FĀRĀBĪ iv. Fārābī and Greek Philosophy



iv. Fārābī and Greek Philosophy

Fārābī’s philosophical moorings and direct affiliation lie in the Greek neo-Aristotelian school of Ammonius in Alexandria, in the form in which it survived and was revived after the Islamic conquest among Syriac Christian clerics and intellectuals in the centers of Eastern Christianity in the Fertile Crescent. This school, traditionally but inappropriately called Neoplatonic, was essentially Aristotelian in its basic orientation, structure, and contents. It had been transformed, however, in a number of ways along Neoplatonist lines, most notably in its acceptance of Plotinian emanationism (for various aspects of this transformation see Sorabji, passim). By Fārābī’s own account (cf i. biography), the Nestorians Yūḥannā b. Ḥaylān, his immediate teacher, and Mattā b. Yūnus, his older contemporary and colleague in Baghdad, were direct descendants in this tradition. To Mattā apparently belongs the credit for reviving Aristotelian studies in Baghdad and establishing both a curriculum of school texts and a method for their study (Endress, 1989, pp. 844-45). Fārābī’s claims about his philosophical pedigree are independently substantiated by the demonstrably numerous points of actual doctrinal congruity with the Alexandrian tradition (Mahdi, 1967, pp. 233-37; Gutas, 1983, p. 255); the scholastic tradition of both philological and philosophical commentary on the core texts of Aristotle survives in Fārābī’s commentaries and in the Paris MS. (Arab. 2346) of Aristotle’s Organon (Zimmermann, 1972 and 1981; Hugonnard-Roche, 1990 and 1993).

Equally as important as Fārābī’s educational background for an assessment of his relation to Greek philosophy is the intellectual climate during his time in Baghdad. When Fārābī was studying in the ʿAbbasid capital at the end of the 9th century, the translation and study of the Greek sciences were almost as old as the city itself (founded in 145/762). The translation movement, which was generated, funded, and promoted by almost all the upper strata of early ʿAbbasid society, had provided Arabic versions of the majority of Greek philosophical and scientific works, and had reached such a state of maturity where the translations of certain fundamental works (e.g., Aristotle’s Physics, Euclid’s Elements, or Ptolemy’s Almagest) were repeatedly done anew or revised (Gutas 1998, ch. 6). The intellectuals who sponsored these translations championed the authors, methods, and ideas of their liking, and in some instances had created schools of thought. In philosophy, particularly notable was the circle of philosophers and scholars around al-Kendī (d. 870s) and his successors, as well as the sui generis work of the autodidact Abū Bakr Rāzī (d. 925 or 935), Fārābī’s older contemporary. Fārābī thus experienced in Baghdad a fertile environment of pluralist philosophical thinking at least a century old and at an advanced stage of sophistication.

The prevailing atmosphere of intellectual fermentation and experimentation was unchecked by political authority, particularly after the abortive attempt by al-Maʾmūn and his two successors to impose a centralized ideology (the meḥna, 833-49). As a result, the center stage for ideological supremacy was contested by many groups in competition with each other, for the different trends of thought had not yet coalesced into established doctrines with sufficient social backing to impose themselves upon the rest. The period from 850 to 950, covering Fārābī’s entire life, saw attempts to bring order to the intellectual disarray, consolidate and systematize the various disciplines and establish methodological and doctrinal uniformity, e.g., Ebn Mojāhed’s (d. 936) reforms of Kokanic readings (qerāʾāt), Ebn Abī Ḥātem Rāzī’s (d. 938) formulation of the principles of Hadith criticism (al-jarḥ wa’l-taʿdīl), etc. (Gutas 1998, pp. 101-104). The revival of Aristotelian studies represented by the translations and commentaries of Mattā and brought to fruition by the entire oeuvre of Fārābī must be seen in this light as performing a similar function in the field of philosophy.

