This piece offers an edition, translation, and analysis of a newly discovered text by Yaḥyā Ibn ʿAdī, a leading Aristotelian of the Baghdad school in the tenth century. It briefly discusses what Aristotle meant, at the end of the Physics, by saying that the Prime Mover is “in” the outermost heaven. Ibn ʿAdī argues, in part through an exhaustive discussion of the senses of the word “in,” that God is in the sphere only in the sense that an object of (...) intellection is in an intellect. This solution is discussed against the background of ancient commentaries on the same passage. (shrink)
This article offers an analysis, translation, and edition of a brief, recently uncovered Arabic text by the tenth-century CE Christian Aristotelian thinker Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī. Ibn ʿAdī here takes issue with an argument for the existence of God, widely used in kalām. According to this argument, bodies cannot exist without being either in motion or at rest; motion and rest must begin; therefore all bodies and hence the universe as a whole must have begun. Ibn ʿAdī diagnoses various flaws in (...) this reasoning, including a supposed part–whole fallacy. The analysis of the text shows how it fits into Ibn ʿAdī’s intellectual profile and the project of the Baghdad Aristotelian school. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
L'A. confronta due commenti su quello che nel mondo arabo viene considerato il primo libro della Metaphysica di Aristotele: alpha Elatton. Dopo averne delineato i contenuti e la penetrazione nel mondo arabo grazie alle traduzioni di Ustat e Ishaq ibn Hunayn, l'A. esamina due importanti commenti a quest'opera: Yahyá Ibn 'Adi, un commentatore cristiano della scuola di Baghdad e Averroè . I due autori leggono il testo in modo molto diverso: questo suggerisce una grande differenza tra Averroè e la (...) scuola di Baghdad, sebbene il filosofo andaluso abbia ammirato e seguito il lavoro di al-Farabi. In particolare è naturale il rifiuto da parte di Averroè di introdurre un'inchiesta puramente teologica nella trattazione, punto accettato invece da Ibn 'Adi, secondo il proposito di Averroè di rimarcare il fondamento fisico della metafisica, come è possibile comprendere soprattutto grazie alla lettura del Trattato. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to prove how what is apparently a mistake made by Plutarch, wheter deliberate or not, in his reference to the arson attack of Caesar´s soldiers in Alexandria as the end of the famous Library, show us the common sense of the term “bibliotheke” from that time up to now. Coming to this conclusion has required a detailed analysis of the Library of Alexandria since its birth applying Aristotelian doctrine to its configuration not only as (...) an organized space for books but also as an imaginary reading room from which the helenistic world of relations is established. In a second approach, we focus the attention on the change occurred in this collection with the introduction of alphabetical order and, then, with the philological activity of Callimachus. As a result of his Pinakes, the platonic concept of daimon, “guide”, became the first characteristic o a philologist or librarian. Using the information ordered in the Pinakes anybody could be a librarian and find a library anywhere. The old megále bibliotheke of Alexandría remains only with the idea of the conservation of original papyrus. This is de reason of the enigmatic sentence of Plutarch announcing the end of this situation caused by the action of the fire. (shrink)
Avicenna's analysis of the definition of substance and accident repeatedly emphasizes two points: one and the same essence cannot be substance in one instance and accident in another; whetherxis extrinsic or intrinsic for an underlying subject,ydoes not tell us anything as to whetherxis substance or not. Both points are development in an argument against certain unnamed people who claimed the opposite. In this article I will show that Avicenna's opponents are to be identified with the mainstream Baghdad Peripatetic School which (...) based itself on the Late Antique rule that “parts of substances are substances”. As for Avicenna's own position, it was developed on the basis of the heterodox position of Yaḥyā b. ʿAdī, who anticipated Avicenna's first point. This is a further piece of evidence for something that has only recently begun to be appreciated: the influence of Ibn ʿAdī on Avicenna.RésuméL’analyse d’Avicenne portant sur les définitions de la substance et de l’accident met en exergue les deux propositions suivantes: 1) la même essence ne peut être à la fois une substance dans un cas et un accident dans un autre; 2) le fait quexsoit extrinsèque ou intrinsèque à unysous-jacent ne nous permet pas de conclure quexest une substance. Ces deux propositions sont articulées dans un débat avec d’autres personnes ayant un point de vue opposé dont on ne connaît pas l’identité. Dans cet article, nous verrons que ces adversaires font partie de l’école péripatétique de Bagdad, qui elle-même s’appuie sur une proposition datant de l’Antiquité tardive et selon laquelle les parties de substances sont elles-mêmes des substances. La position d’Avicenne fut développée à partir de celle de Yaḥyā b. ʿAdī. Cet article apporte ainsi un argument nouveau qui met en évidence l’influence, remarquée seulement depuis peu, d’Ibn ʿAdī sur Avicenne. (shrink)
