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  • Janne Mattila (a1)


Abū Bakr al-Rāzī (d. 925) and al-Fārābī (d. 950) both adopt the classical ideal of a philosophical way of life in the sense that being a philosopher implies certain ethical guidelines to which the philosopher should adhere. In both cases, moreover, their ethical writings appear to reflect a certain tension with respect to what the ethical goal of the philosopher consists of. In this study, I will argue that this apparent tension is relieved when their ethics is understood as a progression in a double sense. In the first sense, both authors adopt the Neoplatonic distinction between pre-philosophical and philosophical ethics. The second aspect of the progression takes place within the degree of virtue required of the philosopher, which for al-Rāzī and al-Fārābī proceeds in contrary directions. For al-Rāzī, the philosopher progresses from the moderately ascetic requirements of Spiritual Medicine to the higher license present in Philosophical Life, following the stages of the life of Socrates. In contrast, for al-Fārābī the progression follows roughly along the Neoplatonic grades of virtue from Aristotelian moderation, which in Exhortation to the Way to Happiness is connected with character training in a pre-philosophical sense, towards purely contemplative existence.

Abū Bakr al-Rāzī (mort en 925) et al-Fārābī (mort en 950) adoptent tous deux l'idéal classique d'un mode de vie philosophique, au sens où être philosophe implique de respecter une certaine éthique. Dans le cas de ces deux auteurs, leurs écrits sur l’éthique reflètent en outre une certaine tension vis-à-vis de ce qui constitue l'objectif éthique du philosophe. Dans cette étude, je montrerai que cette tension apparente s'estompe lorsque leur éthique est comprise comme une progression entendue en un double sens. Au premier sens, les deux auteurs adoptent la distinction néo-platonicienne entre éthique pré-philosophique et éthique philosophique. Le second aspect de la progression porte quant à lui sur le degré de vertu qui est attendu du philosophe – et qui, pour al-Rāzī et al-Fārābī, s'oriente dans des directions opposées. Pour al-Rāzī, le philosophe se hisse des exigences ascétiques modérées de la Médecine spirituelle vers celles plus élevées de la Vie philosophique, en suivant les pas de Socrate. Au contraire, pour al-Fārābī, la progression suit à peu près les stades néo-platoniciens de la vertu, partant de la modération aristotélicienne, liée, dans l’Exhortation au bonheur, à la formation du caractère au sens pré-philosophique, pour tendre vers une existence purement contemplative.


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1 See Hadot, Pierre, Exercices spirituels et philosophie antique, 2nd edn (Paris, 1987) and id., Qu'est-ce que la philosophie antique? (Paris, 1995).

2 Hadot's idea is broader than this, such as in his concept of philosophy as a spiritual exercise, but the present study is restricted to exploring only this ethical aspect.

3 This is in itself a very Aristotelian idea, as in Aristotle's statement (Nicomachean Ethics, 1103b26–28) that the goal of ethics as a discipline is not theoretical, that is, knowledge about virtue, but practical, that is, becoming virtuous.

4 See, for example, Miskawayh (d. 1030) in Degrees of Happiness (Tartīb al-saʿādāt) (cited in Gutas, Dimitri, “Paul the Persian on the classification of the parts of Aristotle's philosophy: a milestone between Alexandria and Baġdâd,” Der Islam, 60.2 (1983): 231–67, p. 232): “Whoever wishes to perfect himself as a human being … let him acquire these two arts – I mean the theoretical and practical parts of philosophy; as a result, there will accrue to him the essential natures of things by means of the theoretical part, and good deeds by means of the practical part.”

5 For the adoption of the Platonic maxim in Alexandrian and Islamic contexts, see Hein, Christel, Definition und Einteilung der Philosophie: Von der spätantiken Einleitungsliteratur zur arabischen Enzyklopädie (Frankfurt am Main, 1985), pp. 99100, 116.

6 See Druart, Thérèse-Anne, “Al-Farabi on the practical and speculative aspects of ethics,” in Bazán, B. Carlos, Andújar, Eduardo, and Sbrocchi, Léonard G. (eds.), Les philosophies morales et politiques au Moyen Âge, Actes du IXe Congrès international de philosophie médiévale, Ottawa, du 17 au 22 août 1992 (New York, Ottawa, and Toronto, 1995), vol. I, pp. 476–85; id., “The ethics of al-Razi (865–925?),” Medieval Philosophy and Theology, 6 (1997): 47–71; id., “Al-Fārābī, ethics, and first intelligibles,” Documenti e studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale, VIII (1997): 403–23.

