Publication Update

10 February 2013

My article, “Cognitive constraints on theories and category structure in the twelfth-century Arabic agricultural manual of al-Tighnari,” has now been published.

Luckyn-Malone, Phoebe (2013). “Cognitive constraints on theories and category structure in the twelfth-century Arabic agricultural manual of al-Tighnari.” In: Mediterráneos: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Cultures of the Mediterranean Sea, edited by Sergio Carro Martín, Arturo Echavarren, Esther Fernández Medina, Daniel Riaño Rufilanchas, Katja Šmid, Jesús Téllez Rubio and David Torollo Sánchez, 429–42. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

You can see a preview on Google Books.

For more information about the book Mediterráneos, visit the publisher’s page.

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Luckyn-Malone, Phoebe. “Cognitive constraints on theories and category structure in the twelfth-century Arabic agricultural manual of al-Tignari.” Chapter accepted for publication in the proceedings of the Mediterráneos Conference which was held at the CCHS-CSIC in Madrid, December 13-15, 2010.


**Pre-publication draft—subject to further editorial revision**

Abstract This study investigates the role of cognitive bias in the development of scienti fic knowledge by examining the representation of natural phenomena in the Andalusi agricultural manual of al-Tignari (fl. 480/1087). The article argues that psychological essentialism was a fundamental constraint on Tignari’s conceptualization of natural phenomena and on how he formulated botanical theories. The findings of this study suggest that psychological essentialism is a crucial factor in theory development and conceptual change in the study of living organisms.

Resumen Este estudio investiga el papel de los sesgos cognitivos en el desarrollo del conocimiento científico mediante el análisis de las representaciónes de fenómenos naturales en la obra agronómica andalusí de al-Tignari (fl. 480/1087). El artículo argumenta que el esencialismo psicológico constriñó de manera fundamental la conceptualización de fenómenos naturales de al-Tignari y su formulación de teorías botánicas. Los resultados de este estudio sugieren que el esencialismo psicológico es un factor crucial en el desarrollo de teorías y en el cambio conceptual en el estudio de los organismos vivos.

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Studies on the Agronomy of Al-Andalus

25 June 2010

An important survey of research on Andalusi agricultural texts is now available online through the website of the Revue des mondes musulmans et de la Méditerranée. Agricultural Authors Discussed The article surveys the manuscripts, printed editions and translations of works by eight Andalusi agricultural writers: Ibn Abi ‘l-Jawad Ibn Wafid Ibn Hajjaj Ibn Bassal Abu ‘l-Khayr [...]

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New Report on the Impact of Arts and Humanities Research at Cambridge

11 June 2010

A new report has assessed how arts and humanities research at Cambridge benefits society. RAND Europe, an independent research institute, carried out the study for the University of Cambridge and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). What were the Findings? These are the central findings of the study as reported in the summary: ‘Arts [...]

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New Publication: Kitab Bayan al-Farq

13 April 2010

A new edition of a text tentatively connected with the Sufi Abu ‘l-Husayn al-Nuri is now available online. This edition of the Bayan al-Farq bayn al-Sadr wa’l-Qalb wa’l-Fu’ad wa’l-Lubb is edited by Josef Meri and published by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre. The work is attributed to al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi. Nicholas Heer published the first [...]

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Sufism Resources: Abu ‘l-Husayn al-Nuri

21 February 2010

There’s a new Sufism page on my website where I’ve listed resources on Abu ‘l-Husayn al-Nuri (d. 295/907). Nuri was a leading figure in the Sufi community of Baghdad that centred around Abu ‘l-Qasim al-Junayd (d. 298/910)  and the two men were life-long friends. Nuri was reknowned for his eloquence and sincerity of belief and practice. But sometimes [...]

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Locating Arabic Agricultural Manuscripts

14 February 2010

For anyone interested in the study of agriculture in the medieval Islamic world, a key task is tracking down manuscripts. I’ve now gathered a fair number of publications listing these manuscripts, so I thought I’d help others working on this topic by providing a preliminary list here. I will add more references as I come across [...]

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Giving Better Presentations

20 January 2010

On Sunday I went along to Presentation Camp London where I spent the day learning about how to improve my presentation skills. Two particularly useful talks were given by Mike K Smith and Chris Atherton. Giving Technical Presentations When presenting a complex topic, such as your academic research, Mike Smith emphasized the importance of motivation. [...]

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‘Impact’ and the new Research Assessment Exercise

16 December 2009

Since late September, a topic that has gripped British university departments is the latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) proposal, now renamed the Research Excellence Framework. The REF is controversial because, in addition to the usual evidence required for the RAE (publications, research environment and esteem), a further category has been introduced, that of ‘impact’.

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Escuela de Estudios Árabes, Granada

17 April 2009

Information for Visiting Researchers For the past ten days I have been working in the library at this CSIC research institute. The EEA occupies a 14th century Morisco complex, the Casas del Chapiz, so it feels a bit like a museum rather than a research centre. The Library The library consists of one small reading [...]

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