Under the title The Reformation of Morals , the tenth-century Syrian Orthodox scholar Yahya ibn 'Adi offered encouragement to the effort to promote moral perfection, especially among kings and other members of the social elite: his tract, on the social virtues and vices, gives extensive advice about the cultivation of the former and the extirpation of the latter. Where there are many echoes of Hellenistic moral philosophy in his presentation, the topical profile of the work and the language the author (...) uses reveal his participation in the Baghdad circle of philosophers and intellectuals--both Christian and Muslim--who were responsible for much that has come to be regarded as typical of the classical culture of the Islamic world. In fact, this text has occasionally been attributed to one or another famous Muslim author. It now stands as an important Christian contribution, in Arabic, to a strand of moral philosophy that is an integral component of the intellectual tradition of the world of Islam. (shrink)
A central question in the history of metaphysics concerns the ontological status of such notions as 'redness,' 'humanity,' or 'animality,' which one calls 'universals.' Since one uses these notions to describe objects in the real world, it may seem intuitive that they exist in extramental reality: one says that universals are 'real'. Famously, though, several problems arise from this view. A central problem known both to medieval and contemporary scholars goes as follows: I look at a red rose and recognize (...) that there is 'redness' in it. Then, I look at a red apple and recognize that there is 'redness' in it, too. Does this mean that one and the same 'redness' appears in both the rose and the... (shrink)
In this study, we want to show, through the analysis of a Christian author of the 10th. century, how commentaries on the works of Aristotle were continuously made, from the Greek commentators until Averroes. Taking as an example some texts of the Metaphysics, we can see that, even without direct contact with the original Greek version, several translations, both from the Greek and the Syriac, were compared by the author. In those cases, it was not only a translation, but also (...) a work of commentary on the text of Aristotle. KEY WORDS – Aristotle. Metaphysics. Islamic philosophy. Translations into Arabic. Commentaries. (shrink)
Kristell Trego | Résumé : Qui agit quand j’agis ? Cet article s’intéresse à la réception philosophique de deux versets scripturaires, Jn 15,5 et Ph 2,13, qui, l’un comme l’autre, énoncent une certaine intervention de Dieu dans les actes que l’homme effectue. On prend en premier lieu en considération l’occasionnalisme malebranchiste. On envisage ensuite, au sein du kalâm, le courant asharite, souvent présenté comme « occasionnaliste », et sa réfutation par le philosophe chrétien de l’école de Baghdad Yaḥyâ ibn ‘Adî. (...) On regarde enfin comment la tradition médiévale a, à la suite d’Augustin, concilié nos deux versets avec l’affirmation de la libre volonté humaine. |: Who acts when I act ? The present essay is concerned with the philosophical reception of two scriptural verses, John 15, 5 and Philippians 2, 13, which both set forth a certain intervention of God in the acts performed by man. We first take into consideration Malebranche’s occasionalism. We then consider, within the kalâm, the ashrahit current, often presented as “occasionalist,” and its refutation by the Christian philosopher from the Baghdad school Yaḥyâ ibn ‘Adî. We finally take into account how the medieaval tradition has, in the wake of Augustine, conciliated our two verses with the affirmation of the free human will. (shrink)
L'analisi dell'aristotelismo «platonizzante» nell'ambito della filosofia araba prima della sistemazione della Shifa di Avicenna, secondo cui Dio non avrebbe conoscenza dei particolari, consente all'A. di dimostrare come ci siano stati anche approcci platonici ad Aristotele , che non sono passati attraverso il filtro dei neoplatonici greci. L'altra cosa significativa è il fatto che all'interno della scuola di Baghdad vi sono modi diversi di intendere lo stato ontologico degli universali. L'A. tenta anche di ridimensionare la figura di al-Farabi all'interno della scuola (...) di Baghdad. I filosofi considerati sono al-Farabi, Yahya b. Adi e Ibn al-Tayyib. (shrink)
