al-Kindi, Abu Yusuf Ya‘qub ibn Ishaq

(d. c. 252/866)
   Dubbed the ‘philosopher of the Arabs’, al-Kindi is the first major figure in the Islamic philosophical tradition. A polymath who wrote extensively on medicine, mathematics, music, astrology and optics as well as philosophy, al-Kindi lived in Baghdad during the great cultural and intellectual expansion of the ‘Abbasid caliphate and played a notable role in the Greco-Islamic translation movement that it sponsored through the ‘House of Wisdom’ (bayt al-hikma). He is believed to have encouraged and corrected the translation of Pseudo-Aristotle’s Theology, which was enormously influential among the falasifa and led many thinkers to interpret Aristotle in the light of Neoplatonic metaphysics.
   Of the 260 works al-Kindi is believed to have authored, only a small percentage survive. His key extant work is On First Philosophy (Fi al-falsafa al-ula), which appropriates numerous Aristotelian concepts, translating, refining and supplementing them to accommodate the new concerns of a world shaped by Islam. Particularly noteworthy is his defense of philosophy against those who attack it in the name of religion. Al-Kindi legitimizes the retrieval of Greek insights by arguing that we must pursue knowledge regardless of the source, and seize upon the truth wherever we find it. He goes on famously to argue for the compatibility of philosophy and religion. When the two do occasionally diverge, al-Kindi appears to privilege the latter over the former: for instance, he rejects Aristotle’s claims about the eternity of the world in favor of the Qur’anic creation ex nihilo model. However, his concerns are ultimately more explicitly philosophical than those of the theologians with whom he is sometimes affiliated (due to his rationalism, his conception of God as having no attributes, and his political affiliations, some scholars have cast him as a Mu‘tazilite). The aim of the philosopher, according to al-Kindi, is not only to attain the truth insofar as it is possible, but also to act in accordance with it. Accordingly, his philosophy has a strong practical dimension, and he espouses a form of ethical perfectionism that draws from Socrates and the Stoics, emphasizing control of the passions and the sufficiency of virtue for happiness. Al-Kindi’s importance in the Islamic philosophical tradition consists first and foremost in his ambitious retrieval of Greek learning, his defense of reason, and the formative role he played in forging a philosophical vocabulary in Arabic.
   Further reading: Adamson 2006; Atiyeh 1966/77; Druart 1993; al-Kindi 1974, 2002

Islamic Philosophy. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • KINDĪ, ABU YŪSUF YAʿQŪB IBN ISḤAQ AL-° — (805–873), most notable philosopher of the Arabs. Al Kindī is known to have written more than 270 works. His writings, many of them short treatises, deal with arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, astrology, pharmacology, meteorology, chemistry,… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Abd Al-Masih Ibn Ishaq Al-Kindi — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Masih. Pour le théologien musulman, voir Abū Yūsuf Ya’qūb ibn Ishāq al Kindī Abd al Masih ibn Ishaq al Kindi (serviteur du Messie, fils d’Isaac, du clan des Kind) est un personnage chrétien de l’Apologie d’al… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Abd al-Masih ibn Ishaq al-Kindi — For the Muslim theologian, see Abū Yūsuf Ya’qūb ibn Ishāq al KindīAbd al Masih ibn Ishaq al Kindi (Arabic,عبد المسيح ابن اسحاق الكندي )(English: servant of Messiah, son of Isaac, from the clan of Kindah ) is the alias of a Christian character in… …   Wikipedia

  • Abd al-Masih ibn Ishaq al-Kindi — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Masih. Pour le théologien musulman, voir Abū Yūsuf Ya’qūb ibn Ishāq al Kindī Abd al Masih ibn Ishaq al Kindi (serviteur du Messie, fils d’Isaac, du clan des Kind) est un personnage chrétien de l’Apologie d’al… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ibn ‘Adi, Yahya — (279–363/893–974)    A student of Matta ibn Yunus and al Farabi, the Syrian Monophysite Jacobite Christian Yahya ibn ‘Adi was one of the most respected logicians and influential intellectuals in the fourth/tenth century. He founded the… …   Islamic philosophy dictionary

  • Abu Sahl 'Isa ibn Yahya al-Masihi — al Jurjani (Persian: ابوسهل عيسى‌بن‌يحيى مسيحی گرگانی) was a Persian Christian physician,[1] from Gorgan, east of the Caspian Sea, in Iran. He was the teacher of Avicenna. He wrote an encyclopedic treatise on medicine of one hundred chapters (al… …   Wikipedia

  • Abū Ishāq Ibrāhīm al-Zarqālī — Arzachel redirects here. For other uses, see Arzachel (disambiguation). Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm ibn Yaḥyā al Naqqāsh al Zarqālī, Al Zarqali, Ibn Zarqala (1029–1087), Latinized as Arzachel, was an instrument maker and one of the leading theoretical and… …   Wikipedia

  • Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī — Al Biruni redirects here. For the lunar crater, see Al Biruni (crater). For the university, see Al Beroni University. Al Birunī (البیرونی) Alberonius An imaginary rendition of Al Biruni on a 1973 Afghan post stamp Full name Abū Rayḥān Muḥammad… …   Wikipedia

  • Al-Kindi — Abū Yūsuf Ya´qūb ibn Isḥāq al Kindī (en árabe, أبو يوسف يعقوب بن إسحاق الكندي) (Kufa, actual Irak, 801 Bagdad, 873). Al Kindi trabajó en filosofía, astrología, astronomía, cosmología, química, lógica, matemática, música, medicina, física,… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Al-Kindi — Abū Yūsuf Ya´qūb ibn Ishāq al Kindī (أبو يوسف يعقوب ابن إسحاق الكندي) (Kufa, actual Irak 801 Bagdad 873). Filósofo árabe. Hombre profundamente religioso, fue de los primeros que hicieron traducir al árabe la obra de Aristóteles, de quien recibió… …   Enciclopedia Universal

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.