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USER: Who is the founder of Islamic philosophy?

Islamic philosophy is a unique blend of religious beliefs and philosophical inquiry that has been shaping the minds of people for centuries. At the heart of this rich intellectual tradition lies the question of who the founder of Islamic philosophy is. This may come as a surprise to many, but the answer is not as straightforward as one might think. In fact, the roots of Islamic philosophy can be traced back to the very early days of Islam, and it is a testament to the dynamism and openness of the Islamic intellectual tradition that it has evolved and thrived over the centuries. Join us as we explore the fascinating history and evolution of Islamic philosophy and discover the many contributions of its pioneering thinkers.

The Influence of Islamic Philosophy on Western Thought

The Islamic Golden Age

The Emergence of Islamic Philosophy

During the Islamic Golden Age, Islamic philosophy emerged as a distinct intellectual tradition, drawing on the philosophical and scientific knowledge of ancient Greece, India, and China, as well as the Islamic theological and legal traditions. This period, which lasted from the 8th to the 13th century, was marked by significant advances in philosophy, science, mathematics, medicine, and other fields.

The Life and Teachings of Prophet Muhammad

The emergence of Islamic philosophy was deeply influenced by the life and teachings of Prophet Muhammad, who preached a message of monotheism, social justice, and compassion. His teachings emphasized the importance of reason and critical thinking, and encouraged Muslims to seek knowledge and wisdom from a variety of sources.

The Development of Islamic Theology

The development of Islamic theology also played a significant role in the emergence of Islamic philosophy. Early Islamic theologians, such as al-Ghazali and Ibn Rushd, sought to reconcile reason and revelation, and to develop a comprehensive understanding of the nature of God and the universe. They developed sophisticated arguments and debates, and their works were widely studied and debated throughout the Islamic world.

The Contributions of Islamic Philosophy to Western Thought

Islamic philosophy also made significant contributions to Western thought, particularly during the European Middle Ages. Islamic scholars translated many of the works of ancient Greek and Indian philosophers, and these translations were widely studied and influential in the development of European philosophy. Islamic philosophy also had a profound impact on the development of European mathematics, science, and medicine.

The Translation of Islamic Philosophical Texts

One of the most significant contributions of Islamic philosophy to Western thought was the translation of many of the works of ancient Greek and Indian philosophers into Arabic. These translations, which were made by Islamic scholars in the 8th and 9th centuries, included works by Aristotle, Plato, and other Greek philosophers, as well as works by Indian philosophers such as Nagarjuna and Sankara.

The Influence of Islamic Philosophy on Medieval European Philosophy

Islamic philosophy had a profound impact on the development of European philosophy during the Middle Ages. Many European philosophers, such as Thomas Aquinas and Dante, were heavily influenced by the works of Islamic philosophers, particularly those of Ibn Rushd (Averroes) and al-Ghazali. Islamic philosophy also had a significant impact on the development of European mathematics, science, and medicine, particularly through the works of Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) and Ibn Sina (Avicenna).

The Impact of Islamic Philosophy on Contemporary Thought

The Revival of Interest in Islamic Philosophy

The renewed interest in Islamic philosophy can be attributed to the works of several key scholars who have dedicated their careers to the study and interpretation of Islamic philosophy. Scholars such as Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Muhammad Iqbal, and Fazlur Rahman have contributed significantly to the field of Islamic philosophy, and their works have sparked a revival of interest in the subject among both scholars and the general public.

The Works of Key Scholars

Seyyed Hossein Nasr, an Iranian scholar, has written extensively on the subject of Islamic philosophy, highlighting its relevance to contemporary issues. His work, “Islamic Philosophy: An Introduction,” provides a comprehensive overview of the subject, discussing its historical development, key concepts, and relevance to contemporary thought. Similarly, the works of Muhammad Iqbal, a Pakistani philosopher and poet, have also played a significant role in the revival of interest in Islamic philosophy. Iqbal’s book, “The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam,” offers a unique perspective on the relationship between Islam and philosophy, highlighting the need for a reconciliation between the two.