Fārābī sought to present philosophy as a coherent system, promulgate neo-Aristotelianism as the one true philosophical doctrine, and rationalize its practice and show its validity for contemporary ʿAbbasid society. It seems also that he wished to emancipate philosophy from subordination to medicine, a position it occupied in early ʿAbbasid times for historical reasons, and establish it as an independent, and possibly even leading, intellectual discipline (Zimmermann, 1976, pp. 407-8, 412-14). To begin with, his conception of true philosophy was that it “was handed down to us by the Greeks from Plato and Aristotle only . . . . In what they presented, their purpose is the same, and . . . they intended to offer one and the same philosophy” (The Attainment of Happiness, in Mahdi, 1969, pp. 49-50). However, his understanding of the identity of the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle is not doctrinaire, as in Porphyry, but nuanced in favor of Aristotle, as espoused in the school of Ammonius (Endress, 1991, pp. 242-43). Fārābī’s Concordance of the Opinions of Plato and Aristotle (Jamʿ raʾyay al-ḥakīmayn) presents Plato as a respected precursor of Aristotle whose main achievement was to provide moral exhortation for the purposes of social education. He presents Aristotle as the philosopher who began where Plato left off, perfected philosophy, and put it on a demonstrative basis (Endress, 1991, pp. 249-51).

Given this understanding of true philosophy, Fārābī’s teachings and writings fall into different categories (cf. Druart). First, at an elementary level and apparently for a wide audience, he edited and adapted certain existing translations of Greek texts; (he did not know Greek and had no access to Greek works other than those translated into Arabic.) He worked by slightly rewording the argument, adding explanatory details, and clarifying syntactical and semantic obscurities of the Arabic of the translation (Gutas, 1983, p. 252 and note 51, p. 256 and note 61). Such editorial reworkings by Fārābī include his recasting of (1) the late Alexandrian introductions to the study of Aristotle in his Prolegomena to the Study of Aristotle’s Philosophy (Mā yanbaḡī an yoqaddama qabla taʿallom falsafat Aresṭū; Gutas, 1985, pp. 115-16); (2) similar prolegomena by Elias(-David) in the logic part of his Enumeration of the Sciences (Eḥṣāʾ al-ʿolūm; Gutas, 1983, pp. 231-38, 255 ), and (3) Galen’s Synopsis of Plato’s Laws in his Precise Exposition of the Synopsis of Plato’s Laws (Talḵīṣ jawāmeʿ nawāmīs Aflāṭūn; Gutas l997).

Second, Fārābī wrote school commentaries on the works of Aristotle, as well as paraphrases and other popularizations (Gutas, 1993, pp. 47-50). Third, and most importantly, he created a philosophical system of his own on the basis of principles and orientations which he inherited from neo-Aristotelianism and by using as his material the entire array of Greek philosophical thought that was available to him in translation. These crucial principles and orientations were: (1) a procedural tool of analysis by division, (2) the “tree” of Porphyry, (3) the classification of the sciences, and (4) the theory of language. The neo-Aristotelian school of Ammonius had developed these procedures and positions for the purposes of philosophical pedagogy and in the process of exegesis of Aristotle’s works, in particular the initial books of the Organon: Porphyry’s Eisagoge and Aristotle’s Categories and De Interpretatione. Fārābī fully followed these practices, but he used them in a way which resulted in a philosophical system that went far beyond the scholastic interests of his Greek and Syriac predecessors.

1. Analysis by division (diairesis, qesma). Analysis by division was introduced by Plato into the discussions of scientific method (Phaedrus 265, Politicus 263, Sophist 221-231) and firmly grounded as a procedure in definitions by Aristotle (Topics and Categories, Metaphysics Z and Posterior Analytics B13, 96b25-97b6, and Parts of Animals i). For an analysis, particularly relevant for Fārābī’s understanding of the theory and practice of scientific method in Aristotle, the articles by Balme, Lennox, Bolton, and Gotthelf (Gotthelf and Lennox, pp. 65-198) should be consulted. Division became the standard method of analysis through its detailed exposition by Porphyry in his commentary on Plato’s Sophist, and from him it passed into the works of all subsequent philosophers writing in Greek and Syriac (Hein, pp. 131-45). From the works in particular of David, Elias, Ps.-Elias, and their reproduction by Paul the Persian, analysis by division appears in the earliest extant Arabic work on logic, Ebn Behrīz’s Ḥodūd al-manṭeq, and constitutes one of the fundamental analytical tools of Fārābī.

2. Hierarchical classification. Closely related to, and ultimately derived from the above, is Porphyry’s elevation of the division of genera and species into a hierarchical classification of being that ranges from the highest genera (the ten categories), which are not species to any superior genus, to the lowest species, that are not genera to any lower species. Every level between these extremes constitutes a genus to its inferior and a species to its superior levels (Eisagoge, ed. Busse, pp. 4ff.; Manṭeq Aresṭū, ed. Badawī, pp. 1027ff.). Fārābī’s systematization of all reality, both ontological and social, into a hierarchical whole in which each level is governed by the one above it, and governs the one beneath it, follows precisely such a classification.

