Alfarabi was raised as a young boy in Baghdad. His early life was spent
studying the art of linguistics, philosophy, and logic. His teachers were
Syrian Christians experts in Greek philosophy. He studied Aristotle and Plato in
detail, and it became evident in his later writings that they were a strong
influence on him. He became quite a prolific writer, and he wrote more than 100
works, many of which have unfortunately been lost including his a lot of his
commentaries on Aristotle. He was one of the earliest Islamic thinkers to
transmit to the world of his time the doctrines of Plato and Aristotle. He is
considered by many to be the founder of an authentic philosophy. His writings
created a lot of support, debate, and controversy. He contributed materials on
the proof of the existence of the First Principle, and on the theory of
emanation, as well as the theory of knowledge, in addition to his commentaries
on Greek philosophers.
The Greek influence is clearly present in his works, especially with his
Opinions of the Inhabitants of a Virtuous City, where he laid down a
philosophical, religious, and social system for the humanity at large; a system
that sought to break barriers and facilitate relations among people and nations.
This work sounded very similar to the work presented by Plato in Plato's
Republic. They both took into consideration the matter of city/state, who was
to govern, who was to be governed, how this governing was to take place, how it
was to be enforced, and so on. It also appears clear that he was influenced
greatly by Aristotle. This influence is present in his "Doctrine of the
Intellect". The Doctrine of the intellect was Alfarabi's approach to giving his
own interpretation to the intellect.
There are strong similarities between Alfarabi's Doctrine of the
Intellect and Aristotle's "Four Causes". Needless to say that they each are
comprised of four stages, but the stages seem very similar, they seem to be
representative of one another, almost to the point of defining one another. It
will be demonstrated that Alfarabi used Aristotle's "Four Causes" to derive and
support the Doctrine of the Intellect. Alfarabi draws off of Ar...
... middle of paper ...
... of Alfarabi, then it is clear that there was a strong Aristotelianism
influence on Alfarabi. This is evident in several of the writings such as in his
mentions of the four senses, intellect in potentiality, intellect in actuality,
acquired intellect, and with the agent intellect. There are several other
writings that are credited to Alfarabi that were based on Plato and Aristotle,
so there is no real reason to assume that these writings were not those of
It appears that Alfarabi uses the basic principles of Aristotle and has
applied them to his principles of the Doctrine of the Intellect in order to
rationalize his philosophy. Alfarabi was a philosopher that grabbed new ideas
and harnessed them with some of the greatest philosophical minds known to man.
He took Aristotle to a new level, doesn't any true philosopher? He embodied the
thoughts of previous minds, and united them with his own and became a very
powerful influence on Islamic philosophy.
It is clear that Aristotle was used to develop his Doctrine of the
Intellect. The similarities, the context, and the rational are too similar to
belong to anyone else.
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