The Importance of Islamic Philosophy in Understanding Contemporary Issues

The renewed interest in Islamic philosophy is not merely academic; it has practical implications for understanding contemporary issues. The rise of extremist ideologies, religious intolerance, and global conflicts has led many to seek alternative perspectives that can promote peace, understanding, and harmony. Islamic philosophy, with its emphasis on reason, ethics, and spirituality, offers a unique framework for addressing these issues. By studying Islamic philosophy, individuals and communities can gain a deeper understanding of the moral and ethical dimensions of Islam, which can help to promote greater tolerance and mutual respect among different cultures and faiths.

Overall, the revival of interest in Islamic philosophy is a testament to its enduring relevance and significance. As the world faces increasingly complex challenges, the insights and perspectives offered by Islamic philosophy can provide valuable guidance for individuals and communities seeking to build a more peaceful and harmonious world.

The Key Concepts of Islamic Philosophy

Key takeaway:
Islamic philosophy, also known as Arabic philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that developed in the Islamic world during the medieval period. It was heavily influenced by the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, who emphasized the importance of reason and critical thinking. The development of Islamic theology, particularly the works of early Islamic theologians such as al-Ghazali and Ibn Rushd, also played a significant role in the emergence of Islamic philosophy. Islamic philosophy made significant contributions to Western thought, particularly during the European Middle Ages, through the translation of many of the works of ancient Greek and Indian philosophers. The revival of interest in Islamic philosophy in contemporary times is attributed to the works of key scholars such as Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Muhammad Iqbal, and Fazlur Rahman.

The Nature of God

The Concept of Tawhid

  • Tawhid is the Islamic concept of the oneness of God, which is the cornerstone of Islamic theology and philosophy.
  • It refers to the belief in the unity and uniqueness of God, who is the creator, sustainer, and controller of the universe.
  • Tawhid encompasses two aspects: the oneness of God’s essence and the oneness of God’s actions.
The Oneness of God
  • The oneness of God’s essence means that there is only one God, who is indivisible and has no partners or associates.
  • This belief is central to Islamic monotheism and is expressed in the declaration of faith, “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.”
  • The oneness of God’s essence is further reinforced by the Islamic understanding of God’s attributes, which are considered to be eternal, unchangeable, and incomparable.
The Attributes of God
  • The attributes of God refer to the qualities or characteristics that are ascribed to God in Islamic theology and philosophy.
  • These attributes include omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence, which are understood as part of God’s essence and are not considered to be separate from it.
  • The attributes of God are not considered to be limited by space or time and are believed to be infinite and perfect.
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The Relationship between God and the Universe

  • The relationship between God and the universe is a central theme in Islamic philosophy.
  • Islamic philosophy posits that God is the creator and sustainer of the universe and that all things exist by His will.
  • The relationship between God and the universe is further explored in the Islamic concept of predestination, which holds that all events are part of God’s plan and occur according to His will.
The Role of God in the Creation of the Universe
  • The Islamic belief in the role of God in the creation of the universe is central to Islamic theology and philosophy.
  • According to Islamic teachings, God created the universe out of nothing, and all things exist by His will.
  • The Islamic understanding of creation emphasizes the unity and uniqueness of God and the dependence of all things on Him.
The Interaction between God and Human Beings
  • The interaction between God and human beings is a central theme in Islamic philosophy.
  • Islamic philosophy posits that God is the source of all guidance and wisdom and that human beings can attain knowledge and understanding through their relationship with Him.
  • The interaction between God and human beings is further explored in the Islamic concept of revelation, which holds that God reveals His guidance and wisdom to human beings through prophets and scripture.

The Nature of Human Beings

The Concept of Adam

The concept of Adam in Islamic philosophy is rooted in the Islamic belief in the creation of human beings by Allah. According to Islamic tradition, Adam was the first human being created by Allah and was given the responsibility of being a vicegerent on earth. In Islamic philosophy, Adam is seen as the representative of humanity and the source of all human beings.

The Creation of Adam

The story of the creation of Adam in Islamic philosophy is similar to that in the Quran and Hadith. According to Islamic tradition, Allah created Adam from clay and then breathed life into him. Adam was then placed in Paradise and given the responsibility of ruling over the earth.

