, The Methods of Philosophy in its Different Disciplines. A Comparative View on Syro-Arabic and Latin Philosophy (6.-13th cent.)/Die Methodik der Philosophie in ihren verschiedenen Disziplinen. Ein vergleichender Blick auf die syrisch-arabische und die lateinische Philosophie (6.-13. Jhdt.) (org. M. Perkams), Friedrich-Schiller-Universitat Jena, Jena 23-25 September 2020 (postponed to 29 September – 1 October 2021 due to Covid19)

‘Avicenna’s Science of the Soul between Tradition and Innovation’, International ‎Conference of Philosophical Anthropology in ‎Ibn Sina (Avicenna), organised by the Iranian Research Institute of Philosophy (IRIP), Tehran, 23 August 2021 (videoconference due to Covid19)

‘One Summa within Another? The case of the Hayawan between the Qanun and the Shifa'’, Surveying the summae: Comparisons and Contrasts among Avicenna’s Eight Main Works. Avicenna Study Group – Third International Meeting (org. A. Lammer), Universitat Trier, Trier, 22 June 2021 (videoconference due to Covid19)

‘A Plant in Itself, a Medicament for Us: Temperament Interactions in Avicenna’s Botany’, Complexio. Across Times and Disciplines (orgs.: P. Bakker, C. Beneduce), Radboud University, Nijmegen, 25-26 February 2021 (videoconference due to Covid19)

‘Are plants and animals a matter of complexion? Preliminary remarks on botany and zoology in Avicenna’, Philosophie & médecine dans l’Islam classique (orgs. C. Cerami, J. Chandelier), CNRS – Sphere (Sciences, Philosophie, Histoire – UMR 7219), Université Paris 1 – Panthéon Sorbonne, Université Paris 7 Diderot, Paris, 18 February 2021 (videoconference due to Covid19)

‘ “…secundum quod habet comparationem ad materiam et ad motum”: How physical is Avicenna’s investigation of the soul?’, Medieval Gatherings. Meetings and discussions on medieval philosophy and beyond (org. N. Polloni), Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin, Berlin, 6 December 2019

‘When Medicine rises to the Level of Philosophy. The Case of Avicenna’s Adwiya Qalbiyya’ – Keynote Speaker, 2nd International Conference on Medical History in Iran and Islam (orgs. M. Farhadi, N. Habibi, A. Zargaran, M. H. Ayati, H. Arezaei), Iran Knowledge and Research Development Institute – Tehran University of Medical Science/School of Persian Medicine, Tehran, 26-29 November 2019

‘“Dogs fear the mud, the wooden stick, and other things”. Avicenna on Animals’ Emotions’, 10th international colloquium of the Société Internationale d’Histoire des Sciences et de la Philosophie Arabes et Islamiques (S. I. H. S. P. A. I.) Science, philosophy and kalam in Islamic civilisation: the old and the new (orgs.: A. Hasnaoui, A. Straface), Naples, 9-11 September 2019

‘Theoretical Principles vs. Medical Experiments. The Role and Use of Experience in Avicenna’s Hayawan’, Premodern Experience of the Natural World in Translation (orgs.: M. Avxentevskaya, K. Krause, D. Weil), Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, 26-27 June 2019

‘Veins, Semen, and Heart. Avicenna’s Animals between the First Teacher and the Most Excellent Physician’, Translating Ibn Rushd into Hebrew. Jewish Averroism and its impact on the development of philosophical and scientific Hebrew language in the later Middle Ages, 3rd International Peshat Conference, University of Hamburg, 12-14 February 2019

‘Memory at the Crossroads between Psychology and Medicine in Avicenna’, La mémoire dans la philosophie arabe (org.: Véronique Decaix, in the framework of the project ‘MEMORIA – Les théories antiques et médiévales de la mémoire’), University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, 6 October 2018

‘PhiBor’s Data Management’ (with Alessia Astesiano), Making the Impossible Possible. On the Methodology for Editing Medieval Works with Massive Manuscript Tradition. International Conference (orgs.: T. Alpina, A. Bertolacci), Scuola Normale Superiore–Pisa/School for Advanced Studies IMT–Lucca, 27-29 Jun. 2018

