- Early Islamic philosophy
Islamic philosophyor classical Islamic philosophy is a period of intense philosophical development beginning in the 2nd century AH of the Islamic calendar(early 9th century CE) and lasting until the 6th century AH (late 12th century CE). The period is known as the Islamic Golden Age, and the achievements of this period had a crucial influence in the development of modern philosophyand science. This period starts with al-Kindiin the 9th century and ends with Averroes(Ibn Rushd) at the end of 12th century. The death of Averroes effectively marks the end of a particular discipline of Islamic philosophy usually called the "Peripatetic Arabic School", and philosophical activity declined significantly in Western Islamic countries, namely in Islamic Spain and North Africa, though it persisted for much longer in the Eastern countries, in particular Persia and India where several schools of philosophy continued to flourish: Avicennism, Illuminationist philosophy, Mystical philosophy, and Transcendent theosophy.
Some of the significant achievements of early Muslim philosophers included the development of a strict science of citation, the
isnador "backing"; the development of a method of open inquiry to disprove claims, the ijtihad, which could be generally applied to many types of questions (although which to apply it to is an ethical question); the willingness to both accept and challenge authority within the same process; recognition that science and philosophy are both subordinate to morality, and that moral choices are prior to any investigation or concern with either; the separation of theology( kalam) and law( shariah) during the early Abbasidperiod, a precursor to secularism; [Kevin Staley (1989). "Al-Kindi on Creation: Aristotle's Challenge to Islam", "Journal of the History of Ideas" 50 (3), p. 355-370.] the distinction between religionand philosophy, marking the beginning of secular thought; the beginning of a peer reviewprocess; early ideas on evolution; the beginnings of the scientific method, an important contribution to the philosophy of science; the first forms of non- Aristotelian logicand the introduction of temporal modal logicand inductive logic; the beginning of social philosophy, including the formulation of theories on social cohesion and social conflict; the beginning of the philosophy of history; the development of the philosophical noveland the concepts of empiricismand tabula rasa; and distinguishing between essenceand existence. Thomas Aquinasknew of at least some of the Mutazilitework, particularly Avicennism and Averroism, and the Renaissanceand the use of empirical methods were inspired at least in part by Arabic works translated into Latin during the Renaissance of the 12th century, and taken during the Reconquistain 1492.
Early Islamic philosophy can be divided into clear sets of influences, branches, schools, and fields, as described below.
The life of
Muhammador sirawhich generated both the Qur'an(revelation) and hadith(his daily utterances and discourses on social and legal matters), during which philosophy was defined by Muslims as consisting in acceptance or rejection of his message. Together the sira and hadith constitute the sunnahand are validated by isnad("backing") to determine the likely truth of the report of any given saying of Muhammad. Key figures are Imam Jaffar as-Sadegh (AS), Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim, Al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawudand Al-Nasa'i. Each sifted through literally millions of hadith to accept a list of under 10,000. This work, which was not completed until the 10th century, began shortly after The Farewell Sermonin 631, after which Muhammad could not mediate disputes. After his death Abu Bakrbegan to collect all fragments of his sayings.
Kalam, questions about the siraand hadith, as well as science ( Islamic science) and law ( fiqhand sharia), began to be investigated beyond the scope of Muhammad's beliefs. This period is characterized by emergence of ijtihadand the first fiqh. As the Sunnah became published and accepted, philosophy separate from Muslim theologywas discouraged due to a lack of participants. During this period, traditions similar to Socratic methodbegan to evolve, but philosophy remained subordinate to religion. "Kalam" generally referred to the Islamic tradition of seeking theological principles through dialectic.
Independent minds exploiting the methods of
ijtihadsought to investigate the doctrines of the Qur'an, which until then had been accepted in faith on the authority of divine revelation. One of first debates was that between partisan of the "Qadar" ( _ar. qadara, to have power), who affirmed free will, and the "Jabarites" (jabar, force, constraint), who maintained the belief in fatalism.
At the second century of the Hijra, a new movement arose in the theological school of
Basra, Iraq. A pupil, Wasil ibn Ata, who was expelled from the school because his answers were contrary to then orthodox Islamic tradition and became leader of a new school, and systematized the radical opinions of preceding sects, particularly those of the Qadarites. This new school was called " Mutazilite" (from i'tazala, to separate oneself, to dissent). Its principal dogmas were three:
#God is an absolute unity, and no attribute can be ascribed to Him.
#Man is a free agent. It is on account of these two principles that the Mu'tazilities designate themselves the "Partisans of Justice and Unity".
#All knowledge necessary for the
salvationof man emanates from his reason; humans could acquire knowledge before, as well as after, Revelation, by the sole light of reason. This fact makes knowledge obligatory upon all men, at all times, and in all places.
The Mutazilities, compelled to defend their principles against the orthodox Islam of their day, looked for support in
philosophy, and are one of the first to pursue a rational theologycalled "Ilm-al- Kalam" (Scholastic theology); those professing it were called "Mutakallamin". This appellation became the common name for all seeking philosophical demonstration in confirmation of religious principles. The first Mutakallamin had to debate both the orthodox and the non- Muslims, and they may be described as occupying the middle ground between those two parties. But subsequent generations were to large extent critical towards the Mutazilite school, especially after formation of the Ashariteconcepts.
9th centuryonwards, owing to Caliph al-Ma'munand his successor, Greek philosophyand Hellenistic philosophywere introduced among the Persiansand Arabs, and the Peripateticand Neoplatonicschools began to find able representatives among them; such were al-Kindi, al-Farabi, Avicenna(Ibn Sina), and Averroes(Ibn Rushd), all of whose fundamental principles were considered as criticized by the Mutakallamin.
Abbasid caliphatea number of thinkers and scientists, some of them heterodoxMuslims or non-Muslims, played a role in transmitting Greek, Hellenistic, Indian and other pre-Islamic knowledge to the ChristianWest. They contributed to making Aristotleknown in Christian Europe. Three speculative thinkers, the two Persians al-Farabiand Avicennaand the Arab al-Kindi, combined Aristotelianismand Neoplatonismwith other ideas introduced through Islam. They were considered by many as highly unorthodox and a few even described them as non-Islamic philosophers.
SpainArabic philosophic literature was translated into Hebrew and Latin, contributing to the development of modern European philosophy. The philosophers Moses Maimonides (a Jewborn in Muslim Spain) and Ibn Khaldun(born in modern-day Tunisia), the father of sociologyand historiography, were also important philosophers, though the latter did not identify himself as a "falsafa", but rather a "kalam" author.
ome differences between "Kalam" and "Falsafa"
Aristotle attempted to demonstrate the unity of God; but from the view which he maintained, that matter was eternal, it followed that God could not be the Creator of the world. To assert that God's knowledge extends only to the general laws of the universe, and not to individual and accidental things, is tantamount to denying
prophecy. One other point shocked the faith of the Mutakallamin — the theory of intellect. The Peripateticstaught that the human soulwas only an aptitude — a faculty capable of attaining every variety of passive perfection — and that through information and virtue it became qualified for union with the active intellect, which latter emanates from God. To admit this theory would be to deny the immortalityof the soul.
Wherefore the Mutakallamin had, before anything else, to establish a system of philosophy to demonstrate the creation of matter, and they adopted to that end the theory of atoms as enunciated by Democritus. They taught that atoms possess neither quantity nor extension. Originally atoms were created by God, and are created now as occasion seems to require. Bodies come into existence or die, through the aggregation or the sunderance of these atoms. But this theory did not remove the objections of philosophy to a creation of matter.
For, indeed, if it be supposed that
Godcommenced His work at a certain definite time by His "will," and for a certain definite object, it must be admitted that He was imperfect before accomplishing His will, or before attaining His object. In order to obviate this difficulty, the Motekallamin extended their theory of the atoms to Time, and claimed that just as Spaceis constituted of atoms and vacuum, Time, likewise, is constituted of small indivisible moments. The creation of the world once established, it was an easy matter for them to demonstrate the existence of a Creator, and that God is unique, omnipotent, and omniscient.
Main protagonists of Falsafa and their critics
The twelfth century saw the apotheosis of pure philosophy and the decline of the Kalam, which latter, being attacked by both the philosophers and the orthodox, perished for lack of champions. This supreme exaltation of philosophy may be attributed, in great measure, to Al-
Ghazali(1005-1111) among the Persians, and to Judah ha-Levi(1140) among the Jews. It can be argued that the attacks directed against the philosophers by Ghazaliin his work, "Tahafut al-Falasifa" (The Destruction of the Philosophers), not only produced, by reaction, a current favorable to philosophy, but induced the philosophers themselves to profit by his criticism. They thereafter made their theories clearer and their logic closer. The influence of this reaction brought forth the two greatest philosophers that the Islamic Peripatetic school ever produced, namely, Ibn Bajjah(Avempace) and Ibn Rushd( Averroes), both of whom undertook the defense of philosophy.