3. Classification of the sciences. In the two centuries before the advent of Islam, Alexandrian scholars in the school of Ammonius erected, by means of a rigorous application of analysis by division, an elaborate schema of classifying Aristotle’s works, in which each individual treatise came to denote a single field of study. The result of this approach was that the classification of Aristotle’s works became, in effect, a classification of all the sciences, and hence of all human knowledge. The function of this classification was initially descriptive and pedagogical, used in the introduction to the philosophical curriculum to elucidate the definitions and divisions of philosophy or all knowledge. Eventually, however, it also acquired two further interrelated values: a normative value, in that the precise classification of Aristotle’s works and hence of all knowledge was assumed to reflect ontological reality, the way things are; and a historical value, in that the classification of the sciences also purported to reflect historical reality or the chronological sequence of the development of the sciences in human history. Both the classificatory schema and all of its functions were adopted by Fārābī, mainly through the Arabic translation of Paul the Persian’s treatise on the subject, and made into the cornerstone of his philosophical system (Gutas, 1983, pp. 256-60).

4. Theory of language. Alexandrian neo-Aristotelianism engaged in an intensive cultivation of the preliminaries to the study of Aristotle’s Organon. Both Porphyry’s Eisagoge and other related introductory material formed the focus of much philosophical study. The issues treated were predominantly related to the philosophy of language and meaning, if only because Aristotle’s Categories and De Interpretatione deal with these subjects. This heightened preoccupation with semantics, syntax, and semiotics, and in particular, with concepts such as homonymy, synonymy, and paronymy at the beginning of the Categories, and name, verb, and sentence at the beginning of De Interpretatione, put linguistic analysis at the center of philosophical practice. Fārābī exhibits a similar preoccupation both because of his philosophical training in the neo-Aristotelian tradition which cultivated these studies and because of the central position of linguistic studies in contemporary Baghdadi intellectual life (cf. Abed). Two of his works are entirely devoted to the subject: al-Alfāż al-mostaʿmala fī l-manṭeq (Vocables Employed in Logic) and Ketāb al-ḥorūf (Book of Particles); and even his essay on the intellect (Resāla fī’l-ʿaql) is concerned with differentiating the various meanings of the homonymous term “intellect” (ʿaql).

On the basis of these principles, and with a wide variety of Greek philosophical and scientific texts in Arabic translation at his disposal, Fārābī created an original and compelling philosophical system. A précis of that system is offered in his Mabādeʾ ārāʾ ahl al-madīna al-fāżela (The Principles of the Opinions of the People of the Excellent City). At the heart of the system lies the theory of the intellect, or noetics, which animates and lends coherence to Fārābī’s entire philosophy. This is the natural extension of late Greek neo-Aristotelianism, which combined on the one hand a long tradition of commenting on and extrapolating from the few and cryptic statements by Aristotle on the nature of the intellect (both the unmoved mover and that of humans), and on the other an ontological enhancement of the status of the intellect that was developed in particular in the Neoplatonic school of Athens (Walzer, 1957, pp. 229-30, 201-2; Walzer, 1974; Finnegan; Jolivet).

Following standard neo-Aristotelian doctrine, Fārābī considered the “noblest” part of logic to be apodeictic demonstration, the primary function of the intellect. Accordingly, Aristotle’s Posterior Analysis forms the centerpiece and culmination of the entire Organon, while the four preceding books (Porphyry’s Eisagoge, Aristotle’s Categories, De Interpretione, and Prior Analytics) are said to introduce demonstration and the final four to “protect” it, by disclosing the ways in which apodeictic certainty can be derailed by arguments that are dialectical (Topics), sophistic (Sophistici Elenchi), rhetorical (Rhetoric), or poetic (Poetics). Fārābī accepts this fivefold division of arguments or propositions (i.e., demonstrative, dialectical, sophistical, rhetorical, and poetical) not only on the level of description or analysis, but also grants it ontological status by claiming that the human mind can think only in these five ways (Gutas, 1983, pp. 256-57, 265-66). Thus in the final analysis even logic, originally a methodological discipline, is made subservient to, and dependent on, ontological noetics.

