Download An Islamic Philosophy of Virtuous Religions: Introducing by Joshua Parens PDF

By Joshua Parens

Explores the method of peaceable non secular coexistence provided by way of Alfarabi, the best Islamic political thinker.

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Extra info for An Islamic Philosophy of Virtuous Religions: Introducing Alfarabi

Sample text

Almost from the moment of the virtuous city’s inception, the combination of the courage of warrior and statesman and the wisdom of the philosopher is problematic. 19 I review the context within which this problem first appears so that we might grasp the depth of this fissure. To grasp justice in the soul of the individual in Rep. 2, Socrates proposes that he and his interlocutors, Glaucon and Adeimantus, construct a just (or virtuous) city in speech. Adeimantus, the brother with less eros, joins with Socrates to envision a peaceable, pastoral “city” of necessity—a city that is not yet quite a city because it merely lives in accordance with small appetites rather than living well, as Aristotle puts it.

More importantly, an attentive look at the references to piety reveals a highly plastic bit of equipment. In the previous quote, although Alfarabi acknowledges eventually that the philosopher must adapt to the religion of his community, he begins with the claim that the religion must suit the innate excellence of the philosopher. Perhaps the most important deviation from Rep. 6 in this list of the innate equipment of the potential philosopher is Alfarabi’s reference to his love of toil. This claim, made for the first time in Rep.

Our discussion of Alfarabi’s familiarity with the Republic will seek to forestall such a line of interpretation. At the same time that we inquire into Alfarabi’s familiarity with the Republic, we will find problems that appeared significant in the Republic, such as the tension between being a stalwart king and warrior and a philosopher, grow to enormous proportions in Alfarabi’s AH. After all, as the regime grows, the need to divide labor and delegate authority only increases. Virtues that might have seemed upon first reading to be in harmony in the Republic show just how at odds they can be in AH.

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