Since no idea and no literary or philosophical movement ever germinated on Persian or Arabian soil without leaving its impress on the Jews, the Persian
Ghazalifound an imitator in the person of Judah ha-Levi. This poet also took upon himself to free his religion from what he saw as the shackles of speculative philosophy, and to this end wrote the "Kuzari," in which he sought to discredit all schools of philosophy alike. He passes severe censure upon the Mutakallamin for seeking to support religion by philosophy. He says, "I consider him to have attained the highest degree of perfection who is convinced of religious truths without having scrutinized them and reasoned over them" ("Kuzari," v.). Then he reduced the chief propositions of the Mutakallamin, to prove the unity of God, to ten in number, describing them at length, and concluding in these terms: "Does the Kalam give us more information concerning God and His attributes than the prophet did?" (Ib. iii. and iv.) Aristotelianism finds no favor in Judah ha-Levi's eyes, for it is no less given to details and criticism; Neoplatonism alone suited him somewhat, owing to its appeal to his poetic temperament.
Ibn Rushd (or Ibn Roshd or Averroës), the contemporary of
Maimonides, closed the first great philosophical era of the Muslims. The theories of Ibn Rushd do not differ fundamentally from those of Ibn Bajjahand Ibn Tufail, who only follow the teachings of Ibn Sina and Al-Farabi. Like all Islamic Peripatetics, Ibn Rushd admits the hypothesis of the intelligence of the spheres and the hypothesis of universal emanation, through which motion is communicated from place to place to all parts of the universe as far as the supreme world—hypotheses which, in the mind of the Arabic philosophers, did away with the dualism involved in Aristotle's doctrine of pure energy and eternal matter. His ideas on the separation of philosophy and religion, further developed by the Averroist school of philosophy, were later influential in the development of modern secularism. Ibn Rushd is thus regarded as the founding father of secular thought in Western Europe.
Al-Farabi, Ibn Sina, and other Persian and Muslim philosophers hurried, so to speak, over subjects that trenched on religious dogmas, Ibn Rushd delighted in dwelling upon them with full particularity and stress. Thus he says, "Not only is matter eternal, but form is potentially inherent in matter; otherwise, it were a creation "ex nihilo" (Munk, "Mélanges," p. 444). According to this theory, therefore, the existence of this world is not only a possibility, as Ibn Sina declared—in order to make concessions to the orthodox— but also a necessity.
Driven from the Islamic schools, Islamic philosophy found a refuge with the Jews, to whom belongs the honor of having transmitted it to the Christian world. A series of eminent men—such as the
Ibn Tibbons, Narboni, Gersonides—joined in translating the Arabic philosophical works into Hebrew and commenting upon them. The works of Ibn Rushd especially became the subject of their study, due in great measure to Maimonides, who, in a letter addressed to his pupil Joseph ben Judah, spoke in the highest terms of Ibn Rushd's commentary.
It should be mentioned that this depiction of intellectual tradition in Islamic Lands is mainly dependent upon what West could understand (or was willing to understand) from this long era. In contrast, there are some historians and philosophers who do not agree with this account and describe this era in a completely different way. Their main point of dispute is on the influence of different philosophers on Islamic Philosophy, especially the comparative importance of eastern intellectuals such as Ibn Sina and of western thinkers such as Ibn Rushd. [
Henry Corbin, "History of Islamic Philosophy".]
The oldest Jewish religio-philosophical work preserved is that of
Saadia Gaon( 892- 942), "Emunot ve-Deot", "The Book of Beliefs and Opinions". In this work Saadia treats the questions that interested the Mutakallamin, such as the creation of matter, the unity of God, the divine attributes, the soul, etc. Saadia criticizes other philosophers severely. For Saadia there was no problem as to creation: God created the world " ex nihilo", just as the Bibleattests; and he contests the theory of the Mutakallamin in reference to atoms, which theory, he declares, is just as contrary to reason and religion as the theory of the philosophers professing the eternity of matter.
To prove the unity of God, Saadia uses the demonstrations of the Mutakallamin. Only the attributes of essence ("sifat al-dhatia") can be ascribed to God, but not the attributes of action ("sifat-al-fi'aliya"). The soul is a substance more delicate even than that of the celestial spheres. Here Saadia controverts the Mutakallamin, who considered the soul an "accident" "'arad" (compare
Guide for the Perplexedi. 74), and employs the following one of their premises to justify his position: "Only a substance can be the substratum of an accident" (that is, of a non-essential property of things). Saadia argues: "If the soul be an accident only, it can itself have no such accidents as wisdom, joy, love," etc. Saadia was thus in every way a supporter of the Kalam; and if at times he deviated from its doctrines, it was owing to his religious views; just as the Jewish and Muslim Peripatetics stopped short in their respective Aristotelianism whenever there was danger of wounding orthodox religion.
Al-Farabi (Alfarabi) was a founder of his own school of Islamic philosophy but which was later overshadowed by
Avicennism. Al-Farabi's school of philosophy "breaks with the philosophy of Platoand Aristotle[... and ...] moves from metaphysics to methodology, a move that anticipates modernity", and "at the level of philosophy, Alfarabi unites theory and practice [... and] in the sphere of the political he liberates practice from theory". His Neoplatonic theology is also more than just metaphysics as rhetoric. In his attempt to think through the nature of a First Cause, Alfarabi discovers the limits of human knowledge". [citation|first=Ian Richard|last=Netton|title="Breaking with Athens: Alfarabi as Founder", Applications of Political Theory By Christopher A. Colmo|publisher= Oxford University Press|journal=Journal of Islamic Studies|year=2008|volume=19|issue=3|pages=397-8|doi=10.1093/jis/etn047]
Al-Farabi had great influence on science and philosophy for several centuries, and was widely regarded to be second only to Aristotle in knowledge (alluded to by his title of "the Second Teacher") in his time. His work, aimed at synthesis of philosophy and
Sufism, paved the way for the work of Ibn Sina (Avicenna). [cite web | url =http://www.iep.utm.edu/a/avicenna.htm| title =Avicenna/Ibn Sina (CA. 980-1137)| accessdate =2007-07-13 | publisher =The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]
Avicenna's (Ibn Sina's) successful reconciliation between Aristotelianismand Neoplatonismalong with Kalam, Avicennism eventually became the leading school of Islamic philosophyby the 12th century. Avicenna had become a central authority on philosophy by then, and several scholars in the 12th century commented on his strong influence at the time: [Nahyan A. G. Fancy (2006), p. 80-81, "Pulmonary Transit and Bodily Resurrection: The Interaction of Medicine, Philosophy and Religion in the Works of Ibn al-Nafīs (d. 1288)", "Electronic Theses and Dissertations", University of Notre Dame. [http://etd.nd.edu/ETD-db/theses/available/etd-11292006-152615] ]
Avicennism was also infuential in
medieval Europe, particularly his doctrines on the nature of the souland his existence- essencedistinction, along with the debates and censure that they raised in scholastic Europe. This was particularly the case in Paris, where Avicennism was later proscribedin 1210. Nevertheless, his psychologyand theory of knowledge influenced William of Auvergneand Albertus Magnus, and his metaphysicshad an impact on the thought of Thomas Aquinas. [ [http://www.iep.utm.edu/a/avicenna.htm#H5 The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Avicenna/Ibn Sina (CA. 980-1037)] ]
Averroes (Ibn Rushd) is most famous for his commentaries on
Aristotle's works and for writing " The Incoherence of the Incoherence" in which he defended the "falasifa" against al-Ghazali's " The Incoherence of the Philosophers". While he had very little influence in the Islamic world, which was then dominated by Avicennian philosophy and Ash'aritheology, Averroism became very infuential in medieval Europe, especially among the Scholastics. Averroism eventually led to the development of modern secularism,Abdel Wahab El Messeri. [http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/tvtk/ch21.htm Episode 21: Ibn Rushd] , "Everything you wanted to know about Islam but were afraid to ask", "Philosophia Islamica".] Fauzi M. Najjar (Spring, 1996). [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2501/is_n2_v18/ai_18627295/pg_13 The debate on Islam and secularism in Egypt] , "Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ)".] for which Ibn Rushd is considered as the founding father of secular thought in Western Europe.Majid Fakhry (2001). "Averroes: His Life, Works and Influence". Oneworld Publications. ISBN 1851682694.]