The Role of Adam in Islamic Philosophy

In Islamic philosophy, Adam’s role as the first human being and the representative of humanity is seen as significant. He is seen as the source of all human beings and the one who established the relationship between humans and Allah.

The Nature of the Human Soul

The Concept of the Soul in Islamic Philosophy

The concept of the soul in Islamic philosophy is based on the belief in the existence of the soul and its connection to the body. The soul is seen as the essence of life and the source of consciousness and thought.

The Relationship between the Soul and the Body

In Islamic philosophy, the relationship between the soul and the body is seen as interdependent. The body is seen as the vehicle for the soul and the soul is seen as the source of life for the body. The relationship between the soul and the body is seen as a partnership in which both work together to achieve the ultimate goal of serving Allah.

The Relationship between God and Human Beings

The Concept of Justice

The Importance of Justice in Islamic Philosophy

Justice is a central concept in Islamic philosophy, which emphasizes the importance of maintaining fairness and balance in all aspects of human life. In Islamic philosophy, justice is seen as a fundamental moral virtue that is essential for creating a just and equitable society. It is believed that justice is not only necessary for maintaining social harmony but also for ensuring that individuals are able to fulfill their duties and responsibilities to God and to one another.

The Relationship between Justice and the Concept of Tawhid

In Islamic philosophy, the concept of justice is closely linked to the concept of Tawhid, which refers to the oneness of God. According to this belief, justice is possible only when individuals recognize the ultimate authority of God and submit to His will. It is believed that the concept of Tawhid provides a framework for understanding the relationship between God and human beings, and that justice is an essential aspect of this relationship.

The Concept of Freedom

The Relationship between Freedom and Responsibility

In Islamic philosophy, the concept of freedom is closely linked to the concept of responsibility. It is believed that individuals have a responsibility to use their freedom in a way that is consistent with the will of God, and that this responsibility is an essential aspect of human life. According to this belief, freedom without responsibility is meaningless, and responsibility without freedom is impossible.

The Role of Freedom in Islamic Philosophy

In Islamic philosophy, freedom is seen as a necessary condition for human beings to fulfill their duties and responsibilities to God and to one another. It is believed that freedom allows individuals to make choices and to act on their own behalf, and that this ability is essential for human growth and development. However, it is also believed that freedom must be balanced with responsibility, and that individuals must use their freedom in a way that is consistent with the moral and ethical principles of Islam.

The Key Texts of Islamic Philosophy

The Quran

The Role of the Quran in Islamic Philosophy

The Quran, as the central religious text of Islam, holds a pivotal position in the development of Islamic philosophy. It serves as a primary source of wisdom and guidance for Muslims, and its teachings have significantly influenced the intellectual and philosophical traditions of Islam.

The Quran as a Source of Wisdom and Guidance

The Quran contains numerous verses that touch upon philosophical topics such as the nature of God, the purpose of human existence, and the concept of knowledge. These verses provide a foundation for Islamic philosophy and serve as a source of inspiration for philosophers and scholars in the Islamic world.

One example of a philosophical verse from the Quran is the following: “And He has not given you a religious law which He did not give to those before you, and neither did He give you a Book before you. And when it is a dead letter, you say, ‘We shall follow nothing but our first manner of life’.” (Quran 2:141) This verse highlights the importance of critical thinking and intellectual inquiry in the Islamic tradition, emphasizing the need to question and reflect upon religious teachings.

The Relationship between the Quran and the Hadith

In addition to the Quran, the Hadith, or the sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad, also play a crucial role in Islamic philosophy. The Hadith provides context and explanation for the teachings of the Quran, offering insight into the practical application of its philosophical principles.

For instance, the Hadith of Gabriel, also known as the Hadith of the Prophet’s ascension to heaven, has been a subject of philosophical debate among Islamic scholars. This event is said to have provided the Prophet with a deeper understanding of God’s oneness and the nature of the divine. The interpretation and implications of this event have been explored by Islamic philosophers throughout history.

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Overall, the Quran serves as a cornerstone of Islamic philosophy, providing guidance and wisdom for Muslims and shaping the intellectual and philosophical traditions of the Islamic world.

