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Philosophia Islamica

March 31, 2009 1:21 PM    Subscribe


Meet the Islamic Philosophers. Arabic philosophy sought to reconcile the science and empiricism of Aristotle, the metaphysics of Neoplatonism, and the revelations of the Holy Qur'an. From the first thoughts of Abū Yūsuf Yaʻqūb ibn Isāq al-Kindī, to the 20,000 pages of Abū 'l-Walīd Muammad ibn Amad ibn Rushd, the influence of these Muslim polymaths profoundly shaped Western thought.


The "Golden Age" of Islamic Philosophy:

1. Al-Kindi (and the Mu'tazili) (c. 801–873 CE) - On First Philosophy.

2. The Brethren of Purity (Ikhwan as-Safa') (10th century).

3. Al-Farabi (“Second Teacher") (~872 - ~950) - The Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle.

4. Ibn Sina (~950 - 1037) - Remarks and Admonitions.

5. Omar Khayyam (1048-1123) - The Rubaiyat.

6. Al-Ghazali (1058 - 1111) Tahafut al-falasifah and The Mysteries of the Human Soul.

7. Ibn Tufail (1105 - 1185) - The Improvement of Human Reason.

8. Ibn Rushd (Averroës) (1126 - 1198) On the Incoherence of the Incoherence.

posted by ageispolis (8 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite



What about Ibn Khaldun's Muqaddimah? Many call it the first work of Sociology. And the story of how he met Genghis Khan is priceless.

posted by Vhanudux at 2:01 PM on March 31


Those who attacked and denigrated Islamic philosophy maintained that the teachings of Islam opposed all free discussion and investigation, and therefore Islam has never risen to the aid of philosophy and science throughout the centuries of its existence. The only fruits Islam has borne for its followers have been intellectual despotism and dogmatism, they said. They went much further and extended their fallacious notions to general racial characteristics, and extended what they said about philosophy and learning to political matters. - Al-Tawhid: The Study of Islamic Philosophy


Links to additional texts about Islamic philosophy.

posted by netbros at 2:06 PM on March 31


What about Ibn Khaldun's Muqaddimah?


I wasn't familiar with Ibn Khaldun before your comment, but I found his economics interesting.


What's notable about these and other influential Muslim scholars/mathematicians/doctors/etc is they were also very much committed to the core principles of Islam. Modern day Orientalists try to dismiss this as them simply going along with the rules of their time for convenience so they could focus on loftier matters, but even a casual glance at their writings shows that they were very much "regular" Muslims, and that served as the bedrock for their other ventures.

posted by Burhanistan at 2:09 PM on March 31


Metafilter: On the Incoherence of the Incoherence


(Sorry. Excellent post!)

posted by joe lisboa at 2:16 PM on March 31


Wonderful. This is the one area of philosophy I have done no reading in, and I am fascinated by it. Thanks for the resources!

posted by strixus at 4:11 PM on March 31


Very interesting. A few months ago I was wondering who invented the concept of the "control" in a scientific experiment, and I discovered it was Abu Musa Jabir Ibn Hayyan, in 800 AD. [Although he might not have been a real person, but a pen name for a group of alchemists]


His latinized name, Geber, is thought to be the source of the word "gibberish".

posted by acrasis at 4:48 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


khaldun seems to have rather clearly expressed a theory of evolution 500 years before Darwin.

posted by empath at 6:34 PM on March 31


Rhazes was an interesting fellow as well, although I believe he is best known for his medical works. He was the Richard Dawkins of his day:


If the people of this religion are asked about the proof for the soundness of their religion, they flare up, get angry and spill the blood of whoever confronts them with this question. They forbid rational speculation, and strive to kill their adversaries. This is why truth became thoroughly silenced and concealed.

posted by benzenedream at 9:00 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]



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