Islam and Philosophy: Lessons from an Encounter

Diogenes 51 (2):123-128 (2004)
This contribution is a presentation of the encounter between Greek philosophy and Islam and of the way in which philosophical thought was consequently appropriated by the Muslim world. What made this encounter possible was the existence, within the Muslim world, of a spirit of openness able to overcome the fear of a ‘pagan’ thought: this spirit helped develop the position that Greek philosophy, qua wisdom, could not be ‘foreign’ to the universe of the Koran. The Arabic language, as it became a philosophical language, bears traces of such an appropriation. Today, in Africa, the debate on philosophy could usefully take into account the tradition of Islamic philosophy which is also African to some extent and which would help enlighten, in particular, the question of transforming African tongues into philosophical languages
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