In cosmology Fārābī accepted Plotinian emanationism, which he combined with Ptolemy’s planetary system from the Hypotheses (Walzer, 1985, pp. 363-65) to create the rigidly hierarchical “tree of Porphyry” system of the supralunar cosmos. Noetics is at the center of this system insofar as the emanation of the spheres, with their intellects and souls, depends on the creative act of intellection of the superior sphere. The same hierarchical structure of constituent elements is reproduced in the world of nature on earth (humans, animals, plants, minerals), within the human body (limbs and organs), within the human soul and its ranked faculties, and within the rational part of the soul (the intellect itself). Contact between the supralunar and the sublunar realms is effected through the emanation of the intelligibles from the active intellect (the intellect of the tenth sphere, that of the moon) to the human intellect, which is then actualized, and on occasion to the imaginative or representative faculty, bringing about prophecy and divination.

In his philosophy of the individual and society, noetics is again central to Fārābī’s hierarchical system. He sees human happiness in the life of the intellect, or in the actualization of the human intellect, which is to be understood as the life of philosophical reflection. As he states in the closing paragraph of his exposition on Aristotle’s philosophy, “Investigation and theoretical inquiry into the intelligibles which are of no benefit for the soundness of the body and the soundness of the senses are necessary for the perfection of man,” which he goes on to define as the actualization of man’s intellect. Of the various sciences studied in philosophy, Fārābī continues, metaphysics is “necessary for the development, as a city-dweller, of his intellect, for the sake of which man is made, while all other sciences are investigated . . . in order for the human intellect, for the sake of which man is made, to be made perfect” (translated according to the sounder text of Fārābī’s Falsafat Aresṭū quoted in ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf Baḡdādī’s Ketāb al-naṣīḥatayn, MS. Bursa, Hüseyin Çelebi 823, f. 87r; cf. Mahdi, 1969, p. 130). The human intellect, for the sake of which man is made, is specified in this passage as belonging to a “city-dweller” (madanī) because man needs the social organization of a city in order to meet his physical needs and to attain perfection (Mabādeʾ in Walzer, 1985, p. 229). In the Mabādeʾ Fārābī describes the man who has reached perfection as he who “has become actually intellect and actually being thought” (Walzer, 1985, p. 241).

This is in accordance with Aristotle’s description of human happiness as the contemplative life (Nicomachean Ethics X) or of the divine as intellect engaged in perpetual self-intellection (Metaphysics XII) but it is particularly close (especially with its emphasis on the lack of practical benefit in philosophical reflection) to Aristotle’s theory of leisure as the end of both individual and social activity (Politics VII.15, 1334a11-b28). Within that context, it is also close to his statement that intellect is the end of nature: “In men, reason (logos) and mind (or intellect: nous) are the end towards which nature strives, so that the birth and training in custom of the citizens ought to be ordered with a view to them” (Politics 1334b15-17, in Jowett’s translation in Barnes, p. 2117). Consequently, human communities, which Fārābī classifies hierarchically in accordance with the principles of the “tree of Porphyry” listed above (Maróth 1978; in greater detail, Maróth 1994, pp. 215-22; cf. Pines, pp. 156-60; Rosenthal), attain or fall short of perfection to the extent to which their rulers and inhabitants are able to actualize their intellects, receive the intelligibles, and hold the correct opinions as required by the philosophical sciences and revelation (Mabādeʾ, chaps. 15-19 in Walzer, 1985, pp. 229-329, and esp. pp. 277-85).

Fārābī’s discussion of human communities is subordinate to his noetics and intended to complete it by working out, in the interests of a classificatory comprehensiveness also exhibited in other parts of the Mabādeʾ, all the details of a highly hierarchical system; there is no question here of an independent political philosophy. The always perspicacious Ebn Ḵaldūn (q.v.), as the conscious originator of political philosophy in Islam, recognized that Fārābī’s discussion was based on noetics; he says that by sīāsa madanīya (the title of one of Fārābī’s works) “the philosophers mean the disposition of soul and character which each member of a social organization must have, if, eventually, people are completely to” have no need of “rulers.” They call the social organization that fulfills these requirements the ‘ideal city’ (al-madīna al fāżela, part of the title of Fārābī’s Mabādeʾ). The norms observed in this connection are called ‘political utopias’"(sīāsa madanīya). Accordingly Ebn Ḵaldūn dismissed the theory as irrelevant to real life and as something “rare and remote” (Moqaddema II, tr. F. Rosenthal, p. 138).

