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Method, Structure, and Development in al-Farabi’s Cosmology pdf

book-icon-openmaktabaBook Title: Method, Structure, and Development in al-Farabi’s Cosmology
author-icon-openmaktabaBook Author: Janos, Damien
number-of-pages-icon-openmaktabaTotal Pages: 447
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INTRODUCTION7written, the prevalence of the Straussian interpretation of al-Fأ¤rأ¤bihas had a chilling effect on mainstream studies of this very significantphilosopher. 8 To Mahdi’s claim that al-Fأ¤rأ¤bi elaborated a politicalcosmology” devoid of scientific value and designed to stand merely asa metaphor for the inhabitants of the virtuous city, this book arguesthat it should be regarded rather as a coherent worldview grounded inthe most up-to-date physical, metaphysical, and astronomical theoriesof his time.9Chapter 1 deals with al-Fأ¤rأ¤bi’s methodology, which rests on acomplex conceptualization of the scope and interrelatedness of thesciences. The central question that informs the discussion is an episte-mological and methodological one: through which rational means anddisciplines can human beings study the heavens and know the princi-ples that govern them? Emphasis is placed on the method of astronomy,its relation to physics and metaphysics, the various techniques used forestablishing its principles, the place of observation and experience, andthe nature of the proofs associated with these sciences. In addition, theconnection between al-Fأ¤rأ¤bi’s logical and metaphysical treatises isalso addressed, with the view of showing the interplay between thesevarious facets of his thought.Chapters 2 to 4 focus on some key doctrines of al-Fأ¤rأ¤bi’s cosmol-ogy. Chapter 2 reconstructs the basic structure of his cosmologicalmodel and discusses the various physical and immaterial entities thatconstitute it. It provides an analysis of the Greek and Arabic sourcesal-Fأ¤rأ¤bi consulted and sheds light on his interpretive approach tothese texts. In this respect, the study addresses specific cosmologicalquestions that are crucial to understand the Second Teacher’s cosmol-ogy, and by implication, the later history of Arabic cosmology. How didhe interpret the Aristotelian theory of the unmoved movers inMetaphysics Book Lambda? How do these movers relate to the celestialorbs? What role does the principle of intellect play in his cosmologyand what texts may have shaped his views on the subject? This chapterprovides a clearer understanding of the place of Aristotelian andattempt to connect al-Fأ¤rأ¤bi’s political theories with Ismafili ideas had also been madeby Daiber (1991). Gutas (2002, 24); see also Gutas’ (2003) review of Mahdi’s book entitled Alfarabiand the Foundation of Islamic Political Philosophy.9 Mahdi (2001, 82, 121-122, 124).

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