The concept of "
existence precedes essence", a key foundational concept of existentialism, can also be found in the works of Averroes, as a reaction to Avicenna's concept of " essenceprecedes existence".citation|first=Jones|last=Irwin|title=Averroes' Reason: A Medieval Tale of Christianity and Islam|date=Autumn 2002|journal=The Philosopher|volume=LXXXX|issue=2]
Perhaps due to resource scarcity in most Islamic nations, there was an emphasis on limited (and some claim also sustainable) use of
natural capital, i.e. producing land. Traditions of haramand himaand early urban planningwere expressions of strong social obligations to stay within carrying capacityand to preserve the natural environmentas an obligation of khalifaor "stewardship". [S. Nomanul Haq, "Islam", in Dale Jamieson (2001), "A Companion to Environmental Philosophy", pp. 111-129, Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 140510659X.] Muhammadis considered a pioneer of environmentalismfor his teachings on environmental preservation. His hadiths on agricultureand environmental philosophywere compiled in the "Book of Agriculture" of the " Sahih Bukhari", which included the following saying: [S. Nomanul Haq, "Islam", in Dale Jamieson (2001), "A Companion to Environmental Philosophy", pp. 111-129 [119-129] , Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 140510659X.]
Several such statements concerning the environment are also found in the
Qur'an, such as the following: [S. Nomanul Haq, "Islam", in Dale Jamieson (2001), "A Companion to Environmental Philosophy", pp. 111-129 [111-119] , Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 140510659X.]
The earliest known treatises dealing with
environmentalismand environmental science, especially pollution, were Arabic medical treatises written by al-Kindi, Qusta ibn Luqa, al-Razi, Ibn Al-Jazzar, al-Tamimi, al-Masihi, Avicenna, Ali ibn Ridwan, Ibn Jumay, Isaac Israeli ben Solomon, Abd-el-latif, Ibn al-Quff, and Ibn al-Nafis. Their works covered a number of subjects related to pollution such as air pollution, water pollution, soil contamination, municipal solid wastemishandling, and environmental impact assessments of certain localities. [L. Gari (2002), "Arabic Treatises on Environmental Pollution up to the End of the Thirteenth Century", "Environment and History" 8 (4), pp. 475-488.] Cordoba, al-Andalusalso had the first waste containers and waste disposalfacilities for littercollection. [S. P. Scott (1904), "History of the Moorish Empire in Europe", 3 vols, J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia and London.
F. B. Artz (1980), "The Mind of the Middle Ages", Third edition revised,
University of Chicago Press, pp 148-50.
cf.[http://www.1001inventions.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=main.viewSection&intSectionID=441 References] , 1001 Inventions)]
ethicalstandards of Muslim physicians was first laid down in the 9th century by Ishaq bin Ali Rahawi, who wrote the "Adab al-Tabib" ("Conduct of a Physician"), the first treatist dedicated to medical ethics. He regarded physicians as "guardians of souls and bodies", and wrote twenty chapters on various topics related to medical ethics, including: [http://www.muslimheritage.com/topics/default.cfm?ArticleID=570 Islamic Science, the Scholar and Ethics] , Foundation for Science Technology and Civilisation.]
* What the
physicianmust avoid and beware of
* The manners of
* The care of remedies by the physician
dignityof the medical profession
* The removal of corruption among physicians
Many medieval Muslim thinkers pursued
humanistic, rational and scientific discourses in their search for knowledge, meaning and values. A wide range of Islamic writings on love poetry, historyand philosophical theologyshow that medieval Islamic thought was open to the humanistic ideas of individualism, occasional secularism, skepticismand liberalism. [Lenn Evan Goodman (2003), "Islamic Humanism", p. 155, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0195135806.]
Another reason the Islamic world flourished during the Middle Ages was an early emphasis on
freedom of speech, as summarized by al-Hashimi (a cousin of Caliph al-Ma'mun) in the following letter to one of the religious opponents he was attempting to convert through reason: [citation|first=I. A.|last=Ahmad|contribution=The Rise and Fall of Islamic Science: The Calendar as a Case Study|title=“Faith and Reason: Convergence and Complementarity”|Publisher= Al-Akhawayn University|date=June 3, 2002|url=http://images.agustianwar.multiply.com/attachment/0/RxbYbQoKCr4AAD@kzFY1/IslamicCalendar-A-Case-Study.pdf |accessdate=2008-01-31]
Certain aspects of
Renaissance humanismhas its roots in the medieval Islamic world, including the "art of "dictation", called in Latin, " ars dictaminis","and "the humanist attitude toward classical language." [citation|last=Makdisi|first=George|title=Scholasticism and Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West|journal=Journal of the American Oriental Society|volume=109|issue=2|date=April-June 1989|pages=175-182]
Early Muslim scientists and philosophers developed theories on
evolution, and the transmutation of species, which were widely taught in medieval Islamic schools. John William Draper, a contemporary of Charles Darwin, wrote the following on what he called the " Mohammedantheory of evolution" in 1878: [ John William Draper(1878). "History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science", p. 237. ISBN 1603030964.]
Al-Jahiz and the struggle for existence
Mu'taziliscientist and philosopher al-Jahiz(c. 776-869) was the first of the Muslim biologists and philosophers to develop an early theory of evolution. He speculated on the influence of the environment on animals, considered the effects of the environment on the likelihood of an animal to survive, and first described the struggle for existence, a precursor to natural selection. [Conway Zirkle (1941). Natural Selection before the "Origin of Species", "Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society" 84 (1), p. 71-123.] [Mehmet Bayrakdar (Third Quarter, 1983). "Al-Jahiz And the Rise of Biological Evolutionism", "The Islamic Quarterly". London.] Al-Jahiz wrote the following on the struggle for existence in his work, "Book of Animals":
Ibn Miskawayh and the Brethren of Purity
Ibn Miskawayh's "al-Fawz al-Asghar" and the Brethren of Purity's " Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity" ("The Epistles of Ikhwan al-Safa") developed theories on evolution that later had an influence on Charles Darwinand his inception of Darwinism. Muhammad Hamidullahdescribes their evolutionary ideas as follows:
Eloise Hart also describes the evolutionary thought in the "Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity" as follows:
English translations of the "Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity" were available from 1812, ["Ikhwan as-Safa and their Rasa'il: A Critical Review of a Century and a Half of Research", by A. L. Tibawi, as published in volume 2 of "The Islamic Quarterly" in 1955; pgs. 28-46] while Arabic
manuscripts of the "al-Fawz al-Asghar" and "The Epistles of Ikhwan al-Safa" were also available at the University of Cambridgeby the 19th century. These works likely had an influence on 19th century evolutionists, and possibly Charles Darwin, who may have been a student of Arabic.
Al-Khazini and the transmutation of species
In the 12th century,
al-Khaziniwrote the following on how evolution in alchemy and biologywere perceived by natural philosophers and common people in the Islamic world at the time:
Ash'ari polymath Ibn al-Haythamlater wrote a book in which he argued for evolutionism(although not natural selection), and numerous other Islamic scholars and scientists, including the polymaths Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī, al-Khazini, Nasir al-Din Tusi, and Ibn Khaldun, discussed and developed these ideas. Translated into Latin, these works began to appear in the West after the Renaissanceand may have had an impact on Western philosophyand science.
In early Islamic philosophy,
logicplayed an important role. Islamic lawplaced importance on formulating standards of argument, which gave rise to a novel approach to logic in Kalam, but this approach was later displaced by ideas from Greek philosophyand Hellenistic philosophywith the rise of the Mu'taziliphilosophers, who highly valued Aristotle's " Organon". The works of Hellenistic-influenced Islamic philosophers were crucial in the reception of Aristotelian logic in medieval Europe, along with the commentaries on the "Organon" by Averroes. The works of al-Farabi, Avicenna, al-Ghazaliand other Muslim logicians who often criticized and corrected Aristotelian logic and introduced their own forms of logic, also played a central role in the subsequent development of European logic during the Renaissance.
According to the
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
Important developments made by Muslim logicians included the development of "Avicennian logic" as a replacement of Aristotelian logic.