The Hadith

The Hadith, a collection of sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad, serves as a vital source of Islamic philosophy. It is through the Hadith that scholars and philosophers seek to understand the Prophet’s teachings and his example, which forms the basis of Islamic ethics and law.

The Importance of the Hadith in Islamic Philosophy

The Hadith plays a central role in Islamic philosophy as it provides a means of understanding the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, which are considered to be crucial for guidance in all aspects of life. The Hadith also provides a foundation for the development of Islamic law and ethics, and it is often used to resolve conflicts between the Quranic text and the practical realities of daily life.

The Authenticity of the Hadith

One of the challenges in the study of the Hadith is determining its authenticity. Scholars have developed rigorous methods for evaluating the Hadith, including examining the chain of transmission, comparing different versions of the same Hadith, and analyzing the content of the Hadith itself. This process of evaluating the authenticity of the Hadith is essential for ensuring that the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad are accurately understood and applied.

The Role of the Hadith in Interpreting the Quran

The Hadith is also used to provide context and interpretation for the Quranic text. While the Quran is considered to be the primary source of Islamic philosophy, it is often difficult to understand its meaning without the context provided by the Hadith. The Hadith provides a wealth of information about the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, which helps to illuminate the meaning of the Quranic text. In this way, the Hadith serves as a critical tool for understanding the Quran and developing Islamic philosophy.

The Works of Key Philosophers

The Life and Works of Al-Farabi

Al-Farabi, also known as Alpharabius in the Western world, was a prominent Islamic philosopher who lived in the 9th century. He was born in Farab, a city located in modern-day Kazakhstan, and later moved to Baghdad to study and teach. Al-Farabi was a polymath who made significant contributions to various fields, including philosophy, logic, and music.

One of Al-Farabi’s most famous works is his commentary on Aristotle’s “Metaphysics,” which he titled “The Simplicity of the Existing One.” In this work, Al-Farabi defended the idea of a single, all-encompassing substance that governs the universe. He also wrote a book titled “The Perfect Man,” which outlines his concept of the ideal ruler and society.

The influence of Al-Farabi on Islamic philosophy cannot be overstated. He was one of the first Islamic philosophers to engage with Greek philosophy, and his works helped pave the way for the development of Islamic philosophy as a distinct intellectual tradition. His ideas were widely read and discussed throughout the Islamic world, and his works were translated into several languages.

The Influence of Al-Farabi on Islamic Philosophy

Al-Farabi’s emphasis on reason and the pursuit of knowledge had a profound impact on Islamic philosophy. His works helped to establish the importance of rational inquiry and empirical observation in the Islamic intellectual tradition. His ideas about the relationship between philosophy and religion were also influential, as he believed that reason could be used to understand religious truths.

The Relationship between Al-Farabi and Aristotle

Al-Farabi’s engagement with Aristotle’s philosophy was central to his intellectual project. He was deeply influenced by Aristotle’s works, particularly his metaphysical and ethical theories. Al-Farabi’s own ideas were often presented as a corrective to or extension of Aristotle’s thought. He was known for his careful and thorough commentaries on Aristotle’s works, and his interpretations of Aristotle’s ideas had a significant impact on the development of Islamic philosophy.

The Life and Works of Ibn Rushd (Averroes)

Ibn Rushd, also known as Averroes in the Western world, was a renowned Islamic philosopher who lived in the 12th century. He was born in Córdoba, Spain, and received a traditional Islamic education before going on to study and teach in several other cities in the Islamic world. Ibn Rushd was a prolific writer who produced works on a wide range of topics, including philosophy, theology, and law.

One of Ibn Rushd’s most famous works is his commentary on Aristotle’s “Nicomachean Ethics,” which he titled “The Moral Virtues and Intellectual Virtues.” In this work, Ibn Rushd provides a detailed analysis of Aristotle’s ethical theory and offers his own interpretations and critiques of the philosopher’s ideas.

The Influence of Ibn Rushd on Islamic Philosophy

Ibn Rushd’s contributions to Islamic philosophy were significant and wide-ranging. He was known for his emphasis on reason and the role of the intellect in human understanding. His works helped to establish the importance of philosophical inquiry in the Islamic intellectual tradition, and his ideas about the relationship between faith and reason were influential in the development of theology and philosophy in the Islamic world.

