This book is an introduction to debates in philosophy within the medievalIslamic world. It discusses a number of themes which were controversial within the philosophical community of that period: the creation of the world out of nothing, immortality, resurrection, the nature of ethics, and the relationship between natural and religious law. The author provides an account of the arguments of Farabi, Avicenna, Ghazali, Averroes and Maimonides on these and related topics. His argument takes into account the significance (...) of the conflict between faith and reason, religion and philosophy. The book sets out to show how interesting these philosophical debates are, and criticizes the view that these arguments are of no more than historical interest. (shrink)
The central debate of natural theology among medieval Muslims and Jews concerned whether or not the world was eternal. Opinions divided sharply on this issue because the outcome bore directly on God's relationship with the world: eternity implies a deity bereft of will, while a world with a beginning leads to the contrasting picture of a deity possessed of will. In this exhaustive study of medievalIslamic and Jewish arguments for eternity, creation, and the existence of God, (...) Herbert Davidson provides a systematic classification of the proofs, analyzes and explains them, and traces their sources in Greek philosophy. Throughout the study, Davidson tries to take into account every argument of a philosophical character, disregarding only those arguments that rest entirely on religious faith or which fall below a minimal level of plausibility. (shrink)
The Islamic philosophical tradition was the privileged site for the study and continuation of the Classical philosophical tradition in the Middle Ages. An initial chapter on the history of Islamic philosophy sets the stage for sixteen articles on issues across the Islamic, Jewish and Christian traditions. The goal is to see the Islamic tradition in its own richness and complexity as the context of much Jewish intellectual work. Taken together, these two traditions provide the wider context (...) to which Latin Christian intellectuals would turn. The articles are grouped under six topics relevant both to the period and to current philosophical interest: the Islamic philosophical context, the nature of philosophy in the Middle Ages, Neoplatonism and the activity of the soul, creation, virtue, and the Latin reception. Since the nineteenth century Islamic and Jewish philosophy have been neglected in the standard histories of medieval philosophy. The time is right to begin to write a more balanced history of medieval philosophy. In order to begin to write this history, this book focuses on the Islamic, Jewish, and Christian use of - and reaction to - Classical philosophy during the Middle Ages. (shrink)
Philosophy in the Islamic world emerged in the ninth century and continued to flourish into the fourteenth century. It was strongly influenced by Greek thought, but Islamic philosophers also developed an original philosophical culture of their own, which had a considerable impact on the subsequent course of Western philosophy. This volume offers new translations of philosophical writings by Farabi, Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Ghazali, Ibn Tufayl, and Ibn Rushd (Averroes). All of the texts presented here were very influential and (...) invite comparison with later works in the Western tradition. They focus on metaphysics and epistemology but also contribute to broader debates concerning the conception of God, the nature of religion, the place of humanity in the universe, and the limits of human reason. A historical and philosophical introduction sets the writings in context and traces their preoccupations and their achievement. (shrink)
This essay focuses on three of Islam's best-known philosophers: Farabi, Avicenna, and Averroes. It sets forth and compares their ethical teaching on the following basic issues: (1) the relation of philosophy to religion, (2) the communal basis of ethics and the comcomitant role of statecraft, and (3) some specific charac- teristics of their ethical teaching. Throughout the essay the close connection of medievalIslamic with classical Greek philosophy is noted.
Islamic philosophy is a unique and fascinating form of thought, and particular interest lies in its classical (Greek-influenced) period, when many of the ideas of Greek philosophy were used to explore the issues and theoretical problems which arise in trying to understand the Qur'an and Islamic practice. In this revised and expanded edition of his classic introductory work, Oliver Leaman examines the distinctive features of Classical Islamic philosophy and offers detailed accounts of major individual thinkers. In contrast (...) to many previous studies that have treated this subject as only of historical interest, he offers analysis of the key arguments within Islamic philosophy so that the reader can engage with them and assess their strengths and weaknesses. His book will interest a wide range of readers in philosophy, religious studies and Islamic studies. (shrink)
This collection of essays covers the classical heritage and Islamic culture, classical Arabic science and philosophy, and Muslim religious sciences, showing continuation of Greek and Persian thought as well as original Muslim contributions ...
