By Peter Adamson
Al-Kindi was once the 1st thinker of the Islamic global. He lived in Iraq and studied in Baghdad, the place he turned connected to the caliphal courtroom. sooner or later he may turn into an incredible determine at courtroom: a educate to the caliph's son, and a critical determine within the translation circulation of the 9th century, which rendered a lot of Greek philosophy, technological know-how, and drugs into Arabic. Al-Kindi's wide-ranging highbrow pursuits incorporated not just philosophy but in addition song, astronomy, arithmetic, and medication. via deep engagement with Greek culture al-Kindi built unique theories on key concerns within the philosophy of faith, metaphysics, actual technological know-how, and ethics. he's specifically identified for his arguments opposed to the world's eternity, and his leading edge use of Greek principles to discover the belief of God's harmony and transcendence.Despite al-Kindi's historic and philosophical value no publication has offered a whole, in-depth examine his suggestion before. during this obtainable advent to al-Kindi's works, Peter Adamson surveys what's identified of his existence and examines his technique and his angle in the direction of the Greek culture, in addition to his refined dating with the Muslim highbrow tradition of his day. certainly the publication specializes in explaining and comparing the information present in al-Kindi's wide-ranging philosophical corpus, together with works dedicated to technology and arithmetic. all through, Adamson writes in language that's either severe and fascinating, educational and approachable. This ebook can be of curiosity to specialists within the box, however it calls for no wisdom of Greek or Arabic, and is usually aimed toward non-experts who're easily drawn to one of many maximum of Islamic philosophers.
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Extra resources for Al-Kindī (Great Medieval Thinkers)
Ca. g. the Divine Names of the Pseudo-Dionysius, the Optics of Ptolemy, and the Commentary on the De Anima of Philoponus, to name just a few. Space does not permit me to explore the range of questions that arise here. But it is worth making the general point that, just as we today have many texts al-Kindı¯ did not, so he knew Greek works that are lost to us. For instance, it is clear that he knew summaries and epitomes of Greek works or overviews of Greek authors, which probably came down to him from the Alexandrian philosophical schools.
Still, as we have seen al-Kindı¯’s own positive legacy was signiﬁcant, though temporary. In the next section we will see that he also had a legacy among later thinkers who mention him only to criticize him. iz. 51 In this work someone named al-Kindı¯ is presented as a notorious miser and cheat, especially in his role as a landlord. 52 It is also worth noting that the introduction to Ibn al-Nadı¯m’s list of al-Kindı¯’s works (see above) mentions his miserliness. A second parodic reference to al-Kindı¯ is doubtless to the philosopher.
A¯q, for example, often used a Syriac intermediary translation. But it is not always possible to know whether a given text known to al-Kindı¯ was based directly on Greek or on a Syriac model. With these caveats out of the way, let us quickly survey the main texts used by al-Kindı¯. The greatest inﬂuence on him in metaphysics and logic is from a handful of Aristotelian and Neoplatonic works. Some works from the Organon are very important for al-Kindı¯, especially Porphyry’s Isagoge and Aristotle’s Categories.