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November 14 , 2008

Books of Definition in Islamic Philosophy

The Limits of Words


Islamic Philosophy has unusual origins. Originally a hybrid of Greek philosophy and early Islamic theology, its technical language consisted of a number of words translated from the Greek. This book studies how Islamic philosophers of the ninth century AD, such as al-Kindi, al-Farabi and Ibn Sina, developed an indigenous set of terms and concepts. Their Books of Definition influenced the revision of the Arabic language to incorporate these new fields of knowledge.
Books of Definition in Islamic Philosophy: The Limits of Words uses the work of these philosophers as a basis from which a comparison with their Greek precedents is enabled. The book presents a framework for incorporating an Islamic and historically contextualised philosophy into a continuum of world philosophers. At the core of this framework is Ibn Sina's Kitab al-hudud which the author has translated into English and situates it in its correct geopolitical framework. In establishing a historical and literary context for the writing and circulation of Ibn Sina's definitions, the book breaks new ground in the integration of Islamic philosophy within a general history of philosophies.
This fascinating and comprehensive study will be of interest to scholars and postgraduate students of Islamic Philosophy.
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