Avicenna's system of logicwas responsible for the introduction of hypothetical syllogism, temporal modal logicand inductive logic. Other important developments in early Islamic philosophy include the development of a strict science of citation, the isnador "backing", and the development of a scientific method of open inquiry to disprove claims, the ijtihad, which could be generally applied to many types of questions.
Logic in Islamic law and theology
Early forms of analogical reasoning,
inductive reasoningand categorical syllogismwere introduced in Fiqh(Islamic jurisprudence), Sharia(Islamic law) and Kalam(Islamic theology) from the 7th century with the process of " Qiyas", before the Arabic translations of Aristotle's works. Later during the Islamic Golden Age, there was a logical debateamong Islamic philosophers, logicians and theologians over whether the term "Qiyas" refers to analogical reasoning, inductive reasoning or categorical syllogism. Some Islamic scholars argued that "Qiyas" refers to inductive reasoning, which Ibn Hazm(994-1064) disagreed with, arguing that "Qiyas" does not refer to inductive reasoning, but refers to categorical syllogism in a real sense and analogical reasoning in a metaphorical sense. On the other hand, al-Ghazali(1058-1111) (and in modern times, Abu Muhammad Asem al-Maqdisi) argued that "Qiyas" refers to analogical reasoning in a real sense and categorical syllogism in a metaphorical sense. Other Islamic scholars at the time, however, argued that the term "Qiyas" refers to both analogical reasoning and categorical syllogism in a real sense. [Wael B. Hallaq (1993), "Ibn Taymiyya Against the Greek Logicians", p. 48. Oxford University Press, ISBN 0198240430.]
The first original Arabic writings on logic were produced by
al-Kindi(Alkindus) (805–873), who produced a summary on earlier logic up to his time. The first writings on logic with non-Aristotelian elements was produced by al-Farabi(Alfarabi) (873–950), who discussed the topics of future contingents, the numberand relationof the categories, the relation between logicand grammar, and non-Aristotelian forms of inference. He is also credited for categorizing logic into two separate groups, the first being "idea" and the second being "proof." [http://www.britannica.com/ebc/article-65928 History of logic: Arabic logic] , " Encyclopædia Britannica".] Averroes(1126–98) was the last major logician from al-Andalus, who wrote the most elaborate commentaries on Aristotelian logic.
Avicenna(980-1037) developed his own system of logic known as "Avicennian logic" as an alternative to Aristotelian logic. By the 12th century, Avicennian logic had replaced Aristotelian logic as the dominant system of logic in the Islamic world. [I. M. Bochenski (1961), "On the history of the history of logic", "A history of formal logic", p. 4-10. Translated by I. Thomas, Notre Dame, Indiana University Press. ( cf.[http://www.formalontology.it/islamic-philosophy.htm Ancient Islamic (Arabic and Persian) Logic and Ontology] )]
The first criticisms of Aristotelian logic were written by
Avicenna(980–1037), who produced independent treatises on logic rather than commentaries. He criticized the logical school of Baghdad for their devotion to Aristotle at the time. He investigated the theory of definitionand classificationand the quantificationof the predicates of categorical propositions, and developed an original theory on "temporal modal" syllogism. Its premises included modifiers such as "at all times", "at most times", and "at some time".
Avicenna(980-1037) often relied on deductive reasoningin philosophy, he used a different approach in medicine. Ibn Sina contributed inventively to the development of inductive logic, which he used to pioneer the idea of a syndrome. In his medical writings, Avicenna was the first to describe the methods of agreement, difference and concomitant variation which are critical to inductive logic and the scientific method.Lenn Evan Goodman (2003), "Islamic Humanism", p. 155, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0195135806.] Ibn Hazm(994-1064) wrote the "Scope of Logic", in which he stressed on the importance of sense perceptionas a source of knowledge. [http://www.islamherald.com/asp/explore/science/science_muslim_scientists.asp Science and Muslim Scientists] , Islam Herald.] Al-Ghazali(Algazel) (1058–1111) had an important influence on the use of logic in theology, making use of Avicennian logic in Kalam. Despite the logical sophistication of al-Ghazali, the rise of the Ash'arischool in the from the 12th century slowly suffocated original work on logic in much of the Islamic world, though logic continued to be studied in some Islamic regions such as Persia and the Levant. Fakhr al-Din al-Razi(b. 1149) criticised Aristotle's "first figure" and developed a form of inductive logic, foreshadowing the system of inductive logic developed by John Stuart Mill(1806-1873). Systematic refutations of Greek logic were written by the Illuminationist school, founded by Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi(1155-1191), who developed the idea of "decisive necessity", an important innovation in the history of logical philosophical speculation. Another systematic refutation of Greek logic was written by Ibn Taymiyyah(1263-1328), who wrote the "ar-Radd 'ala al-Mantiqiyyin" ("Refutation of Greek Logicians"), in which he gave a prooffor inductionbeing the only true form of argument, which had an important influence on the development of the scientific methodof observationand experimentation.
Cosmological and ontological arguments
Avicenna's proof for the existence of Godwas the first ontological argument, which he proposed in the "Metaphysics" section of " The Book of Healing".Steve A. Johnson (1984), "Ibn Sina's Fourth Ontological Argument for God's Existence", "The Muslim World" 74 (3-4), 161–171.] citation|last=Morewedge|first=P.|title=Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and Malcolm and the Ontological Argument|journal=Monist|volume=54|pages=234-49] This was the first attempt at using the method of a priori proof, which utilizes intuitionand reasonalone. Avicenna's proof of God's existence is unique in that it can be classified as both a cosmological argumentand an ontological argument. "It is ontological insofar as ‘necessary existence’ in intellect is the first basis for arguing for a Necessary Existent". The proof is also "cosmological insofar as most of it is taken up with arguing that contingent existents cannot stand alone and must end up in a Necessary Existent." [citation|first=Toby|last=Mayer|title=Ibn Sina’s ‘Burhan Al-Siddiqin’|year=2001|journal=Journal of Islamic Studies|publisher= Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Oxford Journals, Oxford University Press|volume=12|issue=1|pages=18-39]
Distinction between essence and existence
Islamic philosophy, imbued as it is with Islamic theology, distinguishes more clearly than
Aristotelianismthe difference between essenceand existence. Whereas existence is the domain of the contingentand the accidental, essence endures within a beingbeyond the accidental. This was first described by Avicenna's works on metaphysics, who was himself influenced by al-Farabi.
Some "orientalists" (or those particularly influenced by Thomist scholarship) argued that Avicenna was the first to view existence ("wujud") as an accident that happens to the essence ("mahiyya"). However, this aspect of ontology is not the most central to the distinction that Avicenna established between essence and existence. One cannot therefore make the claim that Avicenna was the proponent of the concept of
essentialism"per se", given that existence ("al-wujud") when thought of in terms of necessity would ontologically translate into a notion of the "Necessary-Existent-due-to-Itself" ("wajib al-wujud bi-dhatihi"), which is without description or definition, and particularly without quiddity or essence ("la mahiyya lahu"). Consequently, Avicenna's ontology is 'existentialist' when accounting for being qua existence in terms of necessity ("wujub"), while it is 'essentialist' in terms of thinking about being qua existence ("wujud") in terms of contingency qua possibility ("imkan"; or "mumkin al-wujud": contingent being). [ For recent discussions of this question see: Nader El-Bizri, "Avicenna and Essentialism", "The Review of Metaphysics", Vol. 54 (June 2001), pp. 753-778.]
Some argue that Avicenna anticipated
Fregeand Bertrand Russellin "holding that existence is an accident of accidents" and also anticipated Alexius Meinong's "view about nonexistent objects." [citation|first=Herrera Ibáñez|last=Alejandro|title=La distinción entre esencia y existencia en Avicena|journal=Revista Latinoamericana de Filosofía|volume=16|pages=183-195|year=1990 |url=http://www.formalontology.it/avicenna-biblio.htm|accessdate=2008-01-29] He also provided early arguments for "a 'necessary being' as cause of all other existents." [citation|first=Hourani George|last=Fadlo|title=Ibn Sina on necessary and possible existence|journal=Philosophical Forum|volume=4|pages=74-86|year=1972 |url=http://www.formalontology.it/avicenna-biblio.htm|accessdate=2008-01-29]
The idea of "essence precedes existence" is a concept which dates back to
Avicennacitation|first=Jones|last=Irwin|title=Averroes' Reason: A Medieval Tale of Christianity and Islam|date=Autumn 2002|journal=The Philosopher|volume=LXXXX|issue=2] and his school of Avicennismas well as Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi[Harv|Razavi|1997|p=129] and his Illuminationist philosophy. The opposite idea of " existence precedes essence" was thus developed in the works of Averroesand Mulla Sadra's transcendent theosophy.