7 Hence, Simplicius (d. c. 560) (cited from Sorabji, Richard, The Philosophy of the Commentators, 200–600 AD. A Sourcebook. Volume 1: Psychology (with Ethics and Religion) [London, 2005], p. 323 ) states: “Perhaps, then, there is every need of an ethical pre-catechism, but not supplied through Aristotle's Ethics, but through habituation without texts, and through non-technical exhortations, both written and unwritten, to straighten our character, and after that the logical and demonstrative method. After those, we shall be able to take in scientifically the scientific discussions of character and research into reality.”

8 See Dillon, John, “Plotinus, Philo and origen on the grades of virtue,” in Blume, Horst-Dieter and Mann, Friedhelm (eds.), Platonismus und Christentum: Festschrift für Heinrich Dörrie, Jahrbuch für Antike und Christentum, suppl. 10 (Münster, 1983), pp. 92105 ; O'Meara, Dominic J., Platonopolis: Platonic Political Philosophy in Late Antiquity (Oxford, 2003), pp. 40ff.; Sorabji, The Philosophy of the Commentators, pp. 337ff. The distinction between the grades of ‘political’ (politikai) and ‘purificatory’ (kathartikai) virtue is made by Plotinus in Enneads, I.2, but is developed into considerably more elaborate classifications by the later Neoplatonists.

9 The two treatises are edited in Rasāʾil falsafiyya (Opera philosophica), ed. Kraus, Paul (Cairo, 1939), pp. 1596 (Spiritual Medicine) and pp. 98–111 (Philosophical Life). There is an English translation for the first treatise in Arberry, Arthur J., The Spiritual Physick of Rhazes (London, 1950) and a French translation in Razi, La médecine spirituelle, tr. Brague, Rémi (Paris, 2003). The second treatise has been translated, most recently, in McGinnis, Jon and Reisman, David C. (eds.), Classical Arabic Philosophy: An Anthology of Sources (Indianapolis and Cambridge, 2007), pp. 3643 .

10 Rasāʾil falsafiyya, p. 108.

11 It seems to be the case that al-Rāzī understands the practical part of philosophy to consist only of the actions, and relegates theoretical reflection of ethics to the theoretical part, as suggested by Adamson, Peter, “The Arabic tradition,” in Skorupski, John (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Ethics (New York, 2010), pp. 6375, at p. 65.

12 Rasāʾil falsafiyya, p. 101 (translation cited from McGinnis and Reisman, Classical Arabic Philosophy, p. 38).

13 Ibid ., p. 108 (translation cited from McGinnis and Reisman, Classical Arabic Philosophy, p. 42).

14 See in particular Bar-Asher, Meir M., “Quelques aspects de l’éthique d'Abū-Bakr al-Rāzī et ses origines dans l’œuvre de Galien,” Studia Islamica, 69 (1989): 538 .

15 See Bar Asher, “Quelques aspects,” pp. 26ff.; Druart, “The ethics of al-Razi”, pp. 56–59.

16 Druart, “The ethics of al-Razi.” Adamson proposes a similar distinction, between an initial stage where the lower soul is subjected to reason, and a stage of philosophical morality, which is motivated by neither pleasure nor desire to avoid pleasure. See Peter Adamson, “Abū Bakr al-Rāzī (d. 925), the spiritual medicine,” in Khaled el-Rouayheb and Sabine Schmidtke (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Philosophy (Oxford, forthcoming).

17 Rasāʾil falsafiyya, p. 42.

18 For al-Rāzī’s view of pleasure, see Adamson, Peter, “Platonic pleasures in Epicurus and al-Rāzī,” in Adamson, Peter (ed.), In the Age of al-Fārābī: Arabic Philosophy in the Fourth/Tenth Century (London and Turin, 2008), pp. 7194 .