Abū al-Ḥusayn Aḥmad b. Yaḥyā Ibn al-Rāwandī(815–860 or 910), perhaps one of the most controversial figures in early Islamic history, is frequently called the “arch-heretic” (zindīq or mulḥid) of Islam. He was born in Khurasan around 815 CE. but flourished among intellectuals in ninth century in Baghdad. Around the year 854, he left Baghdad to escape political persecution and died either in 860 or in 910, according to some sources. The details of his early life are unknown, and documentation of (...) Ibn al-Rāwandī began to surface once he became an intellectual enemy of his fellow Muʿtazilites, the rationalist thinkers of Islamic thought at the time. Information on Ibn al-Rāwandī is gathered mostly from the writings of his opponents. From these sources, we learn that both Muslims and non-Muslims (especially Jews) wrote polemics against Ibn al-Rāwandī in which they acknowledged the serious threat his work posed not only to Islam, but also to Judaism and all Abrahamic religions. (shrink)
This article argues that while it is true that the intellectual relationship established through multipurpose pilgrimage to the heartland of Islam has never lost its significance, the political implications of this connection seem to be overestimated. As will be shown by the following survey, although the number of writings by and on Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya in the Malay-Indonesian language is strikingly considerable, the nature and extent of their impact in the religious life and thought of people have yet to be (...) seen. Hence, to construe a link between them and the emergence of radicalism in the “Lands below the Wind” would be too hasty a conclusion. (shrink)
We can begin with a story. In his account of the reign of Harun al-Rashid, al-Tabari spends considerable time on the matter of Yahya ibn Abdallah. Scion of the family of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, Yahya was the leader of a group active in Daylam, a region in present-day Iran. Al-Rashid and other Abbasid leaders laid claim to the territory, but at the time they did not have effective control over it. Ever-sensitive to the challenge presented by sentiment favoring the (...) house of ‘Ali, al-Rashid and his advisers devised a scheme by which the ruler of Daylam received payment for persuading Yahya to turn himself in. He did so, but only on the condition that al-Rashid provide him with a written aman, or guarantee of security. (shrink)
The Arabic translation of the De Gen. Anim., made at the beginning of the ninth century by Yahyā ibn al-Bitrīq from a Syriac version, contains seven long omissions, noted by Drossaart Lulofs in his edition. Six of these represent approximately 110 letters or a multiple thereof in the Greek: 728b33–729a2, 761a9–25, 762a6–8, 762b34–763a2, 768a18–20 and 781a7–12. The seventh omission is too long to be useful, as the scope for accidental errors is too great.
The Arabic translation of the De Gen. Anim., made at the beginning of the ninth century by Yahyā ibn al-Bitrīq from a Syriac version, contains seven long omissions, noted by Drossaart Lulofs in his edition. Six of these represent approximately 110 letters or a multiple thereof in the Greek: 728b33–729a2 , 761a9–25 , 762a6–8 , 762b34–763a2 , 768a18–20 and 781a7–12 . The seventh omission is too long to be useful, as the scope for accidental errors is too great.
Al-Farabi and His School examines one of the most exciting and dynamic periods in the development of medieval Islam: the period which ran from the late ninth century to the early eleventh century AD. This age is examined through the thought of five of its principal thinkers and named after the first and greatest of these as the "Age of Farabism." Ian Richard Netton demonstrates that the great Islamic philosopher al-Farabi (870-950), called "the Second Master" after Aristotle, produced a recognizable (...) school of thought. This school of thought, which Netton refers to as the "School of al-Farabi," was influenced by the thought of Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus. Yet, it was much more than a mere clone of Greek thought. The originality and independence of thought expressed by such adherents as Yahya b. Adi, Abu Sulayman al-Sijistani, al-Amiri and Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi is described, appreciated, and critically assessed in this volume, with an emphasis given to the fundamentals of epistemology. Al-Farabi and His School is unique in its examination of the intellectual continuity that was maintained in an age of flux, and its particular emphasis on the ethical dimensions of knowledge. (shrink)
This treatise on the nature and levels of the human soul considers the limitations of human senses and our true or theomorphic essence; the various realms or Centers, including Absolute Mind as well as Ordinary Mind and Divine Mind; the nature of firmaments; and the meaning of pleasure and pain.
