If they had been acquainted with more modern ways of looking at the problems on which they worked so assiduously they would have been delighted and would have used them to extend their arguments and ideas. It is a bit like the way that we no longer play classical music on the original instruments except as a curiosity. We assume that the classical composers would have been intrigued by the range and versatility of modern instruments as we play their music on them.
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Its is essentially, the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language but is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument. All ancient civilisations has some philosophical outlook and the Greeks were known to be one of the first to record and have systematic approach. As the Islamic Civilisation expanded away from the Middle East into Iran, China, India, Africa and Europe, it came into contact with all types of ideas thus many of these were translated into Arabic and either taken on, refuted or worked on.
The background of philosophic interest in Islam is found in the earlier phases of theology.
But its origin is found in the translation of Greek philosophic works. By the middle of the 9th century, there were enough translations of scientific and philosophic works from Greek , Pahlavi , and Sanskrit to show those who read them with care that scientific and philosophic inquiry was something more than a series of disputations based on what the theologians had called sound reason.
Islamic Philosophy, Theology and Science. Texts and Studies
Moreover, it became evident that there existed a tradition of observation, calculation, and theoretical reflection that had been pursued systematically, refined, and modified for over a millennium. The scope of this tradition was broad: it included the study of logic , the sciences of nature including psychology and biology , the mathematical sciences including music and astronomy , metaphysics , ethics , and politics.
Each of these disciplines had a body of literature in which its principles and problems had been investigated by Classical authors, whose positions had been, in turn, stated, discussed, criticized, or developed by various commentators. Islamic philosophy emerged from its theological background when Muslim thinkers began to study this foreign tradition, became competent students of the ancient philosophers and scientists, criticized and developed their doctrines, clarified their relevance for the questions raised by the theologians, and showed what light they threw on the fundamental issues of revelation , prophecy , and the divine law.
His writings show him to have been a diligent student of Greek and Hellenistic authors in philosophy and point to his familiarity with Indian arithmetic. His conscious, open, and unashamed acknowledgment of earlier contributions to scientific inquiry was foreign to the spirit, method, and purpose of the theologians of the time.
His acquaintance with the writings of Plato and Aristotle was still incomplete and technically inadequate. He improved the Arabic translation of the Theology of Aristotle but made only a selective and circumspect use of it.
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