‘Avicenna’s Treatment of Nutrition in Psychology and Medicine: Intersection or Subalternation?’, Nutrition and Nutritive Soul in Aristotle and Aristotelianism (orgs.: R. Lo Presti, G. Korobili), Faculty of Philosophy II, Institute of Classical Philology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, 22-24 March 2017

‘Psychologia generalis vs psychologia specialis in Avicenna’s K. al-Nafs’, ‘The Place of Intellect in Aristotelian Natural Philosophy. Arabic, Latin, and Hebrew Perspectives (orgs.: D. Wirmer, E. Miteva), Universitat zu Koln, Koln 15-16 February 2016

Temi di ricerca

History of Philosophy in the Islamic World, Medieval Philosophy, History and Philosophy of Medicine

Progetti di ricerca

01/11/2023 - 31/10/2026: Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Postdoctoral Global Fellowship (call: HORIZON-MSCA-2022-PF-01)

Project title: The Arabic Roots of European Biology
Acronym: AREB
Project number: 101109485
Duration: 3 years
Outgoing phase: American University of Beirut
Return phase: University of Pavia
Website: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/101109485


01/09/2015 – 31/12/2016: Giovani Ricercatori Grant, Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa

Research project: “Psychology and Medicine between Arabic and Latin: Internal Senses and Cardiology in a Key Work of the Arabic-Latin Translation Movement of the 12th century”




Subject, Definition, Activity: Framing Avicenna’s Science of the Soul, Scientia Graeco-Arabica series 28, De Gruyter, Berlin-Boston 2021 (Turkish translation, expected 2023)



(with A. Bertolacci), Documenti e studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale, 28, 2017 (special issue: The Latin Translations of the Cure)



“Between Matter and Form: Complexion as a Keystone of Avicenna’s Scientific Project”, Early Science and Medicine, 28, 2023, 398-428

“Exercising Impartiality to Favor Aristotle: Avicenna and ‘the accomplished anatomists’ ”, Arabic Sciences and Philosophy, 32.2, 2022, 137-178

“The Soul of, the Soul in Itself, and the Flying Man Experiment”, Arabic Sciences and Philosophy, 28.2, 2018, 187-224

“Al-Juzjani's Insertion of On Cardiac Remedies in Avicenna’s Book of the Soul: the Latin Translation as a Clue to his Editorial Activity on the Book of the Cure?”, Documenti e studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale, 28, 2017, 365-400

“Intellectual Knowledge, Active Intellect, and Intellectual Memory in Avicenna’s Kitab al-Nafs and Its Aristotelian Background”, Documenti e studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale, 25, 2014, 131-183



“Translating Method: Inference from Behavior to Anatomy in Avicenna’s Zoology”, in K. Krause, M. Auxent, D. Weil eds., Premodern Experience of the Natural World in Translation, Routledge, London-New York 2022, 136-152

“Retaining, Remembering, Recollecting: Avicenna’s Account of Memory and Its Sources”, in V. Decaix, C. Thomsen Thörnqvist eds., Memory and Recollection in the Aristotelian Tradition: Essays on the Reception of Aristotle’s De memoria et reminiscentia, Studia Artistarum 47, Brepols Publishers, 2021, 67-92

“Is the Heaven an Animal? Avicenna’s Celestial Psychology between Cosmology and Biology”, in R. Salles ed., Biology and Cosmology in Ancient Philosophy: from Thales to Avicenna, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2021, 261-278

“Is Nutrition a Sufficient Condition for Life? Avicenna’s Position between Natural Philosophy and Medicine”, in R. Lo Presti, G. Korobili eds., Nutrition and Nutritive Soul in Aristotle and Aristotelianism, De Gruyter – Topics in Ancient Philosophy, Berlin-Boston 2020, 221-258



“Knowing the Soul from Knowing Oneself. A Reading of the Prologue to Avicenna’s Kitab al-Nafs (Book of the Soul)", Atti e Memorie dell’Accademia Toscana di Scienze e Lettere ‘La Colombaria’, 82, 2018, 443-458



“Daniel De Smet, Meryem Sebti, Noétique et théorie de la connaissance dans la philosophie arabe du IXe au XIIe siècle. Des traductions gréco-arabes aux disciples d’Avicenne, Paris, Vrin, 2019”, Archives de philosophie, 2022, 232-235

“Aileen Das, Galen and the Arabic Reception of Plato’s Timaeus, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2020”, Mind, 2022

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