From the ninth to the fifteenth centuries Jewish thinkers living in Islamic and Christian lands philosophized about Judaism. Influenced first by Islamic theological speculation and the great philosophers of classical antiquity, and then in the late medieval period by Christian Scholasticism, Jewish philosophers and scientists reflected on the nature of language about God, the scope and limits of human understanding, the eternity or createdness of the world, prophecy and divine providence, the possibility of human freedom, and the (...) relationship between divine and human law. Though many viewed philosophy as a dangerous threat, others incorporated it into their understanding of what it is to be a Jew. This Companion presents all the major Jewish thinkers of the period, the philosophical and non-philosophical contexts of their thought, and the interactions between Jewish and non-Jewish philosophers. It is a comprehensive introduction to a vital period of Jewish intellectual history. (shrink)
This work demonstrates how falsafah (which linguistically refers to a group of commentaries by Muslim scholars associated with their readings of "The Corpus Aristotelicum") in Iran has been always closely linked with religion. It demonstrates that the blending of the new natural theology with Iranian culture created an intellectual climate that made Iran the center of falsafah in the Medieval world. The author begins this book by exploring the analytical arguments and methodologies presented as the subject of the first-philosophy (...) (metaphysics) in the works of Aristotle (in particular "The Nicomachean Ethics" and "Rhetoric"). Then, he tells the tale of the Muslims' progression as they came to own and expand upon Aristotle's arguments and methodologies as a measure of their own sense of spirituality. Last, Sadri surveys the implications of that sense of spirituality as it is amalgamated within the Iranian culture and today's Islamic Republic of Iran. The author's aim is to present a different perspective of falsafah (as it is received by Muslims and assimilated within Iranian culture), while maintaining a sense that captures the texture of everyday life-experiences in today's Islamic Republic of Iran. This work is thus about (contemporary) Iranian falsafah and how it remains faithful to its tradition (as falsafah has actually been integrated and practiced by Iranian scholars for the last eleven centuries). It is a tradition that has taken on the task of understanding and projecting a sense of order upon the multiplicity of forms, ideas, examples, and images that have passed through Iran from East and West; it is a story that has gathered, sheltered, and introduced a style and order of Islamic (Shi'at) falsafah. (shrink)
According to both contemporary intuitions and scholarly opinion, autonomy is something specifically modern. It is certainly taken to be incompatible with religions like Islam and Judaism, if these are invested with political power. Both religions are seen as centered on a divine Law (sharî'a, viz., torah) which prescribes what we may and may not do, promising reward for obedience and threatening punishment for disobedience. Not we, but God makes the rules. This picture is in important ways misleading. There is, I (...) argue, a substantive intellectual tradition, going back to Plato's Laws, which takes the purpose of a theocracy—a community governed by God through the intermediary of a divine Law—to be promoting rational autonomy, conceived as (1) the ability to rationally determine what is in one's best interest and (2) having the motivation to live accordingly.Among the most important representatives of this intellectual tradition are medieval Muslim and Jewish philosophers. (shrink)
Sir Anthony Kenny here continues his fascinating account of the history of philosophy, focusing on the thousand-year-long medieval period. This is the second volume of a four-book set in which Kenny will unfold a magisterial new history of Western philosophy, the first major single-author history of philosophy to appear in decades. In this volume, Kenny takes us on a fascinating tour through more than a millennium of thought from 400 AD onwards, charting the story of philosophy from the founders (...) of Christian and Islamic thought through to the Renaissance. The Middle Ages saw a great flourishing of philosophy, and the intellectual endeavor of the era reaches its climax in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, with the systems of the great schoolmen such as Thomas Aquinas and John Duns Scotus. With Kenny as guide, we see these major philosophers through the eyes of a man who has spent a lifetime contemplating their work. Thus we do not simply get an overview of philosophy, but also a penetrating and insightful critique of it. Kenny offers an illuminating account of various thinkers and schools of thought, from Augustine to Maimonides and from Grosseteste to Pomponazzi. And he offers much insight into medieval thinking about logic and language, knowledge, physics, metaphysics, the mind, the soul, and God. Vividly written, but serious and deep enough to offer a genuine understanding of the great philosophers, Kenny's lucid and stimulating history will become the definitive work for anyone interested in the people and ideas that shaped the course of Western thought. (shrink)
