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Al-Fārābī on the Method of Astronomy

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This article analyzes al-Fārābī's (d. 950) conception of the astronomical method by examining rarely studied texts such as the K. al-mūsīqā and K. al-burhān and by addressing key issues such as the subject matter of astronomy, the techniques used to derive the first principles of this science, the relation between astrology, astronomy, physics, and metaphysics, and the place of al-Fārābī in the Arabic astronomical tradition. The analysis indicates that al-Fārābī's theories combine material from the Greek astronomical tradition, especially Geminus, as well as from the logical works of Aristotle, particularly the Posterior Analytics. Moreover, it enables us to view al-Fārābī as a link between the Greek astronomers on the one hand and Ibn Sīnā and Naşīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī on the other.

Affiliations: 1: Ruhr-University, Bochum, SH 1/193, Universitätsstraße 150, D-44780 Bochum, Germany;, Email:


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