Al-Farabi’s Short Commentary on Aristotle’s Prior Analytics – Book Sample
Al-Farabi, or, to give him his full name, Abu Na r Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Tarkhan ibn Uzalaj al Farabi, was born in Farah (Turkestan) not long after 870. Though his family was Muslim (of Turkish origin), he received his education in philosophy and the sciences under Christian (Nestorian) teachers, first in Khorasan, principally in Baghdad. His studies gave particular emphasis to logic, especially as a pupil of the important Nestorian logician and scholar Abu Bishr Matta ibn Yunus, who made the first Arabic translations of Aristotle’s PosteriorAnalytics and Poetics
Upon completing his studies, al-Fari.i.bi lived the life of a scholar, principally at Baghdad and Aleppo. He was a teacher of philosophy of considerable importance. It is reported that he”r ead” (i.e., with a group of pupils) Aristotle’s Physics forty times and his Rhetoric two hundred
Among the writings of al-Fara.bi, his commentaries on Aristotle are of particular importance. They earned him the epithet of “the second teacher”, i.e., the successor to Aristotle, the first teacher. His commentaries go beyond the works of Aristotle, however, to include various other Greek philosophical and scientific works, including the Almagest of Ptolemy. He also wrote original treatises on many sub jects, his studies on music, political philosophy, and to a lesser extent the physical sciences, being of special interest and importance.
Having attained a considerable renown and influence, al Farabi died at great age, in 950, reportedly killed by robbers in the neighborhood of Damascus, while on a journey.
Al-Farabi must be numbered with Ibn Sina (Avicenna), al-Ghazzali,Ibn Rushd (Averroes), and Ibn Khaldun among the very greatest philosophers of Isla m.1 Due largely to the enthusiastic recommendation of Maimonides, his writings played an important role in medieval Jewish thought. More over, some half-dozen of his works were translated into Latin in medieval times, and thus Alfarabi came to play a direct role in the work of the Christian scholastics, as well as an indirect role thanks to citations by other authors.
Al-Farabi devoted more effort to logic than to any other single branch of philosophy or science. He deserves to be classified as the first specialist in logical studies among the Arabic-speaking peoples, with the possible exception of his teacher, Abii Bishr Matta ibn Yunus, who, however, was rooted in the Syriac milieu and was primarily rather a translator of logical text s than a student of logic.
Al-Farabi’s Logical Work – Al-Farabi’s Short Commentary on Aristotle’s Prior Analytics
Al-Farabi wrote commentaries on the entire Aristotelian logical Organon (including the Rhetoricaand Poetica), treat ing much of it in the triplicate manner typical of the Arabic commentators (Epitome= Short Commentary, Middle Com mentary, and Great Commentary), following in Alexandrian footsteps. He also produced various short studies devoted to special points. The bibliographical survey of al-Farabi’s writings by Ahmet Ates((Ahmet Ates “Farabi bibliografyasi”, Turk Tarih Kurumu Belleten (Ankara), vol. 15 (1951), pp. 175-192. A bibliography listing all identifiable works of al-Fara.bi and giving data on manuscript locations and editions, where possible.)) lists over forty treatises on logical matters, of which at best some twenty appear to have survived. The following have been published:
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