Francesca Albertini's voluminous study, Die Konzeption des Messias bei Maimonides und die fruehmittelalterliche islamische Philosophie, wishes to put a fresh emphasis on the link between Maimonides' concept of the Messiah and his ideal of the leader as a political figure. For Maimonides, Albertini argues, the arrival of the Messiah will be realized only through human effort and appropriate behavior: it is man who bears responsibility for this event through his moral actions. The Messiah, on the other hand, as the leader (...) of the community, seeks to implement the new order in society through which Divine Law will be established and followed precisely. Hence, the Messiah's arrival is not an apocalyptic, eschatological .. (shrink)
This book introduces the work of an important medievalIslamic philosopher who is little known outside the Persian world. Afdal al-Din Kashani was a contemporary of a number of important Muslim thinkers, including Averroes and Ibn al-Arabi. Kashani did not write for advanced students of philosophy but rather for beginners. In the main body of his work, he offers especially clear and insightful expositions of various philosophical positions, making him an invaluable resource for those who would like to (...) learn the basic principles and arguments of this philosophical tradition but do not have a strong background in philosophy. Here, Chittick uses Kashani and his work to introduce the basic issues and arguments of Islamic philosophy to modern readers. (shrink)
Combining the latest scholarship with fresh perspectives on this complex and rapidly changing area of research, this work considers the rich traditions of medieval Arab, Jewish and Latin philosophy. Experts in the field provide comprehensive analyses of the key areas of medieval philosophy and its most influential figures, including: Avicenna, Averroes, Maimonides, Eriugena, Anselm, Abelard, Grosseteste, Aquinas, Henry of Ghent, Duns Scotus, Peter Aureoli, William of Ockham, Wyclif, Suarez, and the enormous and enduring influence of Boethius on the (...)medieval Latin West. Special attention is devoted to the seminal, but lesser-known figures in each period, and to the cultural context of medieval philosophy in Islam and the Christian West. Medieval Philosophy can be purchased individually or as part of the 10 volume Routledge History of Philosophy series. There is a 10% discount off each volume with all standing orders. (shrink)
In this work, Muhsin Mahdi--widely regarded as the preeminent scholar of Islamic political thought--distills more than four decades of research to offer an authoritative analysis of the work of Alfarabi, the founder of Islamic political philosophy. Mahdi, who also brought to light writings of Alfarabi that had long been presumed lost or were not even known, presents this great thinker as his contemporaries would have seen him: as a philosopher who sought to lay the foundations for a new (...) understanding of revealed religion and its relation to the tradition of political philosophy. Beginning with a survey of Islamic philosophy and a discussion of its historical background, Mahdi considers the interrelated spheres of philosophy, political thought, theology, and jurisprudence of the time. He then turns to Alfarabi's concept of "the virtuous city," and concludes with an in-depth analysis of the trilogy, Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. This philosophical engagement with the writings of and about Alfarabi will be essential reading for anyone interested in medieval political philosophy. (shrink)
The first section of this book surveys the development of Islamic philosophy though an examination of the definitions for substance, cause and matter. These important philosophical terms were defined by each new generation of philosophers. The definitions show an awareness of Greek philosophy, but also take metaphysical thought into an Islamic matrix. In the second section the author translates Ibn Sina's Kitab al-hudud (Book of Definition) and puts the tenth-century philosopher in his proper geopolitical sphere. Questions of Ibn (...) Sina' connection with the East as well as medieval scholastic philosophy are considered. Teaching Islamic philosophy outside of the Arabic-speaking world has been handicapped by a lack of primary texts in translation and studies of basic concepts. This book makes the foundation of this field more accessible to students and a general readership. By translating this little-known but pivotal text into readable English, Kennedy-Day has opened a door for a wider range of readers. (shrink)