19 Rasāʾil falsafiyya, p. 71 (translation cited with modifications from Arberry, Spiritual Physick, p. 76).

20 See Druart, “The ethics of al-Razi” and Adamson, “Abū Bakr al-Rāzī (d. 925), the spiritual medicine.” Both works include the doctrine of the mean, knowledge and justice as man's ethical end, and the idea that pleasures should be discarded to the degree that they are harmful to some higher end.

21 Rasāʾil falsafiyya, p. 20.

22 Ibid ., p. 21.

23 Ibid ., p. 24. While refusing to take an explicit stand on the immortality of the soul in Spiritual Medicine, it is the first ethical principle of Philosophical Life (p. 101; McGinnis and Reisman, Classical Arabic philosophy, p. 38): “we have a state after death that is either praiseworthy or blameworthy, depending on the way we lived during the time our souls were with our bodies.”

24 Ibid ., p. 30.

25 For al-Rāzī’s view of the soul, see Druart, Thérèse-Anne, “Al-Razi's conception of the soul: psychological background to his ethics,” Medieval Philosophy and Theology, 5 (1996): 245–63.

26 Rasāʾil falsafiyya, p. 29.

27 Ibid ., pp. 26–7.

28 Ibid ., pp. 53–4, 87–8, 90–1. The argument here is in fact based on a hedonistic calculus, since the pleasure brought by higher states of status or wealth is only transient, overweighed by the trouble expended in the effort of gaining it.

29 Ibid ., p. 71 (passage quoted above).

30 Ibid ., pp. 65–6. While not having the attachments in the first place is the optimal case, al-Rāzī also offers advice for treating the sorrow caused by their loss, such as preparing oneself by visualizing the loss of one's children before it happens, and arguments for dissipating the sorrow after it has happened. This “therapeutics” of the soul seems to be ultimately Stoic in origin, although it is probably mediated to al-Rāzī by Galen. For the Galenic strand of ethics in Arabic philosophy, see Strohmaier, Gotthard, “Die Ethik Galens und ihre Rezeption in der Welt des Islams,” in Barnes, Jonathan and Jouanna, Jacques (eds.), Galien et la Philosophie (Genève, 2003), pp. 307–29; Adamson, “Arabic tradition,” pp. 69ff. and id., “Health in Arabic ethical works,” in Peter Adamson (ed.), Health. Oxford Philosophical Concepts (Oxford, forthcoming).

31 Rasāʾil falsafiyya, pp. 35ff.

32 Ibid ., p. 46.

33 Ibid ., pp. 74ff. While the main argument is that sexual desire is a powerful passion that enslaves reason, al-Rāzī also cites the harmful effects of sexual intercourse for the bodily health. In another, purely medical, treatise on the subject, al-Rāzī, however, also lists its beneficial effects besides the harmful ones. See Peter Pormann, “Al-Rāzī (d. 925) on the benefits of sex: a clinician caught between philosophy and medicine,” in Vrolijk, Arnoud and Hogendijk, Jan P. (eds.), O ye Gentlemen: Arabic Studies on Science and Literary Culture, In Honour of Remke Kruk (Leiden and Boston, 2007), pp. 115–27.

34 Rasāʾil falsafiyya, pp. 73–4.

35 Ibid ., pp. 99–100.

36 For the Arabic Socrates, who was often blended together with the Cynic philosopher Diogenes, see Alon, Ilai, Socrates in Medieval Arabic Literature, Islamic Philosophy, Theology, and Science, 10 (Leiden and Jerusalem, 1991).

37 Rasāʾil falsafiyya, pp. 101–2.

38 Ibid ., p. 107 (translation cited from McGinnis and Reisman, Classical Arabic Philosophy, p. 42).

39 Ibid ., pp. 105–6.

40 Ibid ., pp. 106–7 (translation cited with modifications from McGinnis and Reisman, Classical Arabic Philosophy, pp. 41–2).

41 Ibid ., p. 102.

42 Ibid ., p. 107.

43 Ibid ., p. 101.

44 Druart, “The ethics of al-Razi,” p. 57, suggests a similar possibility of a pedagogical device where the beginner is urged towards the opposite of his natural tendency, in the hope of his ending up in moderation.

45 Rasāʾil falsafiyya, p. 32. See also p. 21: “He who wants to perfect this virtue must habituate his soul to the fighting of desire.”