The absence of an independent political philosophy in Fārābī’s work is to be expected. In neither Athenian Neoplatonism, nor Alexandrian neo-Aristotelianism, the twin sources of Fārābī’s philosophy, was Plato’s and Aristotle’s political philosophy an integral part (Walzer, 1985, pp. 425-26), while the actual political ideas in the Byzantine world from Justinian to Fārābī’s time (Dvornik, chaps. 11, 12) are completely alien to Fārābī’s analysis. Besides, the focus on noetics is also reflected in the title of the Mabādeʾ: it is not, as it is often elliptically but misleadingly referred to, the “excellent city,” but “the principles of the opinions of the people of the excellent city.” Subsequent philosophical tradition in Islam well understood the noetic basis of the work; philosophers who adopted Fārābī’s system dispensed with his classification of human communities as an inconsequential appendage. It was only in the tradition of the aḵlāq (q.v.) books written in Persian and Turkish, which followed the Aristotelian tripartition of practical philosophy into ethics, oeconomics, and politics, that Fārābī’s classification of human communities found a place to fill in the section on politics. This tradition was inaugurated by Naṣīr-al-Dīn Ṭūsī’s Aḵlāq-e nāṣerī, which was followed in both Persian and Turkish by similar works of Davānī (q.v.), Wāʿeẓ Kāšefī, Qenālīzāda ʿAlī, etc. This apart, Fārābī’s classification of communities had no influence either in Islam or the West (Gutas, 1990, pp. 357, 354).

The various discrete Greek sources of Fārābī’s philosophical system and of the Mabādeʾ in particular have been identified and analyzed by Walzer (1971 and 1985), but this work as a whole and especially its conception must be regarded as original to Fārābī himself (cf. Mahdi, 1990). Within Islam, Fārābī’s system was taken up by Avicenna, who further developed and refined it to create a philosophy that was to remain dominant in the East. In the West, it influenced both Arabic Andalusian (Jewish and Muslim) and Latin European philosophy. Fārābī’s achievement is that he was the first philosopher who succeeded to internationalize Greek philosophy by creating in a language other than Greek a complex and sophisticated system far surpassing the elementary efforts of both the early medieval Latins and his Syriac predecessors. As such, he stands at the head of all subsequent philosophers who made Greek philosophy Western philosophy.


Bibliography (Apart from references cited in the article, the bibliography also lists works which deal with Greek antecedents of Fārābī’s philosophy. For cited works not given in detail, see “Short References”):

S. B. Abed, Aristotelian Logic and the Arabic Language in Alfārābī, Albany, N.Y., 1991.

ʿA. Badawī, ed., Manṭeq Aresṭū III, Cairo, 1952.

J. Barnes, The Complete Works of Aristotle, Princeton, 1984.

C. S. F. Burnett, ed., Glosses and Commentaries on Aristotelian Logical Texts, London, 1993.

Th.-A. Druart, “Al-Farabi and Emanationism,” in J. F. Wippel, ed., Studies in Medieval Philosophy, Washington, D.C., 1987, pp. 23-43.

F. Dvornik, Early Christian and Byzantine Political Philosophy, Washington, D.C., 1966.

Ebn Ḵaldūn, The Muqaddimah, tr. F. Rosenthal, Princeton, 1967.

G. Endress, “Mattā b. Yūnus,” in EI2 VI, pp. 844-46.

Idem, “«La Concordance entre Platon et Aristote», l’Aristote arabe et l’émancipation de la philosophie en Islam médiéval,” in B. Mojsisch and O. Pluta, eds., Historia Philosophiae Medii Aevi, Amsterdam and Philadelphia, 1991, pp. 237-57.

J. Finnegan, “Al-Fārābī et le Peri Nou d’Alexandre d’Aphrodise,” in Mélanges Louis Massignon II, Damascus, 1957, pp. 133-52.

A. Gotthelf and J. G. Lennox, eds., Philosophical Issues in Aristotle’s Biology, pt. II on ‘Definition and Demonstration: Theory and Practice,’ Cambridge, 1987, pp. 65-198.

D. Gutas, “Paul the Persian on the Classification of the Parts of Aristotle’s Philosophy: A Milestone between Alexandria and Baġdād,” Der Islam 60, 1983, pp. 231-67.

Idem, “The Starting Point of Philosophical Studies in Alexandrian and Arabic Aristotelianism,” in W. W. Fortenbaugh, ed., Theophrastus of Eresus: On His Life and Work, New Brunswick, N. J. and Oxford, 1985, pp. 115-23.

