Article ID: CBB001451154

Alfarabi on Conditionals (2014)


I examine the theory of conditional propositions (qa y šar iyya mutta ila) and conditional syllogisms (qiy s t šar iyya) in the logical works of Alfarabi (d. 950). I contextualize Alfarabi's logical doctrines related to conditional reasoning against the backdrop of the context-theory of logic, which was developed by Aristotle's ancient commentators. I show that Alfarabi thought that conditional propositions have truth-conditions. I provide conjectural truth-conditions for conditional propositions, and conjectural validity-conditions for connective conditional syllogisms. These truth-conditions and validity-conditions are shown to be sensitive to the pragmatic conditions in which conditional propositions and arguments are deployed. I end by suggesting that Alfarabi's logical pragmatism is a consequence of his adoption of the late antique context-theory of logic rather than a result of his developing Aristotle's formal syllogistic theory adumbrated in the Prior Analytics.

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Authors & Contributors
Aouad, Maroun
Schoeler, Gregor
Gutas, Dimitri
Yuan, Jinmei
Rochberg, Francesca
Thom, Paul
Arabic Sciences and Philosophy
History of Philosophy Quarterly
Vivarium: Journal for Mediaeval Philosophy and the Intellectual Life of the Middle Ages
Science in Context
Journal of the History of Philosophy
History and Philosophy of Logic
Warburg Institute, Univ. of London
Harvard University
Edizioni Cadmo
Arab/Islamic world, civilization and culture
Linguistics; philology
al-Fārābī, Abū Naṣr Muḥammd ibn Muḥammad
Erigena, Johannes Scotus
Ockham, William of
Burley, Walter
Wyclif, John
Middle and Near East
Andalusia (Spain)
10th century
12th century
14th century
13th century

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