Islam, one of the worlds great faiths, was born as a result of the revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad (c. 570-632) in Arabia. A proper understanding of the Islamic present depends on an accurate knowledge of the way in which Islamic thought developed from medieval times onwards. For instance, Islam evolved a sophisticated theology and set of philosophical systems of its own, which owed something to the impact of Greek thought, but became uniquely (...) class='Hi'>Islamic because of the vital presence within that faith of the Quran. Furthermore, Islam soon came into contact with Greek philosophy and science, and a translation movement into Arabic began. The roles of Kason and Revelation, and the primacy that was to be given to one or the other, came to the fore. Problems which had also vexed Christianity such as anthropomorphism, free will and predestination provided intellectual stimulation for Islamic thinkers, while the mystical impulse, articulated in Islamic Sufism, imbued the writings of several of the theologians and philosophers considered in these volumes. Taken together, all of these issues constitute a golden period of Islamic debate and intellectual inquiry, and the articles collected in this fascinating set reflect that Islamic dynamic. (shrink)
In this paper I make a case for a genuine and legitimate role for philosophy in modern Islamic culture. However, I argue that in order to make any progress towards reinstating such philosophical activity, we need to look deep into the nature and essence of modern philosophy. In this paper I aim to do this precisely by challenging modern philosophy’s self conception as an absolute critique (i.e. a critique of everything/anything). I argue that such a conception is not only (...) misconceived, it is also ideological in character. Looking back to its origins, I develop a genealogy of modern philosophy’s self-understanding in order to deconstruct it and disassociate it from other possible alternative conceptions of philosophy. I argue that we should reject the notion of philosophy as absolute critique, as it is ideologically motivated and oppressive. Instead, I argue for a more modest conception of philosophy as a subject which provides tools for developing human powers of reflection. (shrink)
Classic introduction provides readers with insightful, accessible survey of major philosophical trends and thinkers of the Middle Ages--from the thought of Thomas Aquinas and the Averroists to Duns Scotus and William of Ockham. "A better conspectus of medieval philosophy than this would be difficult to conceive ... a notable achievement." The Tablet (London).
Later Medieval Philosophy (1150-1350) provides an introduction to philosophy in the Latin West between 1150 and 1350. Part I describes the medieval thinker's intellectual and historical context, by examining the structure of courses in the medieval universities, the methods of teaching, the forms of written work, and the translation and availability of ancient Greek, Arab, and Jewish philosophical texts. Part II examines the nature of intellectual knowledge by explaining the arguments given by Aristotle, his antique commentators, and (...) the Arab philosophers, Avicenna and Averroes. (shrink)
Emotions are the focus of intense debate both in contemporary philosophy and psychology, and increasingly also in the history of ideas. Simo Knuuttila presents a comprehensive survey of philosophical theories of emotion from Plato to Renaissance times, combining rigorous philosophical analysis with careful historical reconstruction. The first part of the book covers the conceptions of Plato and Aristotle and later ancient views from Stoicism to Neoplatonism and, in addition, their reception and transformation by early Christian thinkers from Clement and Origen (...) to Augustine and Cassian. Knuuttila then proceeds to a discussion of ancient themes in medieval thought, and of new medieval conceptions, codified in the so-called faculty psychology from Avicenna to Aquinas, in thirteenth century taxonomies, and in the voluntarist approach of Duns Scotus, William Ockham, and their followers. Philosophers, classicists, historians of philosophy, historians of psychology, and anyone interested in emotion will find much to stimulate them in this fascinating book. (shrink)
Introduction to Medieval Philosophy combines and updates the scholarship of the two highly successful volumes Early Medieval Philosophy (1983) and Late Medieval Philosoph y (1986) in a single, reliable, and comprehensive text on the history of medieval philosophy. John Marenbon discusses the main philosophers and ideas within the social and intellectual contexts of the time, and the most important concepts in medieval philosophy. Straightforward in arrangement, wide in scope, and clear in style, this is the (...) ideal starting point for students beginning the subject. (shrink)
This collection of readings with extensive editorial commentary brings together key texts of the most influential philosophers of the medieval era to provide a comprehensive introduction for students of philosophy. Features the writings of Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Boethius, John Duns Scotus and other leading medieval thinkers Features several new translations of key thinkers of the medieval era, including John Buridan and Averroes Readings are accompanied by expert commentary from the editors, who are leading scholars in the field.
