The Problem of Knowledge and the Greco-Islamic Context of the Unification Argument

Ibrahim Kalin

in Knowledge in Later Islamic Philosophy

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199735242
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199852772 | DOI:
The Problem of Knowledge and the Greco-Islamic Context of the Unification Argument

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This chapter traces the history of the unification argument from the Greeks to Mullā Ṣadrā. It begins with earliest statements of the problem in Plato and Aristotle. Aristotle provides the first clear statement of the problem. However, he lends himself to multiple readings, and Ṣadrā does not miss the opportunity to read Aristotle as supporting the unification argument. Ṣadrā takes a similar approach in reading Alexander of Aphrodisias and Plotinus. The Muslim Peripatetics rejected the unification argument as a remnant of Plotinian mysticism for a number of ontological and epistemological reasons. They, however, accepted the idea when it applied to God only. Suhrawardī follows suit and denies the unification argument any epistemic legitimacy. It is against this long and complicated tradition that Ṣadrā tries to make his case for unification. While the debate over unification has many defenders and detractors in Islamic philosophy, in tracing its history, the chapter focuses on those whom Ṣadrā mentions explicitly in the Asfār and his other writings.

Keywords: Mullā Ṣadrā; Plato; Aristotle; Islamic philosophy; Suhrawardī; unification; Asfār

Chapter.  31859 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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