Article ID: CBB744520719

The Ethical Progression of the Philosopher in al-Rāzī and al-Fārābī (2017)

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Abū Bakr al-Rāzī (d. 925) and al-Fārābī (d. 950) both adopt the classical ideal of a philosophical way of life in the sense that being a philosopher implies certain ethical guidelines to which the philosopher should adhere. In both cases, moreover, their ethical writings appear to reflect a certain tension with respect to what the ethical goal of the philosopher consists of. In this study, I will argue that this apparent tension is relieved when their ethics is understood as a progression in a double sense. In the first sense, both authors adopt the Neoplatonic distinction between pre-philosophical and philosophical ethics. The second aspect of the progression takes place within the degree of virtue required of the philosopher, which for al-Rāzī and al-Fārābī proceeds in contrary directions. For al-Rāzī, the philosopher progresses from the moderately ascetic requirements of Spiritual Medicine to the higher license present in Philosophical Life, following the stages of the life of Socrates. In contrast, for al-Fārābī the progression follows roughly along the Neoplatonic grades of virtue from Aristotelian moderation, which in Exhortation to the Way to Happiness is connected with character training in a pre-philosophical sense, towards purely contemplative existence., RésuméAbū Bakr al-Rāzī (mort en 925) et al-Fārābī (mort en 950) adoptent tous deux l'idéal classique d'un mode de vie philosophique, au sens où être philosophe implique de respecter une certaine éthique. Dans le cas de ces deux auteurs, leurs écrits sur l’éthique reflètent en outre une certaine tension vis-à-vis de ce qui constitue l'objectif éthique du philosophe. Dans cette étude, je montrerai que cette tension apparente s'estompe lorsque leur éthique est comprise comme une progression entendue en un double sens. Au premier sens, les deux auteurs adoptent la distinction néo-platonicienne entre éthique pré-philosophique et éthique philosophique. Le second aspect de la progression porte quant à lui sur le degré de vertu qui est attendu du philosophe – et qui, pour al-Rāzī et al-Fārābī, s'oriente dans des directions opposées. Pour al-Rāzī, le philosophe se hisse des exigences ascétiques modérées de la Médecine spirituelle vers celles plus élevées de la Vie philosophique, en suivant les pas de Socrate. Au contraire, pour al-Fārābī, la progression suit à peu près les stades néo-platoniciens de la vertu, partant de la modération aristotélicienne, liée, dans l’Exhortation au bonheur, à la formation du caractère au sens pré-philosophique, pour tendre vers une existence purement contemplative.

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Authors & Contributors
Freudenthal, Gad
Streetman, W. Craig
Lizzini, Olga
Richter-Bernburg, Lutz
De Smet, Daniel
Gleede, Benjamin
Journals
Arabic Sciences and Philosophy
Bruniana & Campanelliana: Ricerche Filosofiche e Materiali Storico-testuali
European Legacy
Apeiron: Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science
Llull: Revista de la Sociedad Española de Historia de las Ciencias y de las Técnicas
Publishers
Warburg Institute, Univ. of London
Klasik Yayınları
John Wiley & Sons
Concepts
Aristotelianism
Arab/Islamic world, civilization and culture
Philosophy
Neoplatonism
Logic
Platonism
People
al-Fārābī, Abū Naṣr Muḥammd ibn Muḥammad
Aristotle
al-Rāzī, Muḥammad ibn Zakariyyā
Galen
Avicenna
Plato
Places
Europe
Middle and Near East
Andalusia (Spain)
Spain
Italy
Times
Medieval
10th century
Renaissance
12th century
Ancient
17th century
Institutions
Jesuits (Society of Jesus)
Université de Montpellier
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