46 Ibid ., p. 22. Al-Rāzī repeats the same principle in Philosophical Life (p. 102) (cited with modifications from McGinnis and Reisman, Classical Arabic Philosophy, p. 39): “But the philosopher will often forego many of these permitted pleasures for the sake of training (yumarrin) and habituating (yuʿawwid) his soul to resistance, so that when it becomes necessary he will find that easier and more effortless, as we wrote in our Spiritual Medicine.”

47 This may be compared with the ambivalent attitude of Avicenna's philosopher, at the end of his ethical and intellectual progression ( Ishārāt wa-al-tanbīhāt, ed. Dunya, Sulayman, 2nd edn (Cairo, 1968), IV, pp. 107–8): “For the knower (ʿārif), asceticism (qashaf) may appear as equal to luxury, or he may prefer asceticism. Similarly, malodorous may appear to him as equal to fragrant, or he may prefer the malodorous. This is because in his mind he despises everything other than the Truth.”

48 Rasāʾil falsafiyya, p. 100 (translation cited with modifications from McGinnis and Reisman, Classical Arabic Philosophy, p. 37).

49 Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa, ʿUyūn al-anbāʾ fī ṭabaqāt al-aṭibbāʾ, 2, ed. August Müller (Cairo, 1882), p. 134. See Philippe Vallat, Farabi et l’École d'Alexandrie: Des prémisses de la connaissance à la philosophie politique (Paris, 2004), p. 23, note 4, for understanding the cryptic expressions “water of the hearts of Aries” (māʾ qulūb al-ḥumlān) and “divine wine” (al-khamr al-rayḥānī) as abstention from meat and wine, as opposed to, for example, Guerrero, Rafael Ramón, “Apuntes biográficos de al-Fārābī según sus vidas árabes,” Anaquel de estudios árabes, 14 (2003): 231–8, p. 232, who translates them as “nourishment with lambs’ internals and fruit juices.”

50 Falsafat Aflāṭūn, Plato Arabus, 2, Alfarabius De Platonis Philosophia, ed. Richard Walzer (Nendeln, 1979), p. 19. The treatise is translated in Mahdi, Muhsin (tr.), Alfarabi's Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle (New York, 1962), pp. 5167 .

51 L'harmonie entre les opinions de Platon et d'Aristote: Texte arabe et traduction, ed. and tr. Najjar, Fawzi M. and Mallet, Dominique (Damascus, 1999), §§8–11, pp. 6771 ; L'armonia delle opinioni dei due sapienti, il divino Platone e Aristotele, ed. and tr. Bonadeo, Cecilia Martini (Pisa, 2008), pp. 41–2. The treatise is translated into English in Alfarabi, The Political Writings: Selected Aphorisms and Other Texts, tr. Butterworth, Charles E. (Ithaca and London, 2001), pp. 115–67. Lameer, Joep in Al-Fārābī and Aristotelian Syllogistics: Greek Theory and Islamic Practice (Leiden, New York, and Köln, 1994) (pp. 30–9) and Rashed, Marwan in “On the authorship of the treatise On the Harmonization of the Opinions of the Two Sages attributed to al-Fārābī,” Arabic Sciences and Philosophy, 19 (2009): 4382 argued against the attribution of Jamʿ to al-Fārābī on mainly doctrinal grounds, the latter suggesting Ibrāhīm Ibn ʿAdī, or some other author related to the circle of Yaḥyā Ibn ʿAdī, instead. While the question is of no major importance here, there is no scholarly agreement to reject its authenticity. For the scholarly views defending the authenticity of the treatise see Mallet's introduction to his edition (pp. 37–40, 42–5), the preface by Endress and introduction by Bonadeo in the latter's edition, and the discussion in Janos, Damien, Method, Structure, and Development in al-Fārābī’s Cosmology (Leiden and Boston, 2012), pp. 238ff.

52 Risāla fī-mā yanbaghī an yuqaddam qabla taʿallum al-falsafa, in Alfarabi's Philosophische Abhandlungen, ed. Friedrich Dieterici (Leiden, 1890), §4, p. 53. Gutas has shown that al-Fārābī’s prolegomena is a rather faithful adaptation of the Alexandrian introductions to Aristotle's philosophy. See Gutas, Dimitri, “The starting point of philosophical studies in Alexandrian and Arabic aristotelianism,” in Fortenbaugh, William W., Huby, Pamela M., and Long, Anthony A. (eds.), Theophrastus of Eresus: On His Life and Work (New Brunswick, 1985), pp. 115–24.

