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BOOK REVIEWS 337 the contestant in a new version of the Homeric war games, but an educator concerned with the virtue of subjects whom he is eager to raise his level. Both authors try to make Aristotle alive for the modern world by drawing from him lessons about liberalism's inadequate attention to public and private virtue. Perhaps, on occasion, they more or less distort the Aristotle of the texts we have, but in so doing they may be heeding the injunction that Aristotle seems to give us throughout his own works: we must see as problems to be explored what others have taken as givens. ARLENE W. SAXONHOUSE University of Michigan, Ann Arbor John Walbridge. The Science of Mystic Lights: Qutb al-Din Shirazi and the IUuminationist Tradition in Islamic Philosophy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992. Pp. xvii + 296. Paper, $14.95. Although Qusb al-Din al-Shir~zi (1236-131 l) is well known as a scientist, one might wonder whether his philosophical output is significant enough to warrant the sort of treatment it receives in this book. Qusb aI-Din actually stands in a very interesting relationship to a number of great thinkers. He was the pupil of Na.sTr al-Din al-T.~tsT, the follower of both Avicenna and Suhrawardi, and also of Sadr al-Din al-Q~nawi, heavily in debt to the thought of lbn ~Arabi. In some ways, then, Qu~b al-Din was heir to the Peripatetic philosophy of Avicenna, the Illuminationist philosophy of Suhrawardi , and the mystical thought of Ibn 'Arabi. The author argues that it is the Illuminationist strand which is most significant in Qu.tb al-Din's thought, and it is this which is the main object of his interest in the book. Walbridge provides a good deal of historical background both to Qu~b al-Din as a person and to his intellectual context, but the main emphasis is on Suhrawardi's The Philosophy oflUumination and its influence upon Qu~b al-Din's The Pearly Crown. Towards the end of the book there is a translation, together with the text, of a short work which deals with issues concerning the soul and the world of the image, and it gives an indication of the sort of approach which Qutb al-Din follows in responding to those who are dubious of the principles of Illuminationist philosophy and the uses to which it may be put. The text is an appropriate one to use, since it represents Qu~b al-Din in the combative style which is so characteristic of him, and also shows him taking a very matter-of-fact approach to issues which others treat as mystical and esoteric. Walbridge has really written an excellent book. It is both scholarly and lively, and the reader who knows absolutely nothing about the area will find plenty of interest in it, as will the reader who is conscious of the history of the period of philosophy in question. Walbridge argues throughout the book, which is surely appropriate when considering the works of philosophers, and he insists on taking the thinkers at their own word, as meaning what they say. He refuses to follow the sort of approach initiated by Corbin which treats the mystical and esoteric aspects of Suhrawardi as though they were incapable of the sort of rational philosophical analysis which can be applied to Islamic philosophy of the Peripatetic tradition. It is always difficult to know how to 338 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 33:z APRIL 1995 characterize philosophers during this period, and one sometimes wonders how useful it is to attempt such characterization. Suhrawardi's connection with Peripateticism seems to be close, and yet it is far from clear that his Illuminationist philosophy is very distant from his Peripateticism. Since the latter was thoroughly mediated by Neoplatonism , it was always a rather unstable mixture of Aristotelian and Platonic doctrines, and as such could be taken in a variety of ways. What Qu.tb al-Din managed to do with Suhrawardi's ontology is adapt it so that it could incorporate science. According to the latter, everything which is not a concrete individual...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 337-338
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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