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Catarina Belo

  • Position: Associate Professor
  • Department: Department of Philosophy
  • Email: [email protected]
Brief Biography

Catarina Belo is an associate professor of philosophy at The American University in Cairo (AUC). After working as a research fellow on Islamic philosophy in medieval Hebrew manuscripts at the Martin-Buber-Institut für Judaistik, University of Cologne, Germany, Belo joined the Department of Philosophy at AUC in February 2006. 

She is a specialist in classical Islamic philosophy. Other interests include classical Islamic theology (kalām) and medieval Christian philosophy, focusing on the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. She has also conducted research on German Idealism, in particular, Hegel's philosophy. In addition, she has studied the intersection between philosophy and religion in the Middle Ages and Hegel's works. She has recently written on the concept of ‘spirit’ in philosophy and virtue ethics.

Belo authored several books and articles on Islamic philosophy and Hegel. She has recently completed a translation of al-Ghazālī's The Incoherence of the Philosophers into Portuguese and several articles on medieval philosophy for international journals and anthologies. Her translations from Arabic into Portuguese have received an Achievement Award at the 2019 Sheikh Hamad Award for Translation. Furthermore, Belo was interviewed by Richard Marshall to discuss Can Philosophy and Religion be Harmonised?


  • Chance and Determinism in Avicenna and Averroes, Leiden: Brill, 2007
  • O essencial sobre Averróis, Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda, 2007
  • Existence, Cause, Essence. Essays in Islamic Philosophy and Theology, Lisbon: Centre for Philosophy of the University of Lisbon, 2012
  • Averroes and Hegel on Philosophy and Religion, Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, 2013, reprinted by Routledge in 2016
  • Spirit in Philosophy: A Metaphysical Inquiry, Stuttgart, WiSa, 2019
  • Ethics and Virtue, Stuttgart, WiSa, 2023.

Translated Books

  • Averróis, Discurso decisivo sobre a harmonia entre a religião e a filosofia, translation from the Arabic into Portuguese with introduction and notes by Catarina Belo, Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda, 2006
  • A Teologia de Aristóteles by the Pseudo-Aristotle, translated from the Arabic with introduction and notes by Catarina Belo, Volume XIII, Tome II of The Complete Works of Aristotle series in Portuguese, edited by António Pedro Mesquita, Lisbon: Centre for Philosophy of the University of Lisbon and Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda, 2010
  • AlfarabiA cidade virtuosa, translation from the Arabic into Portuguese with an introduction, notes and a glossary by Catarina Belo, Lisbon, The Gulbenkian Foundation, 2018
  • Al-Ghazali, A Incoerência dos Filósofos, translation from Arabic into Portuguese with an introduction, notes and a glossary by Catarina Belo, Lisbon, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 2023.