More careful approaches are needed in terms of thinking about philosophers (and theologians) in Islam in terms of phenomenological methods of investigation in
ontology(or onto-theology), or by way of comparisons that are made with Heidegger's thought and his critique of the history of metaphysics. [ For recent studies that engage in this line of research with care and thoughtful deliberation, see: Nader El-Bizri, "The Phenomenological Quest between Avicenna and Heidegger" (Binghamton, N.Y.: Global Publications SUNY, 2000)]
Ibn al-Nafis wrote the "Theologus Autodidactus" as a defense of "the system of Islam and the Muslims' doctrines on the missions of Prophets, the religious laws, the resurrection of the body, and the transitoriness of the world." The book presents rational arguments for bodily
resurrectionand the immortalityof the human soul, using both demonstrative reasoningand material from the hadith corpus as forms of evidence. Later Islamic scholars viewed this work as a response to Avicenna's metaphysical argument on spiritual resurrection (as opposed to bodily resurrection), which was earlier criticized by al-Ghazali. [Fancy, p. 42 & 60]
oul and spirit
The Muslim physician-philosophers,
Avicennaand Ibn al-Nafis, developed their own theories on the soul. They both made a distinction between the soul and the spirit, and in particular, the Avicennian doctrine on the nature of the soul was influential among the Scholastics. Some of Avicenna's views on the soul included the idea that the immortalityof the soul is a consequence of its nature, and not a purpose for it to fulfill. In his theory of "The Ten Intellects", he viewed the human soul as the tenth and final intellect.
Avicenna generally supported
Aristotle's idea of the soul originating from the heart, whereas Ibn al-Nafis on the other hand rejected this idea and instead argued that the soul "is related to the entirety and not to one or a few organs." He further criticized Aristotle's idea that every unique soul requires the existence of a unique source, in this case the heart. Ibn al-Nafis concluded that "the soul is related primarily neither to the spirit nor to any organ, but rather to the entire matter whose temperament is prepared to receive that soul" and he defined the soul as nothing other than "what a human indicates by saying ‘I’." [Nahyan A. G. Fancy (2006), "Pulmonary Transit and Bodily Resurrection: The Interaction of Medicine, Philosophy and Religion in the Works of Ibn al-Nafīs (d. 1288)", p. 209-210, "Electronic Theses and Dissertations", University of Notre Dame. [http://etd.nd.edu/ETD-db/theses/available/etd-11292006-152615] ]
:"Further information: Avicennism - Thought experiments on self-consciousness"
While he was imprisoned in the castle of Fardajan near
Hamadhan, Avicennawrote his famous "Floating Man" thought experimentto demonstrate human self-awarenessand the substantiality of the soul. He referred to the living human intelligence, particularly the active intellect, which he believed to be the hypostasis by which God communicates truthto the human mindand imparts order and intelligibilityto nature. His "Floating Man" thought experiment tells its readers to imagine themselves suspended in the air, isolated from all sensations, which includes no sensory contact with even their own bodies. He argues that, in this scenario, one would still have self-consciousness. He thus concludes that the idea of the self is not logically dependent on any physical thing, and that the soul should not be seen in relative terms, but as a primary given, a substance.Seyyed Hossein Nasrand Oliver Leaman(1996), "History of Islamic Philosophy", p. 315, Routledge, ISBN 0415131596.]
This argument was later refined and simplified by
René Descartesin epistemicterms when he stated: "I can abstract from the supposition of all external things, but not from the supposition of my own consciousness."
In contrast to ancient Greek philosophers who believed that the universe had an infinite past with no beginning, medieval philosophers and theologians developed the concept of the universe having a finite past with a beginning. This view was inspired by the
creation mythshared by the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianityand Islam. The Christian philosopher, John Philoponus, presented the first such argument against the ancient Greek notion of an infinite past. However, the most sophisticated medieval arguments against an infinite past were developed by the Islamic philosopher, Al-Kindi(Alkindus); the Jewish philosopher, Saadia Gaon(Saadia ben Joseph); and the Islamic theologian, Al-Ghazali(Algazel). They developed two logical arguments against an infinite past, the first being the "argument from the impossibility of the existence of an actual infinite", which states:citation|title=Whitrow and Popper on the Impossibility of an Infinite Past|first=William Lane|last=Craig|journal=The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science|volume=30|issue=2|date=June 1979|pages=165-170 [165-6] ]
:"An actual infinite cannot exist.":"An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite.":"Unicode|∴ An infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist."
The second argument, the "argument from the impossibility of completing an actual infinite by successive addition", states:
:"An actual infinite cannot be completed by successive addition.":"The temporal series of past events has been completed by successive addition.":"Unicode|∴ The temporal series of past events cannot be an actual infinite."
Both arguments were adopted by later Christian philosophers and theologians, and the second argument in particular became more famous after it was adopted by
Immanuel Kantin his thesis of the first antimony concerning time.
metaphysics, Avicenna(Ibn Sina) defined truthas:
Avicenna elaborated on his definition of truth in his "
In his "Quodlibeta",
Thomas Aquinaswrote a commentary on Avicenna's definition of truth in his "Metaphysics" and explained it as follows:
Early Islamic political philosophy emphasized an inexorable link between
scienceand religionand emphsized the process of ijtihadto find truth. Ibn al-Haytham(Alhacen) reasoned that to discover the truth about nature, it is necessary to eliminate human opinionand error, and allow the universeto speak for itself. In his "Aporias against Ptolemy", Ibn al-Haytham further wrote the following comments on truth:
Philosophy of education
In the medieval Islamic world, an elementary
schoolwas known as a " maktab", which dates back to at least the 10th century. Like madrasahs (which referred to higher education), a maktab was often attached to a mosque. In the 11th century, Ibn Sina (known as "Avicenna" in the West), in one of his books, wrote a chapter dealing with the "maktab" entitled "The Role of the Teacher in the Training and Upbringing of Children", as a guide to teachers working at "maktab" schools. He wrote that children can learn better if taught in classes instead of individual tuitionfrom private tutors, and he gave a number of reasons for why this is the case, citing the value of competitionand emulationamong pupils as well as the usefulness of group discussions and debates. Ibn Sina described the curriculumof a "maktab" school in some detail, describing the curricula for two stages of education in a "maktab" school.citation|title=The Age of Achievement: Vol 4|last=M. S. Asimov|first=Clifford Edmund Bosworth|publisher= Motilal Banarsidass|year=1999|isbn=8120815963|page=33-4]
Ibn Sina wrote that children should be sent to a "maktab" school from the age of 6 and be taught
primary educationuntil they reach the age of 14. During which time, he wrote that they should be taught the Qur'an, Islamic metaphysics, language, literature, Islamic ethics, and manual skills (which could refer to a variety of practical skills).
Ibn Sina refers to the
secondary educationstage of "maktab" schooling as the period of specialization, when pupils should begin to acquire manual skills, regardless of their social status. He writes that children after the age of 14 should be given a choice to choose and specialize in subjects they have an interest in, whether it was reading, manual skills, literature, preaching, medicine, geometry, trade and commerce, craftsmanship, or any other subject or profession they would be interested in pursuing for a future career. He wrote that this was a transitional stage and that there needs to be flexibility regarding the age in which pupils graduage, as the student's emotional development and chosen subjects need to be taken into account. [citation|title=The Age of Achievement: Vol 4|last=M. S. Asimov|first=Clifford Edmund Bosworth|publisher= Motilal Banarsidass|year=1999|isbn=8120815963|page=34-5]
Philosophy of science
The pioneering development of the
scientific methodby the Arab Ash'aripolymath Ibn al-Haytham(Alhacen) was an important contribution to the philosophy of science. In the " Book of Optics", his scientific method was very similar to the modern scientific method and consisted of the following procedures:Bradley Steffens (2006). "Ibn al-Haytham: First Scientist", Morgan Reynolds Publishing, ISBN 1599350246. ( cf.Bradley Steffens, "Who Was the First Scientist?", "Ezine Articles".)]
#Testing of hypothesis using
#Analysis of experimental
dataand formulation of conclusion
In "The Model of the Motions", Ibn al-Haytham also describes an early version of
Occam's razor, where he employs only minimal hypotheses regarding the properties that characterize astronomical motions, as he attempts to eliminate from his planetary model the cosmological hypotheses that cannot be observed from Earth. [Roshdi Rashed (2007). "The Celestial Kinematics of Ibn al-Haytham", "Arabic Sciences and Philosophy" 17, p. 7-55 [35-36] . Cambridge University Press.]
