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Dictionary of Islamic Philosophical Terms (3)


Archimedes (C. 287-212 B.C.): Greek mathematician, physicist and engineer known especially for his work in mechanics and hydrostatics. Famous for the discovery of the principle that a body immersed in fluid loses in weight by an amount equal to the weight of the fluid displaced. Many of his works were well known to Muslim Philosophers through their Arabic translation and commentaries on them by Hunain ibn Ishaq (d. 246/877), al-Mahani (d. c.261-71 /874-84) and Yusuf al-Khuri (fl. 290-6/902-8).


TheOrganon (the organ or instrument for acquiring knowledge): a name given by the followers of Aristotle to the collection of logical treatises. The Organon originally consisted of 6 treatises: Categoriae (Qatighuriyas);DeInterpretatione (Bari Irminiyas);Analytica Priora (Analutiqa);Analytica Posteriora (Analutiqa Thani, q.v.); Topica (Tubiqa, q.v.); andSophistici Elenchi (Sufustiqa). The Muslim philosophers, however included 3 more treatises in their Arabic version of theOraganon, vizIsagoge (Isaghuji, q.v.), an introduction written by Porphyry (Firfuriyus);Rhetorica (Rituriqa.), Aristotle’s treatise on the art of public speaking; andPoetica (Buyutiq), a work on the art of Poetry.Al-arkan al-arba'ah:The four elements or roots: fire, air, water and earth of which all bodies in the world, mineral, plant, or animal are composed; this notion of the four elements was common to all Muslim Philosophers, but it originated with the Greek philosopher Empedocles (Anbadqulis) who was first to postulate it; more often the term used isal-‘anasir al-arba‘ah See alsoustuqussat.


Eternal without beginning as opposed to abad, eternal without end. See also abad.Al-as'ilat al-muta'addadah:The fallacy of many questions


Speusippus (fl. 348-339 B.C.): Greek philosopher, nephew, and disciple of Plato and after his death (348-347 B.C.) succeeded him as the head of the AcademyIstithna' al-raf'i:Negation of the consequent (tali) in the minor premise of a conditional conjunctive syllogism or negation of one of the alternatives in the minor premise of conditional disjunctive syllogism. See alsoal-shartiyat al-muttasilah andal-shartiyat al-munfasilah.

Istithna' al-wad'i:

Affirmation of the antecedent (muqaddam) in the minor premise of a conditional conjunctive syllogism or of one of the alternatives in the minor premise of the conditional disjunctive syllogism. See alsoal-shartiyat al-muttasilah andal-shartiyat al-munfasilah.Istihalah: Qualitative change in a body from one state or condition into another, e.g. water becoming hot after it was cold; also called harakah fi’l-kaifIstidlal: Reasoning in general but more specifically the mode of reasoning in which we proceed from the given facts or effects to the inference of their causes.


Capacity, i.e. power, actual (bi’l-fi‘l) or potential (bi’l-quwwah) possessed by a thing either to act in a certain manner or to suffer a certain change; it may be innate or acquired. The term is used by the Muslim Peripatetics more often in the metaphysical discussion of potentiality and actuality.Istiqra': Induction, i.e. arriving at a general conclusion or a universal proposition through the observation of particular instances, e.g. "All crow are black" or "All ruminants are cloven footed".

Al-istiqra' al-naqis:

Imperfect induction, i.e. the induction which does not fulfill the conditions of scientific induction, e.g. the statement: "All animals move their lower jaw which chewing food," which is falsified by the fact that the crocodiles in the chewing process move their upper jaw rather than the lower one.


Roots: a term of Greek origin for elements, i.e. fire, air, water and earth, more common theme in Muslim philosophy for which is'anasir. A subtle distinction however is sometimes made between the two terms. Ustuqussat is supposed to refer to the fact of composition or generation (kawn) of every natural body which is composed of roots whereas the term‘anasir refers to the possibility of its being decomposed or corrupted (fasad) again into separate elements.Asqalibiyus:Asclepius of Tralles: Greek philosopher and mathematician of the 6th Century C.E.; pupil of Ammonius (Amuniyus), wrote a commentary on Aristotle's metaphysics mentioned by al-Kindi.


Asclepidades ofBithynia: Greek physician of 1st century B.C. opposed Hippocrates (Buqrat) in his theory of disease.Iskandar Ifrudisi:Alexander of Aphrodisias: the peripatetic philosopher, head of the Lyceum between 198 and 211 C.E and one of the greatest commentators on Aristotle. Some of his commentaries are known now only through Arabic translation of them. He had a considerable influence on the development of Muslim Philosophers’ theory of intellect, though in the final form their version of this theory is much more subtle and sophisticated than Alexander of Aphrodisias and even Aristotle could possibly think of; see various kinds of ‘aql.


Perplexity felt in deciding between truth and falsity of a statement.Ishtirak al-hadd al-asqhar:The fallacy of ambiguous minor; see mughalatah ishtirak al-hadd al-asqhar.Ishtirak al-hadd al-akbar:The fallacy of ambiguous major; seemughalatah ishtirak al-hadd al-akbar.

Ishtirak al-hadd al-awsat:

The fallacy of ambiguous middle; see mughalatah ishtirak al-hadd al-aust.Ishtirak al-lafzi:Equivocation, particularly the ambiguous use of any one of the three terms of a syllogism (qiyas) see mughalatah ishtirak al-lafzi.

Isalat al-wujud:

"The principality of existence or being," i.e. the ontological priority of the being or existence (anniyah) of a thing to its quiddity or essence (mahiyah): a doctrine expounded by Mulla Sadrah (979-1050/1571-1649) as against the opposite view held by the Muslim Peripatetic philosophers. See alsomahiyah.Ashab al-buddawah:An expression used in Arabic religio-philosophical literature for the followers of Buddah who is himself sometimes named as Buda Yusuf.

Ashab al-Mazallah:

"The People of the Shaded Place," i.e. the Stoics, so called because the founder of the school ofStoicism, Zeno (fl. 308 B.C.), use to teach in a stoa (a porch) inAthens. The Stoics inculcated a complete control of one’s desires and appetites and indifference towards pleasure and pain, for thus alone could one become master of one’s self and attain virtue for virtue’s sake. All men, according to them are of one blood, of one family; and so one should treat others as "sacred beings". As for their view of the universe their doctrine is pantheistic. The teachings of the Stoics had a considerable influence on Muslim philosophical thinking, particularly in the field of logic. See also rawaqiyah.Aslah:"Most fitting or best," a thesis of Muslim theodicy that God does what is best for mankind.

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