Arabic Philosophy and Theology before Avicenna

Peter Adamson

in The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Philosophy

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195379488
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Arabic Philosophy and Theology before Avicenna

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This article sketches some prominent issues in traditions of Arabic philosophy and theology, looking especially at cases where philosophers of the ninth to tenth centuries responded directly to theological discussions. It notes that the Aristotelian thinker al-Fārābī draws a strong contrast between falsafa (philosophy) and kalām (theology), identifying the latter as “dialectical” and hence inferior to the “demonstrative” discipline of falsafa. Yet in the wake of Avicenna on the falsafa side and al-Ash'arī on the kalām side, it becomes increasingly common to see authors combining falsafa and kalām into a hybrid discipline that may be called “philosophical theology.”

Keywords: Islam; Arabic falsafa; philosophical theology; kalām; al-Ash'arī

Article.  13163 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy

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