In his "Aporias against Ptolemy", Ibn al-Haytham commented on the difficulty of attaining scientific knowledge:
He held that the criticism of existing theories — which dominated this book — holds a special place in the growth of scientific knowledge:
Ibn al-Haytham attributed his
experimental scientific methodand scientific skepticismto his Islamic faith. He believed that humanbeings are inherently flawed and that only Godis perfect. He reasoned that to discover the truthabout nature, it is necessary to eliminate human opinionand error, and allow the universeto speak for itself. In "The Winding Motion", Ibn al-Haytham further wrote that faithshould only apply to prophets of Islamand not to any other authorities, in the following comparison between the Islamic prophetic tradition and the demonstrative sciences:
Ibn al-Haytham described his search for truth and
knowledgeas a way of leading him closer to God:
Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnīalso introduced an early scientific method in nearly every field of inquiryhe studied. For example, in his treatise on mineralogy, "Kitab al-Jamahir" ("Book of Precious Stones"), he is "the most exact of experimental scientists", while in the introduction to his study of India, he declares that "to execute our project, it has not been possible to follow the geometric method" and develops comparative sociologyas a scientific method in the field.citation|first=Ziauddin|last=Sardar|author-link=Ziauddin Sardar|date=1998|contribution=Science in Islamic philosophy|title=Islamic Philosophy|publisher= Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy|url=http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ip/rep/H016.htm|accessdate=2008-02-03] He was also responsible for introducing the experimental method into mechanics,Mariam Rozhanskaya and I. S. Levinova (1996), "Statics", in Roshdi Rashed, ed., " Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science", Vol. 2, pp. 614-642  , Routledge, London and New York] the first to conduct elaborate experiments related to astronomicalphenomena,Dr. A. Zahoor (1997), [http://www.unhas.ac.id/~rhiza/saintis/biruni.html Abu Raihan Muhammad al-Biruni] , Hasanuddin University.] and a pioneer of experimental psychology.citation|first=Muhammad|last=Iqbal|author-link=Muhammad Iqbal|year=1930|title= The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam|chapter=The Spirit of Muslim Culture|url=http://www.allamaiqbal.com/works/prose/english/reconstruction|accessdate=2008-01-25]
Unlike his contemporary
Avicenna's scientific method where "general and universal questions came first and led to experimental work", al-Biruni developed scientific methods where "universals came out of practical, experimental work" and "theories are formulated after discoveries." During his debate with Avicenna on natural philosophy, al-Biruni made the first real distinction between a scientistand a philosopher, referring to Avicenna as a philosopher and considering himself to be a mathematical scientist.citation|first=Ahmad|last=Dallal|year=2001-2002|title=The Interplay of Science and Theology in the Fourteenth-century Kalam|publisher=From Medieval to Modern in the Islamic World, Sawyer Seminar at the University of Chicago|url=http://humanities.uchicago.edu/orgs/institute/sawyer/archive/islam/dallal.html |accessdate=2008-02-02]
Al-Biruni's scientific method was similar to the modern scientific method in many ways, particularly his emphasis on repeated experimentation. Biruni was concerned with how to conceptualize and prevent both
systematic errors and random errors, such as "errors caused by the use of small instruments and errors made by human observers." He argued that if instruments produce random errors because of their imperfections or idiosyncratic qualities, then multiple observations must be taken, analyzed qualitatively, and on this basis, arrive at a "common-sense single value for the constantsought", whether an arithmetic meanor a "reliable estimate." [Harv|Glick|Livesey|Wallis|2005|p=89-90]
Avicenna(Ibn Sina) is considered the father of modern medicine, [Cas Lek Cesk (1980). "The father of medicine, Avicenna, in our science and culture: Abu Ali ibn Sina (980-1037)", "Becka J." 119 (1), p. 17-23.] for his introduction of systematic experimentation and quantificationinto the study of physiology, [Katharine Park (March 1990). "Avicenna in Renaissance Italy: The Canon and Medical Teaching in Italian Universities after 1500" by Nancy G. Siraisi", "The Journal of Modern History" 62 (1), p. 169-170.] the introduction of experimental medicineand clinical trials,David W. Tschanz, MSPH, PhD (August 2003). "Arab Roots of European Medicine", "Heart Views" 4 (2).] the experimental use and testing of drugs, and a precise guide for practical experimentation in the process of discovering and proving the effectiveness of medical substances, [Toby E. Huff (2003), "The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China, and the West", p. 218. Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521529948.] in his medical encyclopedia, " The Canon of Medicine" (11th century), which was the first book dealing with experimental medicine. It laid out the following rules and principles for testing the effectiveness of new drugs or medications, which still form the basis of modern clinical trials:
#"The drug must be free from any extraneous accidental quality."
#"It must be used on a simple, not a composite, disease."
#"The drug must be tested with two contrary types of diseases, because sometimes a drug cures one disease by Its essential qualities and another by its accidental ones."
#"The quality of the drug must correspond to the strength of the disease. For example, there are some drugs whose heat is less than the coldness of certain diseases, so that they would have no effect on them."
#"The time of action must be observed, so that essence and accident are not confused."
#"The effect of the drug must be seen to occur constantly or in many cases, for if this did not happen, it was an accidental effect."
#"The experimentation must be done with the human body, for testing a drug on a lion or a horse might not prove anything about its effect on man."
Atomistic philosophies are found very early in Islamic philosophy, and represent a synthesis of the Greek and Indian ideas. Like both the Greek and Indian versions, Islamic atomism was a charged topic that had the potential for conflict with the prevalent religious orthodoxy. Yet it was such a fertile and flexible idea that, as in Greece and India, it flourished in some schools of Islamic thought.
The most successful form of Islamic atomism was in the
Ashariteschool of philosophy, most notably in the work of the philosopher al-Ghazali(1058-1111). In Ashariteatomism, atoms are the only perpetual, material things in existence, and all else in the world is "accidental" meaning something that lasts for only an instant. Nothing accidental can be the cause of anything else, except perception, as it exists for a moment. Contingent events are not subject to natural physical causes, but are the direct result of God's constant intervention, without which nothing could happen. Thus nature is completely dependent on God, which meshes with other Asharite Islamic ideas on causation, or the lack thereof.L. Gardet (2001), “djuz’”, in "Encyclopaedia of Islam", CD-ROM Edition, v. 1.1, Leiden: Brill]
Other traditions in Islam rejected the atomism of the Asharites and expounded on many Greek texts, especially those of Aristotle. An active school of philosophers in Spain, including the noted commentator
Averroes(1126-1198 AD) explicitly rejected the thought of al-Ghazali and turned to an extensive evaluation of the thought of Aristotle. Averroes commented in detail on most of the works of Aristotle and his commentaries did much to guide the interpretation of Aristotle in later Jewish and Christian scholastic thought.
There are several
cosmologicalverses in the Qur'an(610-632) which some modern writers have interpreted as foreshadowing the expansion of the universe and possibly even the Big Bangtheory: [cite web|author=A. Abd-Allah|url=http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/scislam.html|title=The Qur'an, Knowledge, and Science|publisher= University of Southern California|accessdate=2008-01-22]
Don't those who reject faith see that the heavens and the earth were a single entity then We ripped them apart? [cite quran|21|30|style=ref]
And the heavens We did create with Our Hands, and We do cause it to expand.cite quran|51|47|style=ref
In contrast to ancient Greek philosophers who believed that the
universehad an infinite past with no beginning, medieval philosophers and theologians developed the concept of the universe having a finite past with a beginning. This view was inspired by the creation mythshared by the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianityand Islam. The Christian philosopher, John Philoponus, presented the first such argument against the ancient Greek notion of an infinite past. However, the most sophisticated medieval arguments against an infinite past were developed by the Muslim philosopher, Al-Kindi(Alkindus); the Jewish philosopher, Saadia Gaon(Saadia ben Joseph); and the Muslim theologian, Al-Ghazali(Algazel). They developed two logical arguments against an infinite past, the first being the "argument from the impossibility of the existence of an actual infinite", which states:citation|title=Whitrow and Popper on the Impossibility of an Infinite Past|first=William Lane|last=Craig|journal=The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science|volume=30|issue=2|date=June 1979|pages=165-170 [165-6] ]
:"An actual infinite cannot exist.":"An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite.":".•. An infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist."
