Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī and Ibrāhīm ibn ʿAdī: On whether body is a substance or a quantity. Introduction, editio princeps and translation

Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 27 (1):1-74 (2017)

Stephen Menn
Humboldt-University, Berlin
The “lost” Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī treatises recently discovered in the Tehran codex Marwī 19 include a record of a philosophical debate instigated by the Ḥamdānid prince Sayf-al-Dawla. More precisely, Marwī 19 contains Yaḥyā’s adjudication of a dispute between an unnamed Opponent and Yaḥyā’s younger relative Ibrāhīm ibn ʿAdī (who also served as al-Fārābī’s assistant), along with Ibrāhīm's response to Yaḥyā’s adjudication, and Yaḥyā’s final word. At issue was a problem of Aristotelian exegesis: should “body” be understood as falling under the category of substance or under the category of quantity? The unnamed Opponent argues that body is a species of substance; Ibrāhīm argues that technically speaking, body is a species of quantity, and hence an accident; and Yaḥyā judges that body is a species of substance, though for very different reasons than the Opponent gives. For the first time, the Arabic text of this exchange is edited and translated into English. Also provided is an Introduction that sets the debate in historical context, and discusses in particular the possible influence of John Philoponus. The debate is interesting and important not only because of the philosophical ramifications of the issues under discussion, but because it constitutes evidence of dialectical practice among Arabic-speaking philosophers from the middle of the 10th century.
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DOI 10.1017/s0957423916000096
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From Arabic Books and Manuscripts VII: Some Graeco-Arabica in Istanbul.Franz Rosenthal - 1961 - Journal of the American Oriental Society 81 (1):7-12.

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