This book presents in translation writings by six medieval philosophers which bear on the subject of conscience. Conscience, which can be considered both as a topic in the philosophy of mind and a topic in ethics, has been unduly neglected in modern philosophy, where a prevailing belief in the autonomy of ethics leaves it no natural place. It was, however, a standard subject for a treatise in medieval philosophy. Three introductory translations here, from Jerome, Augustine and Peter Lombard, (...) present the loci classici on which subsequent discussions drew; there follows the first complete treatise on conscience, by Philip the Chancellor, while the two remaining translations, from Bonaventure and Aquinas, have been chosen as outstanding examples of the two main approaches which crystallised during the thirteenth century. (shrink)
Medieval Jewish philosophers have been studied extensively by modern scholars, but even though their philosophical thinking was often shaped by their interpretation of the Bible, relatively little attention has been paid to them as biblical interpreters. In this study, Robert Eisen breaks new ground by analyzing how six medieval Jewish philosophers approached the Book of Job. These thinkers covered are Saadiah Gaon, Moses Maimonides, Samuel ibn Tibbon, Zerahiah Hen, Gersonides, and Simon ben Zemah Duran. Eisen explores each philosopher's (...) reading of Job on three levels: its relationship to interpretations of Job by previous Jewish philosophers, the way in which it grapples with the major difficulties in the text, and its interaction with the author's systematic philosophical thought. Eisen also examines the resonance between the readings of Job of medieval Jewish philosophers and those of modern biblical scholars. What emerges is a portrait of a school of Joban interpretation that was creative, original, and at times surprisingly radical. Eisen thus demonstrates that medieval Jewish philosophers were serious exegetes whom scholars cannot afford to ignore. By bringing a previously-overlooked aspect of these thinkers' work to light, Eisen adds new depth to our knowledge of both Jewish philosophy and biblical interpretation. (shrink)
The most comprehensive collection of its kind, this unique anthology presents fifty-four readings--many of them not widely available--by the most important and influential Christian, Jewish, and Muslim philosophers of the Middle Ages. The text is organized topically, making it easily accessible to students, and the large selection of readings provides instructors with maximum flexiblity in choosing course material. Each thematic section is comprised of six chronologically arranged readings. This organization focuses on the major philosophical issues and allows a smooth introduction (...) to the material. The topics covered are: (1) The Existence of God, (2) Ethics and the Problem of Evil, (3) God's Foreknowledge and Free Will, (4) Theology, (5) Political Philosophy, 6) Knowledge and Sensation, (7) Universals, (8) Logic and the Philosophy of Language and (9) Physics. Each text is preceded by a biographical note on the author and a brief analytical introduction. Unlike other anthologies, which present sources as a series of truncated excerpts, this collection avoids intrusive editing and includes many selections in their entirety, thus preserving the rich flavor of the medieval mind at work. (shrink)