53 Fuṣūl muntaza‘a, ed. Najjar, Fauzi (Beirut, 1986), §98, p. 100. The work is translated in Alfarabi, The Political Writings, pp. 1–67.

54 Taḥṣīl al-saʿāda, ed. Jaʿfar Āl Yāsīn (Beirut, 1983), §§62–64, pp. 94–7. The work is translated in Alfarabi's Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, pp. 13–50.

55 Druart, “Al-Farabi on the practical and speculative aspects of ethics,” p. 476 and id., “Al-Fārābī, ethics, and first intelligibles,” p. 414.

56 Risāla fī-mā yanbaghī, §3, p. 53. The relevant passage is translated in Druart, “Al-Farabi on the practical and speculative aspects of ethics,” p. 476.

57 Taḥṣīl al-saʿāda, §62, pp. 94–5 (translation cited from Alfarabi's Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, p. 48). See The Republic (VI, 485b).

58 Al-Fārābī states in various works that moral virtue is the result of habituation, that is, learned, even if some people are naturally more endowed to “learn” virtue than others. See Fuṣūl muntazaʿa, §§9–13, pp. 30–4; Kitāb al-Tanbīh ʿalā sabīl al-saʿāda, §7, in Al-Fārābī, Al-Aʿmāl al-falsafiyya, ed. Āl Yāsīn, Jaʿfar (Beirut, 1987), pp. 227–65, at pp. 235–6. The latter treatise is translated into English in McGinnis and Reisman, Classical Arabic Philosophy, pp. 104–20 and into French in Mallet, Dominique, “Le rappel de la voie à suivre pour parvenir au bonheur de Abū Naṣr al-Fārābī: Introduction, traduction et notes,” Bulletin d’Études Orientales, 39–40 (1987–88): 113–40. See also the discussion in L'harmonie (§§42–46, ed. Najjar and Mallet, pp. 108–17) on the inborn versus learned nature of moral dispositions (akhlāq).

59 Taḥṣīl al-saʿāda, §63, pp. 95–6 (translation cited from Alfarabi's Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, p. 48).

60 Risāla fī-mā yanbaghī, §5, p. 53.

61 Fuṣūl muntazaʿa, §94, pp. 95–6.

62 Ibid ., §94, p. 98.

63 Taḥṣīl al-saʿāda, §49, p. 81: “For every existent has been formed in order to attain the ultimate perfection (aqṣā al-kamāl) that it may attain in accordance with its specific grade (rutba) within existence. Man's specific perfection is called ultimate happiness (al-saʿāda al-quṣwā), and that of each individual man varies in accordance with his grade in humanity, and this is the ultimate happiness specific to that genus (of men).”

64 Falsafat Arisṭūṭālīs, ed. Mahdi, Muhsin (Beirut, 1961), p. 68 .

65 Al-Farabi on the Perfect State: Abū Naṣr al-Fārābī’s Mabādi’ ārā’ ahl al-madīna al-fāḍila, ed. and tr. Walzer, Richard (Oxford, 1985), p. 208 .

66 Fuṣūl muntazaʿa, §98, pp. 100–1.

67 Al-Fārābī asserts the existence of ethical primary intelligibles in various works, as discussed by Druart in “Al-Fārābī, ethics, and first intelligibles,” which enables the rather un-Aristotelian notion of demonstrative ethics.

68 See Kitāb al-Tanbīh, §2, in Al-Aʿmāl al-falsafiyya, p. 229, for the assertion that people agree about happiness as the highest end of man, but disagree about its contents. Al-Fārābī’s ignorant cities (al-madīna al-jāhiliyya) are, moreover, distinguished from the virtuous city by their identification of happiness with some form of false happiness, such as pleasure, wealth, honor, or power. See Al-Farabi on the Perfect State, pp. 254–6.

