An Introduction to Classical Islamic Philosophy by Oliver Leaman

By Oliver Leaman

Even though Islamic philosophy represents some of the most vital philosophical traditions on the planet, it has in simple terms quite lately began to obtain consciousness within the non-Islamic global. it is a new version of a winning introductory publication, accelerated and up-to-date to take account of modern scholarship. It makes a speciality of what's considered as Islamic philosophy's golden age, and should attract scholars and to any basic reader attracted to this philosophical culture.

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A good example of how philosophical terms came to be created in Islam occurs in the case of the term which came to represent ‘being’, in Arabic ‘wuj¯ud’, or ‘existence’. The verbal root wjd means ‘to find’ (wajada) and is one of the main words used to represent ‘being’ in Arabic attempts to replicate Greek ontology, with the present passive y¯ujadu, and the past passive wujida, leading to the nominal form mawj¯ud. Al-mawj¯ud means ‘what is found’ or ‘what exists’, and a derivative, wuj¯ud, is the abstract noun which ended up being used to represent existence.

The account of creation in the Qur’¯an is not clear on whether creation was out of nothing, but al-Ghaz¯al¯ı points out against Avicenna that if God is obliged to create the world in the way in which he does create it, then this goes against much of the understanding of creation in Islam. The question is whether God can do anything he wishes, both originally when the world is created and subsequently, through miraculously intervening in the system of nature. Avicenna’s God seems to be unable to act freely in these respects, since what emerges from him is part of a logical and necessary system.

Averroes’ reputation rests to a large degree on his many commentaries on Aristotle, a task he was set by the caliph of Cordoba, presumably during a period when the pursuit of philosophy was officially sanctioned. Averroes wrote commentaries on most of Aristotle’s works then extant in Arabic, and he often produced long, medium and short commentaries on the same work. These had different purposes. The long commentary was a detailed exposition of the text suitable for those skilled in philosophy, while the middle commentary dealt with the main ideas but did not precisely follow all the text.

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