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The Kindian Tradition. The Structure Of Philosophy In Arabic Neoplatonism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses only on one central aspect of the Kindian tradition, namely its treatment of the structure of philosophy itself. In his work On the Quantity of the Books of Aristotle (Quantity), al-Kindī, following the Alexandrian ordering of the Aristotelian corpus, divides Aristotle's works according to the main areas of philosophy, and thus incidentally supplies us with his view of how philosophy is structured. It is the subordination of the sciences that unifies Aristotelian theoretical philosophy, and establishes the correct order in which these sciences are to be studied. There is, in al-Kindī’s epistemology, an unbridgeable gap between sensation and intellection. Commitment to this epistemic gap is one of the most striking common features of the Kindian tradition. Most significantly, al-Kindī and his successors go beyond a conciliatory attitude towards Muslim theology, to actually using philosophy in the service of Islamic theological debate.

Keywords: al-Kindī; Arabic neoplatonism; Aristotelian philosophy; kindian tradition; philosophy



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