The second argument, the "argument from the impossibility of completing an actual infinite by successive addition", states:
:"An actual infinite cannot be completed by successive addition.":"The temporal series of past events has been completed by successive addition.":".•. The temporal series of past events cannot be an actual infinite."
Both arguments were adopted by later Christian philosophers and theologians, and the second argument in particular became more famous after it was adopted by
Immanuel Kantin his thesis of the first antimony concerning time.
In the 10th century, the
Brethren of Puritypublished the " Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity", in which a heliocentric view of the universe is expressed in a section on cosmology: [Harv|Nasr|1993|p=77]
:"Further information: Avicennism - Epistemology"
Avicenna's most influential theory in epistemologyis his theory of knowledge, in which he developed the concept of tabula rasa. He argued that the "human intellect at birth is rather like a tabula rasa, a pure potentiality that is actualized through education and comes to know" and that knowledge is attained through " empiricalfamiliarity with objects in this world from which one abstracts universal concepts" which is developed through a "syllogistic method of reasoning; observations lead to prepositional statements, which when compounded lead to further abstract concepts." [Sajjad H. Rizvi (2006), [http://www.iep.utm.edu/a/avicenna.htm Avicenna/Ibn Sina (CA. 980-1037)] , " Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy"]
In the 12th century,
Ibn Tufailfurther developed the concept of tabula rasa in his Arabic novel, " Hayy ibn Yaqzan", in which he depicted the development of the mind of a feral child"from a tabula rasa to that of an adult, in complete isolation from society" on a desert island. The Latintranslation of his work, entitled "Philosophus Autodidactus", published by Edward Pocockethe Younger in 1671, had an influence on John Locke's formulation of tabula rasa in " An Essay Concerning Human Understanding".G. A. Russell (1994), "The 'Arabick' Interest of the Natural Philosophers in Seventeenth-Century England", pp. 224-262, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004094598.]
eschatologyis concerned with the " Qiyamah" (end of the world; Last Judgement) and the final judgement of humanity. Eschatologyrelates to one of the six articles of faith (" aqidah") of Islam. Like the other Abrahamic religions, Islam teaches the bodily resurrectionof the dead, the fulfillment of a divine plan for creation, and the immortality of the human soul (though Jews do not necessarily view the soul as eternal); the righteous are rewarded with the pleasures of " Jannah" ( Heaven), while the unrighteous are punished in " Jahannam" (Hell). A significant fraction (one third, in fact) of the Quran deals with these beliefs, with many " hadith" elaborating on the themes and details. Islamic apocalyptic literature describing the Armageddon is often known as "fitna" (a test) and "malahim" (or "ghayba" in the shi'ite tradition). Ibn al-Nafisdealt with Islamic eschatology in some depth in his "Theologus Autodidactus", where he rationalized the Islamic view of eschatology using reasonand science to explain the events that would occur according to Islamic eschatology. He presented his rational and scientific arguments in the form of Arabic fiction, hence his "Theologus Autodidactus" may be considered the earliest science fictionwork. [Dr. Abu Shadi Al-Roubi (1982), "Ibn Al-Nafis as a philosopher", "Symposium on Ibn al-Nafis", Second International Conference on Islamic Medicine: Islamic Medical Organization, Kuwait ( cf.[http://www.islamset.com/isc/nafis/drroubi.html Ibn al-Nafis As a Philosopher] , "Encyclopedia of Islamic World").]
The first documented description of a
peer reviewprocess is found in the "Ethics of the Physician" written by Ishaq bin Ali al-Rahwi (854–931) of al-Raha, Syria, who describes the first medical peer reviewprocess. His work, as well as later Arabic medical manuals, state that a visiting physician must always make duplicate notes of a patient's condition on every visit. When the patient was cured or had died, the notes of the physician were examined by a local medical council of other physicians, who would reviewthe practising physician's notes to decide whether his/her performance have met the required standards of medical care. If their reviews were negative, the practicing physician could face a lawsuitfrom a maltreated patient. [Ray Spier (2002), "The history of the peer-review process", "Trends in Biotechnology" 20 (8), p. 357-358  .]
Ash'aripolymath Ibn al-Haytham(Alhacen) is considered a pioneer of phenomenology. He articulated a relationship between the physical and observable world and that of intuition, psychologyand mental functions. His theories regarding knowledgeand perception, linking the domains of science and religion, led to a philosophy of existencebased on the direct observation of realityfrom the observer's point of view. Much of his thought on phenomenology was not further developed until the 20th century. [Dr Valérie Gonzalez, "Universality and Modernity", "The Ismaili United Kingdom", December 2002, p. 50-53.]
The Islamic philosophers,
Ibn Tufail(Abubacer)Jon Mcginnis, "Classical Arabic Philosophy: An Anthology of Sources", p. 284, Hackett Publishing Company, ISBN 0872208710.] and Ibn al-Nafis,Muhsin Mahdi (1974), "The Theologus Autodidactus of Ibn at-Nafis" by Max Meyerhof, Joseph Schacht", "Journal of the American Oriental Society" 94 (2), p. 232-234.] were pioneers of the philosophical novel. Ibn Tufail wrote the first fictional Arabic novel " Hayy ibn Yaqdhan" ("Philosophus Autodidactus") as a response to al-Ghazali's " The Incoherence of the Philosophers", and then Ibn al-Nafis also wrote a fictional novel"Theologus Autodidactus" as a response to Ibn Tufail's "Philosophus Autodidactus". Both of these novels had protagonists (Hayy in "Philosophus Autodidactus" and Kamil in "Theologus Autodidactus") who were autodidactic individuals spontaneously generated in a caveand living in seclusion on a desert island, both being the earliest examples of a desert island story. However, while Hayy lives alone on the desert island for most of the story in "Philosophus Autodidactus", the story of Kamil extends beyond the desert island setting in "Theologus Autodidactus", developing into the first example of a science fictionnovel. [Dr. Abu Shadi Al-Roubi (1982), "Ibn Al-Nafis as a philosopher", "Symposium on Ibn al-Nafis", Second International Conference on Islamic Medicine: Islamic Medical Organization, Kuwait ( cf.[http://www.islamset.com/isc/nafis/drroubi.html Ibn al-Nafis As a Philosopher] , "Encyclopedia of Islamic World").] [Nahyan A. G. Fancy (2006), "Pulmonary Transit and Bodily Resurrection: The Interaction of Medicine, Philosophy and Religion in the Works of Ibn al-Nafīs (d. 1288)", p. 95-101, "Electronic Theses and Dissertations", University of Notre Dame. [http://etd.nd.edu/ETD-db/theses/available/etd-11292006-152615] ]
Ibn al-Nafis described his book "Theologus Autodidactus" as a defense of "the system of Islam and the Muslims' doctrines on the missions of Prophets, the religious laws, the resurrection of the body, and the transitoriness of the world." He presents rational arguments for bodily
resurrectionand the immortalityof the human soul, using both demonstrative reasoningand material from the hadith corpus to prove his case. Later Islamic scholars viewed this work as a response to the metaphysical claim of Avicenna and Ibn Tufail that bodily resurrection cannot be proven through reason, a view that was earlier criticized by al-Ghazali. [Nahyan A. G. Fancy (2006), "Pulmonary Transit and Bodily Resurrection: The Interaction of Medicine, Philosophy and Religion in the Works of Ibn al-Nafīs (d. 1288)", p. 42 & 60, "Electronic Theses and Dissertations", University of Notre Dame. [http://etd.nd.edu/ETD-db/theses/available/etd-11292006-152615] ]
A Latin translation of "Philosophus Autodidactus" was published in 1671, prepared by
Edward Pocockethe Younger. [G. J. Toomer (1996), "Eastern Wisedome and Learning: The Study of Arabic in Seventeenth-Century England", pp. 220-221, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0198202911.] The first English translation by Simon Ockleywas published in 1708, and German and Dutch translations were also published at the time. "Philosophus Autodidactus" went on to have a significant influence on European literature,Martin Wainwright, [http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,12084,918454,00.html Desert island scripts] , " The Guardian", 22 March 2003.] and became an influential best-seller throughout Western Europein the 17th and 18th centuries.G. A. Russell (1994), "The 'Arabick' Interest of the Natural Philosophers in Seventeenth-Century England", p. 228, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004094598.] These translations later inspired Daniel Defoeto write " Robinson Crusoe", which also featured a desert island narrative and was regarded as the first novel in English. [Nawal Muhammad Hassan (1980), "Hayy bin Yaqzan and Robinson Crusoe: A study of an early Arabic impact on English literature", Al-Rashid House for Publication.] [Cyril Glasse (2001), "New Encyclopedia of Islam", p. 202, Rowman Altamira, ISBN 0759101906.] Amber Haque (2004), "Psychology from Islamic Perspective: Contributions of Early Muslim Scholars and Challenges to Contemporary Muslim Psychologists", "Journal of Religion and Health" 43 (4): 357-377  .]