The Relationship between Ibn Rushd and Aristotle

Like Al-Farabi, Ibn Rushd was deeply engaged with Aristotle’s philosophy. He was known for his careful and detailed commentaries on Aristotle’s works, and his interpretations of Aristotle’s ideas had a significant impact on the development of Islamic philosophy. Ibn Rushd’s

The Legacy of Islamic Philosophy

The Influence of Islamic Philosophy on the Development of Science

The Contributions of Islamic Philosophy to Mathematics

Islamic philosophy has played a significant role in the development of mathematics. One of the most prominent figures in this field is Al-Khwarizmi, who is often referred to as the father of algebra. He developed a system of equations and algorithms that laid the foundation for modern algebra and mathematical theory.

The Works of Al-Khwarizmi

Al-Khwarizmi’s most famous work is “The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing,” which introduced the concept of algebra as a separate field of study. He developed a method for solving linear equations and demonstrated how to use quadratic equations to solve problems in geometry and astronomy.

The Contributions of Islamic Philosophy to Astronomy

Islamic philosophy also made significant contributions to astronomy. Muslim scholars built on the work of ancient Greeks such as Ptolemy and developed more accurate models of the solar system. One of the most notable achievements was the development of the astrolabe, an instrument used to measure the position of the stars and planets.

The Relationship between Islamic Philosophy and Modern Science

The influence of Islamic philosophy on modern science cannot be overstated. Many of the scientific principles and methods that we take for granted today were developed by Muslim scholars centuries ago.

The Influence of Islamic Philosophy on the Scientific Revolution

The scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries was heavily influenced by Islamic philosophy. The works of Ibn al-Haytham, for example, laid the foundation for the modern science of optics. His book “Book of Optics” presented a scientific approach to the study of vision and light, which was a major departure from the traditional Aristotelian view.

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The Role of Islamic Philosophy in the Development of Modern Medicine

Islamic philosophy also played a role in the development of modern medicine. Muslim scholars made significant contributions to the fields of anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology. One of the most notable figures in this field is Ibn Sina, who wrote the “Canon of Medicine,” a comprehensive medical encyclopedia that was used in Europe for centuries.

In conclusion, the influence of Islamic philosophy on the development of science cannot be overstated. Muslim scholars made significant contributions to mathematics, astronomy, optics, medicine, and many other fields. Their work laid the foundation for modern science and continues to influence scientists and philosophers today.

The Influence of Islamic Philosophy on Contemporary Thought

Islamic philosophy has had a profound impact on contemporary thought, particularly in the fields of theology and ethics. The influence of Islamic philosophy can be seen in various aspects of contemporary debates, providing valuable insights and perspectives that have shaped the way we understand these issues today.

The Importance of Islamic Philosophy in Understanding Islamic Theology

Islamic philosophy has played a crucial role in shaping Islamic theology, providing a framework for understanding the fundamental principles of the faith. The relationship between Islamic philosophy and Islamic theology is deeply intertwined, with philosophical concepts informing theological debates and vice versa.

One of the most significant contributions of Islamic philosophy to Islamic theology is the concept of tawil, which refers to the process of interpreting religious texts and concepts in a way that is relevant to contemporary society. This concept has been central to the development of Islamic theology, allowing scholars to engage with complex theological issues in a way that is both relevant and accessible to contemporary audiences.

The Relationship between Islamic Philosophy and Islamic Theology

The relationship between Islamic philosophy and Islamic theology is a complex one, with each informing the other in a cycle of mutual influence. Islamic philosophy provides a framework for understanding theological concepts, while Islamic theology in turn shapes the way we understand philosophical concepts.

For example, the concept of kalam, which refers to theological debate and speculation, has been heavily influenced by Islamic philosophy. The use of logical and philosophical methods in kalam has allowed scholars to engage with complex theological issues in a rigorous and systematic way, leading to significant advances in our understanding of Islamic theology.

