Ideas from the classical Islamic tradition have continued to be important. Her own book, Islands of Abandonment: Life in the Post-Human Landscape, is out now. The Teleological Ethics of Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī And then—bam!—enter Kant. “Islamic philosophy is very closely connected to the history of European philosophy”. The Islamic world is a big place still. To be determined Shipping . I totally agree with her way of setting up the book though, because what she says is that we need to think about Maimonides from several different points of view—not just as a Jewish legal scholar, but also as someone who was responding to the culture of Islamic Spain where he was born, and who moved to Egypt because his family was chased out by anti-Jewish Muslim forces called the Almohads. Sharia (Islamic law) placed 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 philosophy and Hellenistic philosophy with the rise of the Mu’tazili philosophers, who highly valued Aristotle’s … In this case, he goes with philosophy again. But really what happened is that, especially in the eastern part of the Islamic Empire, there was a continuing production of philosophical and philosophically-informed theological works which went on century after century, all the way up to the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the 19th century. But a strong tradition has continued in the centuries since, explains Professor Peter Adamson, as he selects five of the best books on the subject. This book is an introduction to Islamic Philosophy, beginning with its Medieval inception, right through to its more contemporary incarnations. Islamic philosophy has often been treated as being largely of historical interest, belonging to the history of ideas rather than to philosophical study. “Around the eighth century and ninth centuries, you had an enormous investment by the Muslim elite in translating these works into Arabic”. The obvious person was Maimonides, because he was probably the most important Jewish philosopher ever. They are really just courses in Western philosophy. Majid Fakhry is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University, Washington D.C. He commented on the Qur’an, he wrote huge theological treatises on every area of philosophy fundamentally within an Avicennan framework. So my take on the Islamic tradition is that it’s continuous. But there are humans, and this calls out for an explanation. This book represents the culmination of Gutas’s own work on this area. He was contemporary with early modern thinkers, dying in 1640. 0. So, the Islamic world would be the Islamicate. We’re talking about an enormous movement when Greek works of science and philosophy were translated into Arabic. He thinks: ‘These don’t say the same thing at all. You did have people like al-Ghazālī, a theologian who lived into the early 12th century. “He had to leave instructions to be buried in a secret place so that people wouldn’t dig him up and desecrate his body”. And the reason we understand it better is that you’re Christians—and Christians are anti-intellectuals.’ There’s all this polemic about Christians refusing to study all of Aristotle: ‘As soon as Christianity came along, they stopped doing proper philosophy and science. Robert R. Reilly. We’re talking about another translation movement—into Latin. He does something that I have some sympathy with, which is to point out that Avicenna doesn’t label it as a proof: he labels it as a hint or indication. 3, Maimonides in His World: Portrait of a Mediterranean Thinker, The Teleological Ethics of Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, Philosophy in the Islamic World: A Very Short Introduction, Classical Philosophy: A History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, vol. 2016 The Biographical Encyclopedia of Islamic Philosophy. Stroumsa even argues, in the book, that he was aware of Averroes and that some of Averroes’s distinctive views about reason and religion are echoed in the work of Maimonides. Islamic Philosophy has unusual origins. I’m completely naïve about this. Can you tell us a bit about the phenomenon he is exploring? In a way, the contrast with Europe is not so much that it collapsed but that it didn’t. When you say there was no Church, weren’t there religious leaders fulfilling that role? This is the typical itinerary for a medieval philosophy course. “The Stoics died out, the Epicureans died out, the Sceptics died out, and the only thing left was Platonism”. So they responded to Marxism, or Heidegger, or existentialism, or even materialism. As soon as you have the massive expansion of the Islamic caliphate in the generations following the death of Mohammed, you have this enormous empire that stretches from Spain in Europe all the way to central Asia. He also has a lot of information about who the patrons were: who did it and why. Emphasizing the living nature and rich diversity of the subject, it examines the main thinkers and schools of thought, discusses the key concepts of Islamic philosophy and cove by Dag Nikolaus Hasse This was before we get to more famous figures like Aquinas. Two terms traditionally used in the Islamic world are sometimes translated as philosophy—falsafa (literally: "philosophy"), which refers to philosophy as well as logic, mathematics, and physics; and Kalam (literally "speech"), which refers to a rationalist form of Islamic … This is a book about Avicenna’s influence. That’s a good question. One thing he mentions, for example, is that both Greek and Indian texts gave them access to astrology. Be the first video Your name here. $13.29 . I think many analytic philosophers would see the history of philosophy, insofar as it is relevant to them, as beginning with Kant, because everything that came before him was rendered superfluous by the fact that his concepts and agenda set the stage for what came after. For centuries, all the