Shihab al-Din al-Suhrawardi was born around 1154, probably in northwestern Iran. Spurred by a dream in which Aristotle appeared to him, he rejected the Avicennan Peripatetic philosophy of his youth and undertook the task of reviving the philosophical tradition of the "Ancients." Suhruwardi's philosophy grants an epistemological role to immediate and atemporal intuition. It is explicitly anti-Peripatetic and is identified with the pre-Aristotelian sages, particularly Plato. The subject of his hikmat al-Ishraq --now available for the first time in English--is the (...) "science of lights," a science that Suhrawardi first learned through mystical exercises reinforced later by logical proofs and confirmed by what he saw as the parallel experiences of the Ancients. It was completed on 15 September 1186 and at sunset that evening, in the western sky, the sun, the moon, and the five visible planets came together in a magnificent conjunction in the constellation of Libra. The stars soon turned against Suhrawardi, however, who was reluctantly put to death by the son of Saladin, the sultan of Egypt, in 1191. (shrink)
Understanding cooperative human behaviour depends on insights into the biological basis of human altruism, as well as into socio-cultural development. In terms of evolutionary theory, kinship and reciprocity are well established as underlying cooperativeness. Reasons will be given suggesting an additional source, the capability of a cognition-based empathy that may have evolved as a by-product of strategic thought. An assessment of the range, the intrinsic limitations, and the conditions for activation of human cooperativeness would profit from a systems approach combining (...) biological and socio-cultural aspects. However, this is not yet the prevailing attitude among contemporary social and biological scientists who often hold prejudiced views of each other's notions. It is therefore worth noticing that the desirable integration of aspects has already been attempted, in remarkable and encouraging ways, in the history of thought on human nature. I will exemplify this with the ideas of the fourteenth century Arab-Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun. He set out to explicate human cooperativeness - "asabiyah" - as having a biological basis in common descent, but being extendable far beyond within social systems, though in a relatively unstable and attenuated fashion. He combined psychological and material factors in a dynamical theory of the rise and decline of political rulership, and related general social phenomena to basic features of human behaviour influenced by kinship, expectation of reciprocity, and empathic emotions. -/- . (shrink)
We reconstruct as much as we can the part of al-Fārābī's treatment of modal logic that is missing from the surviving pages of his Long Commentary on the Prior Analytics. We use as a basis the quotations from this work in Ibn Sīnā, Ibn Rushd and Maimonides, together with relevant material from al-Fārābī's other writings. We present a case that al-Fārābī's treatment of the dictum de omni had a decisive effect on the development and presentation of Ibn Sīnā's modal logic. (...) We give further evidence that the Harmonisation of the Opinions of Plato and Aristotle was not written by al-Fārābī. (shrink)
Abstract In 2006, the Turkish Harun Yahya Enterprise published and distributed thousands of copies of its anti‐evolutionary text Atlas of Creation to educational institutes in the West. Although this was little more than a publicity stunt, it resulted in Harun Yahya becoming a mainstay in discussions about creationism in Europe. Although Yahya is often presented as the “go to” representative of European Muslim perceptions of evolution, one would be hard pressed to find the literature about Islamic creationism in Europe that (...) does not engage in a discussion of Harun Yahya. However, little evidence exists to support the notion that Harun Yahya warrants such extensive attention, or that Harun Yahya has a substantive influence among European Muslims. This article will explore existing claims about the popularity of Harun Yahya, before drawing on recent research into Muslim perceptions of evolution to argue that Harun Yahya is relatively unknown among Muslims, at least in the British context, and is not influential even among those who are familiar with his work. (shrink)
This article opens a new discussion in the field of post-classical Islamic intellectual history by showing how literature and intellectual history are two inseparable and interdependent fields through an analysis of Ibn Ṭufayl’s novel, Ḥayy b. Yaqẓān. To this end, the article first examines the tension between the two concepts of jadal and burhān, which have affected much of the currents in classical Islamic intellectual history, and does so by assessing the three main figures in Ibn Ṭufayl’s novel: Ḥayy, Absāl (...) and Salāmān. Our references to that tension are affirmed by two highly regarded scholars in post-classical Islamic intellectual history, Shams al-Dīn al-Samarqandī and Sājaqlīzāda, particularly in their clear distinction between jadal, baḥth and munāẓara. This article will show how the evidence in post-classical text analyses shows that the battle between the two concepts of jadal and burhān was won in favor of burhān in post-classical period. (shrink)
Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) is said to be the first scholar to make history and society the direct objects of a systematic science. This paper will examine the role of occasionalism in his thought. This question is interesting because a perennial objection to occasionalism has been that it denies any real natural order, and therefore precludes the possibility of any systematic natural science. If Ibn Khaldun was an occasionalist, then it would mean that one of the earliest pioneers in attempting to (...) apply a systematic scientific method to the study of history and society did so on the basis of an occasionalist understanding of nature and natural order. Then the question of whether and how his scientific methodology is compatible with occasionalism is of interest for both historical and theoretical reasons, in particular for theists who are exploring occasionalism as a potential framework for a coherent understanding of the natural world (including, in this case, its human and social dimensions) as both the manifestation of divine providence and creativity, and as an object of systematic empirical science. (shrink)
I scrutinize the ideas and works of the Turkish religious leader and author Adnan Oktar/Harun Yahya. I argue for a new definition of Yahya as the representative of what I call theoscientography, proposing to study his work according to such a model rather than in the light of his “Islamic creationism”.