What Is Islamic Philosophy?

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In these episodes Peter examines the thought of Muslim, Jewish and Christian philosophers who lived in the Islamic world, and wrote in Arabic, Hebrew and Persian, from the 9th century down to modernity. Islamic theology (kalam) is also considered. Major figures covered include al-Kindi, al-Farabi, Avicenna, al-Ghazali, Averroes, Ibn 'Arabi, Suhrawardi, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, and Mulla Sadra, but as always considerable attention is devoted to lesser-known figures and movements.

Listen to the History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps episode: The Straight Path: Philosophy in the Islamic World

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What can humanists or other non-believers find to interest them in Islamic philosophy? The phrase suggests the problem. If a philosophical tradition is distinctively Islamic, it would seem the humanist can see only a target for critique. The humanist might go further and argue that “Islamic philosophy” is a contradiction in terms. Philosophy is an exercise of unbounded reason, a search for understanding on the basis of discernment rather than revelation or faith.

Plausible though this line of thought is, I want to persuade you that it is wrong. Let’s start with the biggest assumption, that philosophical reflection must exclude a religious context. This is clearly unsustainable...

Continue reading Peter Adamson's article: The Legacy of Islamic Philosophy

Further Reading

The Arabic-Latin translation movements in the Middle Ages, which paralleled that from Greek into Latin, led to the transformation of almost all philosophical disciplines in the medieval Latin world. The impact of Arabic philosophers such as al-Fārābī, Avicenna and Averroes on Western philosophy was particularly strong in natural philosophy, psychology and metaphysics, but also extended to logic and ethics... - Continue reading the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article: Influence of Arabic and Islamic Philosophy on the Latin West by Dag Nikolaus Hasse

Want to learn more? Check out: The Five Best Books on Islamic Philosophy

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