Book Chapters

  • Ibn Sīnā on Chance in the Physics of al-Shifā, in Interpreting Avicenna: Science and Philosophy in Medieval Islam, Proceedings of the Second Conference of the Avicenna Study Group, ed. by J. McGinnis with the assistance of D. Reisman, Leiden/Boston, Brill, 2004, pp. 25-41.
  • ‘Deus na filosofia e na teologia islâmicas: a resposta de Averróis a al-Ghazzālī’, in Maria Leonor L. O. Xavier (ed.), A Questão de Deus na História da Filosofia, vol. I, Sintra, Zéfiro/Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia/Centro de Filosofia da Universidade de Lisboa, 2008, pp. 229-237. 
  • ‘Some Notes on Averroes’ Appraisal of non-Islamic Religions, with a Focus on Christianity and Judaism’, in Universality of Reason, Plurality of Philosophies in the Middles Ages (Proceedings of the 12th SIEPM Congress, Palermo, 17-22 September 2007), edited by Alessandro Musco, Rosanna Gambino - Luciana Pepi - Patrizia Spallino - Maria Vassallo, indices by Patrizia Spallino, vol. III, Palermo, Officina di Studi Medievali, 2012, pp. 1-9.
  • ‘Models of Causality in Islamic Philosophy’, in La périodisation en histoire des sciences et de la philosophie, la fin d'un mythe, edited by Hassan Tahiri, College Publications, 2013, pp. 15-24.
  • ‘Averroes (d. 1198), The Decisive Treatise’, in the Oxford Handbook of Islamic Philosophy, edited by Khaled El-Rouayheb and Sabine Schmitdke, Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. 278-295.
  • ‘Theories of Prophecy and the Faculties of the Soul in Medieval Islamic Philosophy’ in José Meirinhos – Celia López Alcalde – João Rebalde (eds.), Secrets and Discovery in the Middle Ages. Proceedings of the 5th European Congress of the Fédération Internationale des Instituts d’Études Médiévales (Porto, 25th to 29th June 2013), (col. Textes et études du Moyen Âge, 90) Barcelona – Roma: Fédération Internationale des Instituts d’Études Médiévales, 2017, pp. 3-13.
  •  ‘Alfarabi’s Political Theology in The Virtuous City’ in Islamic Political Theology (Faith and Politics: Political Theology in a New Key, Series Editor: Fred Dallmayr, University of Notre Dame) edited by Massimo Campanini, Marco Di Donato, Lanham, Lexington Books, 2021, pp. 11-25
  • ‘Averroes on Family and Property in the Commentary on Plato’s “Republic”’ in Plato’s Republic in the Islamic Context: New Perspectives on Averroes’s Commentary, edited by Alexander Orwin, Rochester Studies in Medieval Political Thought, Rochester, University of Rochester Press, 2022, pp. 113-132.       


  •  Averroes on God’s Knowledge of Particulars, Journal of Islamic Studies, Oxford, 17:2, 2006, pp. 177-199
  • Ibn Rushd on God’s Decree and Determination (al-qaḍā’ wa-l-qadar), Al-Qantara, Madrid, volume XXVII, fasc.2, July-December 2006, pp. 245-264
  • Mu‘tazilites, Al-Ash‘arī, and Maimonides on Divine Attributes, Veritas, Porto Alegre (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil), vol. 52, no. 3, September 2007, pp. 117-131
  • Predestination and human Responsibility in medieval Islam: some aspects of a classical Problem, in Didaskalia, Theology journal of the Catholic University of Lisbon, XXXVIII, I, 2008, pp. 139-151
  • Some Considerations on Averroes’ Views regarding Women and their Role in Society, Journal of Islamic Studies, Oxford, 20:1, 2009, pp. 1-20
  • Essence and Existence in Avicenna and Averroesal-Qantara, Madrid, volume XXX, 2 (June-December), 2009, pp. 403-426
  • The concept of ‘nature’ in Aristotle, Avicenna and Averroes, Kriterion (Department of Philosophy of Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil), vol. LVI, no. 131, January to June 2015, pp. 45-56
  • Averroes’ Rationalism and the European Enlightenment, Falsafa – Islamic Philosophy of Religion Yearbook - Volume 3 – Religion and Enlightenment (2020), Münster, pp. 13-31
  • Free Will and Determinism in Classical Islamic Philosophy: Al-Farabi, Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd, Policy Paper 6, for A Common Horizon for Humanity and the Planet, hosted by the University of Cappadocia, 15 February 2022
  • Traslating al-Ghazālī into Portuguese, in MERIDIAN: The Newsletter of the Global Studies Center No. 3, Gulf University for Science and Technology, Kuwait, (September 2022)
  • Averroes and the Legacy of Dialogue, in Culture and Dialogue 10 (2022), pp. 195-201
  • DPhil, Oriental Studies, University of Oxford, 2004
  • BA, Arabic and Islamic Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 2000
  • BA, Philosophy, University of Lisbon, 1997
  • Medieval philosophy
  • Islamic theology
  • The Aristotelian tradition in the Middle Ages