Alfred L. This book is a masterful exposition of medieval writings on the "most intensely studied sentences in the history of philosophy,,. This work thus encompasses many authors and ideas, all described with admirable clarity and succinctness. Davidson has impressive linguistic and ana- lytical skills, enabling hirn to interpret difficult texts with seeming ease and confidence. The authors in question often treat the same issue differently in different books, and sometimes within the same book, discrepancies which Davidson handles persuasively, for the most part.

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A prolific writer, he is credited with over one hundred works. His ideas are marked by their coherency, despite drawing together of many different philosophical disciplines and traditions.

Zimmermann published in Farabi had a great influence on Maimonides , the most important Jewish thinker of the middle ages. Maimonides wrote in Arabic a Treatise on logic, the celebrated Maqala fi sina at al-mantiq. In a wonderfully concise way, the work treats of the essentials of Aristotelian logic in the light of comments made by the Persian philosophers: Avicenna and, above all, al-Farabi. His success should be measured by the honorific title of "the second master" of philosophy Aristotle being the first , by which he was known.

At the centre of these concentric circles is the sub-lunar realm which contains the material world. Furthermore these are said to have emanated from God, who is both their formal and efficient cause.

The process of emanation begins metaphysically, not temporally with the First Cause, whose principal activity is self-contemplation. And it is this intellectual activity that underlies its role in the creation of the universe. The First Cause, by thinking of itself, "overflows" and the incorporeal entity of the second intellect "emanates" from it. Like its predecessor, the second intellect also thinks about itself, and thereby brings its celestial sphere in this case, the sphere of fixed stars into being, but in addition to this it must also contemplate upon the First Cause, and this causes the "emanation" of the next intellect.

The cascade of emanation continues until it reaches the tenth intellect, beneath which is the material world. And as each intellect must contemplate both itself and an increasing number of predecessors, each succeeding level of existence becomes more and more complex.

This process is based upon necessity as opposed to will. In other words, God does not have a choice whether or not to create the universe, but by virtue of His own existence, He causes it to be. This view also suggests that the universe is eternal, and both of these points were criticized by al-Ghazzali in his attack on the philosophers [59] [60] In his discussion of the First Cause or God , al-Farabi relies heavily on negative theology.

He says that it cannot be known by intellectual means, such as dialectical division or definition, because the terms used in these processes to define a thing constitute its substance. Therefore if one was to define the First Cause, each of the terms used would actually constitute a part of its substance and therefore behave as a cause for its existence, which is impossible as the First Cause is uncaused; it exists without being caused. Equally, he says it cannot be known according to genus and differentia, as its substance and existence are different from all others, and therefore it has no category to which it belongs.

If this were the case, then it would not be the First Cause, because something would be prior in existence to it, which is also impossible. This would suggest that the more philosophically simple a thing is, the more perfect it is.

Each succeeding level in this structure has as its principal qualities multiplicity and deficiency, and it is this ever-increasing complexity that typifies the material world. Human perfection or "happiness" , then, is equated with constant intellection and contemplation. The first three are the different states of the human intellect and the fourth is the Tenth Intellect the moon in his emanational cosmology.

The potential intellect represents the capacity to think, which is shared by all human beings, and the actual intellect is an intellect engaged in the act of thinking.

The human intellect, by its act of intellection, passes from potentiality to actuality, and as it gradually comprehends these intelligibles, it is identified with them as according to Aristotle, by knowing something, the intellect becomes like it.

And it is by choosing what is ethical and contemplating about what constitutes the nature of ethics, that the actual intellect can become "like" the active intellect, thereby attaining perfection. It is only by this process that a human soul may survive death, and live on in the afterlife. Any individual or distinguishing features of the soul are annihilated after the death of the body; only the rational faculty survives and then, only if it has attained perfection , which becomes one with all other rational souls within the agent intellect and enters a realm of pure intelligence.

He says it is composed of four faculties: The appetitive the desire for, or aversion to an object of sense , the sensitive the perception by the senses of corporeal substances , the imaginative the faculty which retains images of sensible objects after they have been perceived, and then separates and combines them for a number of ends , and the rational, which is the faculty of intellection.

It is also the only part of the soul to survive the death of the body. Noticeably absent from these scheme are internal senses, such as common sense, which would be discussed by later philosophers such as Avicenna and Averroes. In addition to its ability to retain and manipulate sensible images of objects, he gives the imagination the function of imitation.

By this he means the capacity to represent an object with an image other than its own. In other words, to imitate "x" is to imagine "x" by associating it with sensible qualities that do not describe its own appearance. This extends the representative ability of the imagination beyond sensible forms and to include temperaments, emotions, desires and even immaterial intelligibles or abstract universals, as happens when, for example, one associates "evil" with "darkness".

These intelligibles are then associated with symbols and images, which allow him to communicate abstract truths in a way that can be understood by ordinary people. The ideal society, he wrote, is one directed towards the realization of "true happiness" which can be taken to mean philosophical enlightenment and as such, the ideal philosopher must hone all the necessary arts of rhetoric and poetics to communicate abstract truths to the ordinary people, as well as having achieved enlightenment himself.

He divided those "vicious" societies, which have fallen short of the ideal "virtuous" society, into three categories: ignorant, wicked and errant.

Ignorant societies have, for whatever reason, failed to comprehend the purpose of human existence, and have supplanted the pursuit of happiness for another inferior goal, whether this be wealth, sensual gratification or power. Al-Farabi mentions "weeds" in the virtuous society: those people who try to undermine its progress towards the true human end.

Whether or not al-Farabi actually intended to outline a political programme in his writings remains a matter of dispute amongst academics. He argues that al-Farabi was using different types of society as examples, in the context of an ethical discussion, to show what effect correct or incorrect thinking could have.

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Alfarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes, on Intellect

The last two belong to a series of nine short physical treatises, called accordingly Parva Naturalia, and include two that deal with the related topic of dreams and prophesying by means of dreams. The De anima was fully translated into Arabic in the ninth century C. Muslim authors had access to Arabic translations of Hellenistic commentaries on these works, particularly those done by Alexander of Aphrodisias third century c. He also was familiar with other branches of Greek science, and wrote treatises on many diverse topics.

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Arabic and Islamic Psychology and Philosophy of Mind

For a brief period starting from , Averroes was banished by Caliph Abu Yusuf Yaqub al-Mansur , likely for political reasons. By Averroes was in Marrakesh Morocco , the capital of the Almohad Caliphate, to perform astronomical observations and to support the Almohad project of building new colleges. The Encyclopaedia of Islam said the caliph distanced himself from Averroes to gain support from more orthodox ulema, who opposed Averroes and whose support al-Mansur needed for his war against Christian kingdoms. Monfredo de Monte Imperiali Liber de herbis, 14th century See also: List of works by Averroes Averroes was a prolific writer and his works, according to Fakhry, "covered a greater variety of subjects" than those of any of his predecessors in the East, including philosophy, medicine, jurisprudence or legal theory, and linguistics. Fasl al-Maqal "The Decisive Treatise" is an treatise that argues for the compatibility of Islam and philosophy.


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