Abstract

abstract:

This article reassesses the relationship between the tenth-century Muslim philosopher Abū al-Ḥasan al-'Āmirī (d. 992) and the pre-Socratic Greek thinker Empedocles. Earlier scholarship has focused on al-'Āmirī's popular work al-Amad (Afterlife), in which Empedocles, or rather a medieval construct known as pseudo-Empedocles or Empedocles arabus, is largely celebrated as a sage with Qur'ānic pedigree. By focusing for the first time on two largely unstudied treatises by al-'Āmirī, I argue that al-'Āmirī actually holds an overwhelmingly critical view of the authentic, historical Empedocles, a view formed through his engagement with arguments from Aristotle's Physics and On the Soul. Al-'Āmirī finds in Aristotle the evidence needed to ascribe to Empedocles an unorthodox position on material determinism and the role of providence in natural generation. Curiously, he is able to make similar accusations against Galen. This article also highlights al-'Āmirī's complicated position at the confluence of Neoplatonic metaphysics, Galenic physiology, and Aristotelian natural philosophy.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 429-456
Launched on MUSE
2021-07-22
Open Access
No
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