Idem, “Ethische Schriften im Islam,” in W. Heinrichs, ed., Neues Handbuch der Literaturwissenschaft V: Orientalisches Mittelalter, Wiesbaden, 1990, pp. 346-65.

Idem, “Aspects of Literary Form and Genre in Arabic Logical Works,” in C. S. F. Burnett, ed., Glosses and Commentaries on Aristotelian Logical Texts, London, 1993, pp. 29-76.

Idem, “Galen’s Synopsis of Plato’s Laws and Fārābī’s Talḫīsá,” in R. Kruk and G. Endress, eds., The Ancient Tradition in Christian and Islamic Hellenism, Leiden, l997, pp. 101-19.

Idem, Greek Thought, Arabic Culture, London, l998.

C. Hein, Definition und Einteilung der Philosophie, Frankfurt, Bern, and New York, 1985.

H. Hugonnard-Roche, “Les traductions du grec au syriaque et du syriaque à l’arabe,” in Rencontres de cultures dans la philosophie médiévale: Traductions et traducteurs de l’antiquité tardive au XIVe siècle, Louvain-la-Neuve and Cassino, 1990, pp. 131-47.

Idem, “Remarques sur la tradition arabe de l’Organon d’après le manuscrit Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, Ar. 2346,” in Burnett, 1993, pp. 19-28.

J. Jolivet, “L’intellect selon al-Fārābī: quelques remarques,” Bulletin d’Études Orientales 29, 1977, pp. 251-59.

M. Mahdi, “Alfarabi against Philoponus,” JNES 26, 1967, pp. 233-60.

Idem, Alfarabi’s Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, Ithaca, N. Y., 1969.

Idem, “Al-Fārābī’s Imperfect State,” JAOS 110, 1990, pp. 691-726.

M. Maróth, “Griechische Theorie und orientalische Praxis in der Staatskunst von al-Fārābī,” Acta Antiqua 26, 1978, pp. 465-69.

Idem, Die Araber und die antike Wissenschaftstheorie, Budapest and Leiden, l994.

S. Pines, “Aristotle’s Politics in Arabic Philosophy,” Israel Oriental Studies 5, 1975, pp. 150-60.

E. I. J. Rosenthal, Political Thought in Medieval Islam, Cambridge, 1968, pp. 122-42.

R. Sorabji, ed., Aristotle Transformed, London, 1990.

R. Walzer, “New Studies on al-Kindī,” Oriens 10, 1957, pp. 203-32, repr. in idem, Greek into Arabic, pp. 175-205.

Idem, “Al-Fārābī’s Theory of Prophecy and Divination,” Journal of Hellenic Studies 77, 1957, pp. 142-48 (repr. in idem, Greek into Arabic, pp. 206-19).

Idem, Greek into Arabic, Oxford, 1962. Idem, “Al-Fārābī,” in EI2 II, pp. 778-81.

Idem, “L’éveil de la philosophie musulmane,” REI 38, 1970, pp. 7-42, 207-42.

Idem, “Early Islamic Philosophy,” in A. H. Armstrong, ed., The Cambridge History of Later Greek and Early Medieval Philosophy, Cambridge, 1970, pp. 652-66.

Idem, “Lost Neoplatonic Thought in the Arabic Tradition,” in Le Néoplatonisme, Paris, 1971, pp. 319-28.

Idem, “Aristotle’s Active Intellect, nous poiētikos, in Greek and Early Islamic Philosophy,” in Plotino e il neoplatonismo in Oriente e in Occidente, Rome, 1974, pp. 423-36.

Idem, ed. and tr., Al-Farabi on the Perfect State: Abū Naṣr al-Fārābī’s Mabādiʾ ārāʾ ahl al-madīna al-fāḍila, Oxford, 1985.

F. W. Zimmermann, “Some Observations on al-Farabi and Logical Tradition,” in S. M. Stern, A. Hourani, V. Brown, eds., Islamic Philosophy and the Classical Tradition [Festschrift Richard Walzer], Oxford, 1972, pp. 517-46.

Idem, “Al-Farabi und die philosophische Kritik an Galen von Alexander zu Averroes,” Akten des VII Kongresses für Arabistik und Islamwissenschaft, Göttingen, 1976, pp. 401-14.

Idem, Al-Farabi’s Commentary and Short Treatise on Aristotle’s "De Interpretatione", London, 1981.

(Dimitri Gutas)

Originally Published: December 15, 1999

Last Updated: January 24, 2012

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