The Influence of Islamic Philosophy on Contemporary Debates in Islamic Theology

Islamic philosophy has had a significant impact on contemporary debates in Islamic theology, providing a framework for understanding complex theological issues. One area where this influence is particularly evident is in the field of ijtihad, which refers to the process of independent reasoning and interpretation in Islamic law and theology.

Islamic philosophy has played a crucial role in shaping the methodology of ijtihad, with philosophical concepts such as rationalism and empiricism informing the way in which scholars approach theological issues. This has led to a rich and diverse tradition of theological debate and interpretation, with scholars drawing on a range of philosophical and theological sources to engage with complex issues in a nuanced and sophisticated way.

The Relevance of Islamic Philosophy to the Modern World

Islamic philosophy has relevance beyond the realm of theology, with its insights and perspectives offering valuable contributions to contemporary ethical debates and interfaith dialogue.

The Importance of Islamic Philosophy in Promoting Interfaith Dialogue

Islamic philosophy has played a crucial role in promoting interfaith dialogue, providing a framework for understanding the similarities and differences between Islam and other faiths. By engaging with philosophical concepts and debates that are shared across different religious traditions, Islamic philosophy has the potential to foster greater understanding and cooperation between different faiths.

The Role of Islamic Philosophy in Addressing Contemporary Ethical Issues

Islamic philosophy has also played a significant role in addressing contemporary ethical issues, providing a framework for understanding the moral and ethical dimensions of contemporary society. By engaging with philosophical concepts such as justice, equality, and human rights, Islamic philosophy has the potential to offer valuable insights and perspectives on these issues, contributing to a more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of ethical debates in the modern world.

FAQs

1. Who is the founder of Islamic philosophy?

Answer:

Islamic philosophy is a complex and diverse field that has been shaped by the contributions of many scholars and thinkers over the centuries. While there is no single founder of Islamic philosophy, the tradition can be traced back to the early Islamic period, which began in the 7th century CE with the revelation of the Quran. The Quran contains philosophical concepts and ideas that have influenced Islamic thought throughout history.
One of the most important figures in the development of Islamic philosophy is Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, who lived in the 11th century CE. Al-Ghazali was a Persian philosopher and theologian who wrote extensively on a wide range of topics, including epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and the nature of God. His works, such as the “The Revival of the Sciences of Religion” and the “The Incoherence of the Philosophers,” have had a profound impact on Islamic philosophy and continue to be studied and debated today.

2. What are the main branches of Islamic philosophy?

Islamic philosophy is a diverse and multifaceted tradition that encompasses a wide range of topics and approaches. Some of the main branches of Islamic philosophy include:
* Kalam: This branch of Islamic philosophy focuses on theological and philosophical questions related to God, such as His existence, attributes, and relationship to the world.
* Falsafa: This branch of Islamic philosophy is concerned with epistemology, metaphysics, and the study of nature. It is often associated with the works of the Greek philosophers and has been influenced by the thought of Aristotle, Plato, and other ancient philosophers.
* Tafsir: This branch of Islamic philosophy focuses on the interpretation of the Quran and the Hadith, or the sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad. Tafsir is an important field of study for understanding the meaning and significance of Islamic texts.
* Ethics: This branch of Islamic philosophy is concerned with moral and ethical questions, such as the nature of good and evil, the principles of justice, and the role of morality in human life.

3. How has Islamic philosophy influenced Western philosophy?

Islamic philosophy has had a significant impact on Western philosophy, particularly in the areas of metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. Many of the concepts and ideas developed by Islamic philosophers, such as the notion of free will and the importance of reason in understanding the world, have been taken up and expanded upon by Western philosophers.
In addition, the works of Islamic philosophers have been translated and studied by Western scholars, allowing for a deeper understanding of the history and development of philosophical thought. For example, the works of Ibn Rushd (Averroes) and Ibn Sina (Avicenna) have been widely read and discussed in the West, and their ideas have influenced the development of Western philosophy.
Overall, the influence of Islamic philosophy on Western philosophy is a testament to the richness and diversity of human thought and the ways in which different cultures and traditions can contribute to our understanding of the world.

What is Islamic philosophy? With Professor Peter Adamson

By sufp

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