"Philosophus Autodidactus" also had a "profound influence" on modern
Western philosophy.G. J. Toomer (1996), "Eastern Wisedome and Learning: The Study of Arabic in Seventeenth-Century England", p. 218, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0198202911.] It became "one of the most important books that heralded the Scientific Revolution" and European Enlightenment, and the thoughts expressed in the novel can be found in "different variations and to different degrees in the books of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Isaac Newton, and Immanuel Kant." [Samar Attar, "The Vital Roots of European Enlightenment: Ibn Tufayl's Influence on Modern Western Thought", Lexington Books, ISBN 0739119893.] The novel inspired the concept of " tabula rasa" developed in " An Essay Concerning Human Understanding" (1690) by Locke, who was a student of Pococke. [G. A. Russell (1994), "The 'Arabick' Interest of the Natural Philosophers in Seventeenth-Century England", pp. 224-239, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004094598.] [G. J. Toomer (1996), "Eastern Wisedome and Learning: The Study of Arabic in Seventeenth-Century England", p. 221-222, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0198202911.] "Philosophus Autodidactus" also developed the themes of empiricism, tabula rasa, nature versus nurture, [G. A. Russell (1994), "The 'Arabick' Interest of the Natural Philosophers in Seventeenth-Century England", pp. 224-262, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004094598.] condition of possibility, materialism, [Dominique Urvoy, "The Rationality of Everyday Life: The Andalusian Tradition? (Aropos of Hayy's First Experiences)", in Lawrence I. Conrad (1996), "The World of Ibn Tufayl: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Ḥayy Ibn Yaqẓān", pp. 38-46, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004093001.] and Molyneux's Problem. [Muhammad ibn Abd al-Malik Ibn Tufayland Léon Gauthier (1981), "Risalat Hayy ibn Yaqzan", p. 5, Editions de la Méditerranée. [http://limitedinc.blogspot.com/2007/04/things-about-arabick-influence-on-john.html] ] The novel also inspired Robert Boyle, another acquaintance of Pococke, to write his own philosophical novel set on an island, "The Aspiring Naturalist".G. J. Toomer (1996), "Eastern Wisedome and Learning: The Study of Arabic in Seventeenth-Century England", p. 222, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0198202911.] Other European scholars influenced by "Philosophus Autodidactus" include Gottfried Leibniz, Melchisédech Thévenot, John Wallis, Christiaan Huygens, [G. A. Russell (1994), "The 'Arabick' Interest of the Natural Philosophers in Seventeenth-Century England", p. 227, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004094598.] George Keith, Robert Barclay, the Quakers, [G. A. Russell (1994), "The 'Arabick' Interest of the Natural Philosophers in Seventeenth-Century England", p. 247, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004094598.] and Samuel Hartlib.
Philosophy of mind
philosophy of mindwas studied in medieval Islamic psychological thought, which refers to the study of the " nafs" (literally "self" or "psyche" in Arabic) in the Islamic world, particularly during the Islamic Golden Age(8th–15th centuries) as well as modern times (20th–21st centuries), and is related to psychology, psychiatryand the neurosciences.
Place and space
The Arab polymath al-Hasan
Ibn al-Haytham(Alhazen; d. ca. 1041) presented a thorough mathematical critique and refutation of Aristotle's conception of place("topos") in his "Risala/Qawl fi’l-makan" ("Treatise/Discourse on Place").
Aristotle's "Physics" (Book IV - "Delta") stated that the place of something is the two-dimensional boundary of the containing body that is at rest and is in contact with what it contains. Ibn al-Haytham disagreed with this definition and demonstrated that place ("al-makan") is the imagined (three-dimensional) void ("al-khala' al-mutakhayyal") between the inner surfaces of the containing body. He showed that place was akin to
space, foreshadowing Descartes's notion of place as space qua "Extensio" or even Leibniz's "analysis situs". Ibn al-Haytham's mathematization of placerested on several geometric demonstrations, including his study on the sphere and other solids, which showed that the sphere("al-kura") is the largest in magnitude (volumetric) with respect to other geometric solids that have equal surface areas. For instance, a sphere that has an equal surface area to that of a cylinder, would be larger in (volumetric) magnitude than the cylinder; hence, the sphere occupies a larger place than that occupied by the cylinder; unlike what is entailed by Aristotle's definition of place: that this sphere and that cylinder occupy places that are equal in magnitude. [ Nader El-Bizri, "In Defence of the Sovereignty of Philosophy: al-Baghdadi's Critique of Ibn al-Haytham’s Geometrisation of Place," "Arabic Sciences and Philosophy" (Cambridge University Press), Vol. 17, Issue 1 (2007): 57-80.] Ibn al-Haytham rejected Aristotle's philosophical concept of place on mathematical grounds. Later, the philosopher 'Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi (13th century) tried to defend the Aristotelian conception of place in a treatise titled: "Fi al-Radd ‘ala Ibn al-Haytham fi al-makan" ("A refutation of Ibn al-Haytham’s place"), although his effort was admirable from a philosophical standpoint, it was unconvincing from the scientific and mathematical viewpoints. [ Ibid, El-Bizri, (2007) and handouts of El-Bizri's lectures at the Dept. of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge [http://www.hps.cam.ac.uk] ]
Ibn al-Haytham also discussed space perception and its epistemological implications in his "
Book of Optics" (1021). His experimental proof of the intromission model of vision led to changes in the way the visual perceptionof space was understood, contrary to the previous emission theory of vision supported by Euclidand Ptolemy. In "tying the visual perception of space to prior bodily experience, Alhacen unequivocally rejected theintuitiveness of spatial perception and, therefore, the autonomy of vision. Without tangible notions of distance and size forcorrelation, sight can tell us next to nothing about such things." [citation|first=A. Mark|last=Smith|title=The Alhacenian Account Of Spatial Perception And Its Epistemological Implications|journal=Arabic Sciences and Philosophy|volume=15|year=2005|publisher= Cambridge University Press|pages=219–40]
political philosophyemphasized an inexorable link between scienceand religion, and the process of ijtihadto find truth- in effect "all" philosophy was "political" as it had real implications for governance. This view was challenged by the Mutazilitephilosophers, who held a more secular view and were supported by secular aristocracy who sought freedom of action independent of the Caliphate. The only Greek political treatise known to medieval Muslims at the time was Plato's "Republic". By the end of the Islamic Golden Age, however, the Ashariteview of Islam had in general triumphed.
Islamic political philosophy, was, indeed, rooted in the very sources of
Islam, i.e. the Qur'anand the Sunnah, the words and practices of Muhammad. However, in the Western thought, it is generally known that it was a specific area peculiar merely to the great philosophers of Islam: al-Kindi(Alkindus), al-Farabi(Alfarabi), İbn Sina (Avicenna), Ibn Bajjah(Avempace), Ibn Rushd (Averroes), and Ibn Khaldun. The political conceptions of Islam such as kudrah, sultan, ummah, cemaa -and even the "core" terms of the Qur'an, i.e. ibada, din, rab and ilah- is taken as the basis of an analysis. Hence, not only the ideas of the Muslim political philosophers but also many other jurists and ulama posed political ideas and theories. For example, the ideas of the Khawarij in the very early years of Islamic history on Khilafa and Ummah, or that of Shia Islamon the concept of Imamahare considered proofs of political thought. The clashes between the Ehl-i Sunna and Shia in the 7th and 8th centuries had a genuine political character.
The 14th century
Arabscholar Ibn Khaldunis considered one of the greatest political theorists. The British philosopher-anthropologist Ernest Gellnerconsidered Ibn Khaldun's definition of government, "an institution which prevents injustice other than such as it commits itself", the best in the history of political theory. [Ernest Gellner, "Plough, Sword and Book" (1988), p. 239]
Modern Islamic philosophy
Islamic Golden Age
*Harvard reference|title=Suhrawardi and the School of Illumination|first=Mehdi Amin|last=Razavi|year=1997|publisher=
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