figures after him were Platonists. One thing that’s quite characteristic of Rāzī, though, is it’s often hard to tell whether he’s telling you what he really thinks or whether he’s just imagining a position that someone would or could occupy. $0.00 Total. One other interesting thing to mention here is that this sort of dissemination of texts was, in part, possible because these were the first generations that had access to paper rather than parchment. Specialists in the field have only started looking at them recently. This is a very powerful way of rethinking what God is and how God relates to everything else. It grows out of the translation movement from Greek. He died in 1204. But they couldn’t necessarily have ordered soldiers to come down and arrest you and execute you. 1, Philosophy in the Hellenistic and Roman Worlds: A History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, vol. I really love Plato and Aristotle—I teach them all the time, I love reading them—and I spend as much time reading Plato and Aristotle as I do any other thinkers. What we’re really studying here is this shared culture of philosophical work in the Islamic world. Tell us about this book and the movement it describes. So it was really about trying to find an area in the history of philosophy that needed work. This defines a very clear context for philosophy and it turns out that that is, more or less, a good way of thinking about a certain philosophical culture. It adopts a ‘rational … And there had been work done even earlier by people like Rosenthal, who was Gutas’s teacher. History: The website was started in July 2001 and since then we are still a major site dedicated to the study of Islamic Philosophy from Abbasid period to the present. The point of that, Hasse thinks, is that it’s not really supposed to be a demonstration that your soul is immaterial, so much as an indication that you could imagine someone being aware of their own soul without being aware of their body and that can help you see that the two things are not necessarily the same. The study of Islamic philosophy has entered a new and exciting phase in the last few years. Gutas also talks about how they traced some of this wisdom back to pre-Greek sources, which were originally from the Middle East, and were, in a way, saying ‘this is originally our wisdom which was taken by the Greeks and now we’re taking it back.’ That’s another kind of polemic. Islamic philosophy is a development in philosophy that is characterised by coming from an Islamic tradition. So I thought, I’ll get into medieval philosophy because there’s probably a lot more for me to do there. Don't have a Kindle? We ask experts to recommend the five best books in their subject and explain their selection in an interview. I’m really oversimplifying here of course—imagine someone trying to describe what happened in European philosophy between 1300 and 1900 in a few sentences. It’s a book that I definitely wouldn’t have picked up. He has been a lecturer in philosophy in Lebanon and the UK, as well as in the US. What is the Graeco-Arabic Translation Movement? He got a lot of criticism for that and wrote a work defending himself and his teaching on the resurrection. As far as I can tell, the real change happens in the period of colonialisation. What that shows is that you have a way of being aware of yourself or your soul which doesn’t involve the body. by Sarah Stroumsa The result of that is that when the colonialist period happened, you had a confrontation between a very longstanding intellectual culture—that came from the period we’ve been talking about—and a new wave of ideas from Europe. But, of course, he would say—just like Averroes—that the true understanding of religion is never in conflict with philosophy because philosophy demonstrates what’s true and, since religion is true, the two can’t come into conflict. You can read through that and get a vivid sense that some of the philosophers also made a living by copying the texts that they were working on. Still, even as concerns the general question, ‘Can we use pagan or non-Christian philosophers?’ it’s clear that there was a powerful agreement across the whole scholastic world that this was a good thing to do. Plus, receive recommendations and exclusive offers on all of your favorite books … ‎Although Islamic philosophy represents one of the leading philosophical traditions in the world, it has only recently begun to receive the attention it deserves in the non-Islamic world. One of them, which is really cool and that you and I have discussed before for a Philosophy Bites podcast, is Avicenna’s famous Flying Man Argument. Islamic philosophy online is the Premier Islamic Philosophy Site dedicated to the study of the philosophical output of the Muslim world. There was a period in the late 19th century where many figures in the late Ottoman Empire became materialist atheists because they were influenced by ideas from France. In general, there was very little intellectual persecution in the Islamic world. eBook; LIST PRICE $14.99 PRICE MAY VARY BY RETAILER. Read The reason I picked it is that it is the best book about this figure, Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, who died in 1210. What were they doing? Scotus and Ockham, who were later scholastics, both explicitly referred to Avicenna when they were arguing in support of some of their most central ideas. Yes, that’s right. They were innovative; they made progress in logic, metaphysics, psychology, and so on. From the introduction of Greek Philosophy into the Muslim world in the eighth century, right through to modern times, Majid Fakhry charts the evolution and interaction of philosophy, theology, and mysticism in the Islamic context. And in fact, in that respect, it shares the fate of Indian philosophy, Chinese philosophy, African philosophy, and Latin American philosophy. We also review books on research methods, Muslim intellectual history, classical literature, history, legal, and theological works up to an including the modern period. But they made an effort to enforce a theological dogma in the 9th century and this effort was defied and they failed to get their will recognised. Ahmed H. Sheriff God and His Attributes Sayyid Mujtaba Musavi Lari Hajj (The Pilgrimage) Ali Shariati Islam and Religious … Arabic philosophy was hugely influential during the Islamic Golden Age; at one point, the Persian polymath Avicenna’s influence outstripped that of Aristotle. But, on the other hand, when I was 19, deciding what to do in grad school, I was like, ‘gosh am I really going to be able to say anything new about Plato?’ That sounded really hard. One thing that’s interesting about the transmission of Arabic philosophy into Latin is that very early on they translated Avicenna’s work on the soul—De anima means ‘On the Soul’—and we call Aristotle’s work on the soul De anima as well. As the world went into lockdown early in 2020, many of us without frontline jobs and lucky enough not to fall sick with Covid-19 found more time to read than usual. In general, philosophical traditions develop incrementally. Effectively, what he did was take Aristotle’s questions and give them new answers. In fact, there is a book called The List—in Arabic, the Fihrist—by a tenth century bookseller who worked in Baghdad. He responded to Aristotle in a very intricate way, engaging with all his works. Then, occasionally, someone comes along and he or she doesn’t necessarily say ‘forget all this,’ but responds to what’s been going on in such an original, decisive, and pioneering way that, after that, it’s almost as if everything restarts. It’s difficult to encapsulate a philosopher’s ideas in a few sentences, but could you give a flavour of his ideas? Many Jewish figures worked in Spain. What Is Islam? In a way, the most powerful thing that comes out of Gutas’s book is an appreciation of the sheer enormity and success of the Translation Movement, in addition to all these issues about why it was done. And, around the beginning of the late eighth century and peaking in the ninth century, you had an enormous investment by the Muslim elite in translating these works into Arabic. A History of Islamic Philosophy By Majid Fakhry Columbia University Press, 2004. This is why I picked my second book, which is Jon McGinnis’s Avicenna (2010)—a straightforward title. He was extremely influential; he provoked lots of responses in the following generations—people were always attacking him, quoting him, using him to understand Avicenna and so on. This volume successfully overturns that view. If you're enjoying this interview, please support us by donating a small amount. But there was a lot more openness and freedom for intellectual debate in the Islamic world than in the Latin medieval world because there was no Church. What about Avicenna? Some of them were just warlords. Read. Whether they would admit that or not is another matter. 5 A young man is learning the Torah, learning the Jewish Law, and then he gets exposed to Avicenna and Aristotelian philosophy. the book.1 Sir Chaudhary Muhammad Zafrulla Khan ra Sah ib’s translation was first published in the U.K by the London Mosque in 1979 and since then it has been reprinted four times (1989–1992–1996–2007) by Islam International Publications Ltd, U.K. As I’ve said, in some cases, Avicenna’s influence even outstripped that of Aristotle. It seems to me that this is a huge and important tradition in philosophy, with many different philosophers involved, yet it’s almost completely neglected in courses that are described as ‘philosophy’. The only real problem was what you were supposed to do if one of these people like Aristotle or Averroes or Avicenna taught something unacceptable. He was an Indian Muslim who, again, responded to ideas from Europeans, like Nietzsche, for example. That doesn’t mean that everybody read all of it, but it was an incredibly successful undertaking. He would probably have seen himself as an Aristotelian and his critics saw him that way. The ‘Hikmat Al Muta’alyah fi-l-asfar al-‘aqliyya al-arba‘a’ is an encyclopedic work that chronicles many of the important issues discussed in Islamic philosophy. Read. Interestingly, even though Aquinas had some very rude things to say about the prophet Mohammed, neither he nor other medieval philosophers in the Christian tradition seem to found it particularly problematic to use ideas from Muslims or Jews. Select the department you want to search in, A Treasury of Rumi's Wisdom: Guidance on the Path of Wisdom and Unity, The Voyage and the Messenger: Iran and Philosophy, Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sūfism of Ibn 'Arabī, Early Philosophical Shiism: The Isma'ili Neoplatonism of Abu Ya'qub al-Sijistani, Alfarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes, on Intellect: Their Cosmologies, Theories of the Active Intellect, and Theories of Human Intellect, An Anthology of Philosophy in Persia, Vol. Philosophy in the Islamic World: A History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, vol. But he was just saying this should happen in theory; there was no political apparatus that made it happen; there was no Inquisition; there was nothing that could be compared to the way that scholastic philosophers and theologians could be hauled before a trial and put on charges on heresy by the church. For instance, the Bible is telling me that the world is created and Aristotle is telling me that the world is eternal. We won’t enforce this anymore.’ And maybe, because that policy was a failure, you didn’t see Abbasid Caliphs after that trying to require obedience to any particular theological dogma. You’ve already mentioned that there is a flow from the translation of Greek philosophy into philosophy in the Islamic world. And now, we, the Muslims, will recapture this original Greek wisdom and do it in a way that the Byzantines are failing to do.’ So there’s a kind of oneupmanship there. Still, when I say ‘Islamic world’ what I mean is what all these other scholars mean by ‘Islamicate’. They knew that Aristotle wasn’t a Christian, and they also knew that he taught some problematic things–for example that the world was eternal. So they wanted to have the same kind of logical weaponry that the Christians had access to. You have commentaries or other types of books, and then people respond to them; there’s a back and forth debate. 2013 Averroes and His Philosophy. He doesn’t put it that way, but in Shihadeh’s presentation that’s basically what it boils down to. He’s so clever and sophisticated. So, in fact, he’s being very rationalist because reason has the first go. Are you saying that Rāzī’s ethics should be studied? Stroumsa’s book is interesting and worth reading. It wasn’t the first study of the Translation Movement. They clashed and then more intellectual developments grew out of that, like, for example, radical Islam and Salafism which have been inspired, in part, by European philosophy. The problem with ‘Islamic philosophy’ is that some of the philosophers that we’re interested in weren’t Muslims. It is a mature, healthy, full-grown human being, not a baby (if you don’t like the God part, you don’t need God to be involved, you could just say a human being appears in mid-air). He was incredibly original and pioneering in pretty much every area other than ethics and political philosophy (on which he didn’t have that much to say). You have to imagine someone who is a growing intellectual, maybe a young man. Aaron Hughes. Being someone who has an interest in the practical concerns of the Translation Movement, he wanted to know not just how they did it and what they translated—he does talk about that—but he wanted to know what the political motivation was. “If you lived in tenth century Iraq, you could pretty much read all of the Aristotle we can read”. We’ll just say ‘he’ because Avicenna seems to think of it as a man. $10.69 . Amina Wadud. 1: From Zoroaster to Omar Khayyam, In Search of the Sacred: A Conversation with Seyyed Hossein Nasr on His Life and Thought, The Ultimate Ambition in the Arts of Erudition: A Compendium of Knowledge from the Classical Islamic World, For Love of the Real: A Story of Life's Mystical Secret, What's Right With Islam: A New Vision for Muslims and the West, Islamic Theology and Philosophy: Studies in Honor of George F. Hourani, by Professor of Comparative Studies William C Chittick, Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization, © 2008-2020, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. You have to remember that the Arabic-Latin Translation Movement happened around 1200, and he lived all the way out in Central Asia and Persia. Was that something that got closed off, or is it a continuing tradition? $0.00 Tax. So, really, all I mean by ‘the Islamic world’ is regions of the earth under the political domination of Islam. There’s also a common confusion that people have: they are always saying, ‘how can you call it Arabic philosophy when most of these thinkers were not Arabs?’ That, to me, is a spurious objection because there’s a difference between Arabic and Arab: to my ear Arabic is a language and Arab is an ethnicity. If you think about really late thinkers like Mulla Ṣadrā who was active much, much later in Safavid Iran—almost a millennium after the Greek translation movement—it seems a bit strange to say that we’re still thinking about the translation movements. We publish at least two new interviews per week. Ibn Rushd, known in the West as Averroes, has probably had a bigger impact on Western religion and philosophy than on Islamic thought. I don’t think so. Even in otherwise very good introductions to the history of philosophy, you’ll see this idea that philosophy in the Islamic world dies after Averroes, that it all becomes mysticism or whatever. We’ve talked about philosophers in the early medieval period. For example, in Syria there was a culture of speaking Greek and also in Egypt. It’s only if reason can’t figure it out that you then appeal to the Bible to settle the issue. Read, That leads to the next book, which is Avicenna’s De anima in the Latin West: The Formation of a Peripatetic Philosophy of the Soul, 1160. “Arabic philosophy was hugely informative and influential in the Latin medieval world”. For example, they would take an Arabic commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics, and perhaps the first time they could ever read Aristotle’s Metaphysics was in a Latin translation of this commentary, because the commentary included the original text. The borders fluctuate: they lose Spain after a while, and it’s not even mostly under one single ruler. Read Was a side effect of this translation movement the preservation of texts that got lost in the Greek world? The Byzantine Empire was Greek-speaking; the eastern Roman Empire in general had always been Greek-speaking. So we need to start from existence in thinking about how metaphysics works.’. He had different focuses in different works, but his most important philosophical work was called The Guide for the Perplexed. It’s true that in medieval philosophy, even in Latin, there is a lot to do. We are continually striving to improve this page. In addition to that, he then tells you what all the Latin philosophers thought about it and how they thought the example worked. Fast, FREE delivery, video streaming, music, and much more. Philosophy flourished in the Islamic world for many centuries, and continues to be a significant feature of cultural life today. You should believe that created and Aristotle is telling me that the Christians had access the. About that are available s commands is a islamic philosophy books of basic ideas … a examination... 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