69 Al-Farabi on the Perfect State, p. 228; Taḥṣīl al-saʿāda, §16, p. 61; Kitāb al-Siyāsa al-madaniyya al-mulaqqab bi-mabādiʾ al-mawjūdāt, ed. Najjar, Fauzi (Beirut, 1986), p. 69.

70 See Taḥṣīl al-saʿāda, §23, pp. 65–6; §47, pp. 79–80; Kitāb al-Milla wa-nuṣūs ukhrā, ed. Mahdi, Muhsin (Beirut, 2001), p. 59. See also Druart, “Al-Farabi on the practical and speculative aspects of ethics.”

71 Falsafat Aflāṭūn, p. 19.

72 See Kitāb al-Milla, p. 47.

73 See Fuṣūl muntazaʿa, §1–5, pp. 23–6, §21, p. 39; Kitāb al-Milla, pp. 56–9. It is instructive of al-Fārābī’s emphasis on the political context of ethics that he shifts the classical metaphor of philosophy or ethics as medicine of the soul to the political level. For the classical metaphor, see Nussbaum, Martha, The Therapy of Desire: Theory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics (Princeton, 1994), pp. 1377 , and for its employment in Arabic philosophy in the non-political sense, see Adamson, “Arabic tradition,” pp. 69–71 and id., “Health in Arabic ethical works.”

74 Kitāb al-Tanbīh, §§9–10, in Al-Aʿmāl al-falsafiyya, pp. 237–43; Fuṣūl muntazaʿa, §8, p. 30, §§18–20, pp. 36–9. In addition, there is a short ethical text attributed to al-Fārābī, Jawāmiʿ al-siyar al-marḍiyya fī iqtināʾ al-faḍāʾil al-insiyya, edited in Hans Daiber, “Prophetie und Ethik bei Fārābī (gest. 339/950),” in Christian Wenin (ed.), L'homme et son univers au Moyen Âge, Actes du septième congrès international de philosophie médiévale (30 août – 4 septembre 1982), vol. 2, Philosophes médiévaux, 27 (Leuven and Paris, 1986), pp. 729–53. This text presents human virtue in terms of the Platonic cardinal virtues. But as Daiber himself asserts it is of uncertain authenticity, and is not mentioned by any of the bibliographers.

75 Kitāb al-Tanbīh, §10, in Al-Aʿmāl al-falsafiyya, p. 241. See also Nicomachean Ethics (I, 1094b13ff.) for Aristotle's assertion of the imprecise nature of ethics.

76 Kitāb al-Tanbīh, §§11–13, in Al-Aʿmāl al-falsafiyya, pp. 243–8.

77 See Druart, “Al-Fārābī, ethics, and first intelligibles,” pp. 410–12.

78 Al-Fārābī on the Perfect State, pp. 204–6. A similar definition of happiness is given in Risāla fī al-ʿaql, ed. Maurice Bouyges (Beirut, 1938), p. 31 and Kitāb al-Siyāsa al-Madaniyya, p. 32: “The function of the Active Intellect is to watch over the rational animal and endeavor to have him reach the highest level of perfection that man can reach, namely, ultimate happiness, which is for man to arrive at the level of the Active Intellect. The way that this occurs is by becoming separate from bodies, without needing anything below (whether it be body or matter or accident) in order to subsist, and by remaining in that state of perfection forever.”

79 Risāla fī al-ʿaql, p. 31. See Davidson, Herbert Alan, Alfarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes on Intellect: Their Cosmologies, Theories of the Active Intellect, and Theories of Human Intellect (New York, 1992), pp. 44ff., for al-Fārābī’s somewhat divergent accounts of the intellect.

80 This is stated explicitly in Fuṣūl muntazaʿa (§81, pp. 86–7): “For this [the soul dispensing with the bodily faculties] pertains only to the soul specific to the human being, namely, the theoretical intellect. For when it reaches this state, it becomes separated from the body regardless of whether that body is living in that it is nourished and has sense perception, or whether the faculty by which it is nourished and by which it perceives has already been abolished. For if it no longer needs sense perception or imagination in any of its actions, it has already reached the afterlife.”

81 See the passage quoted in the previous note.

82 Alfarabi on the Perfect State, p. 206.

83 See Alfarabi, The Political Writings (p. 25, note 22) for the manuscripts supporting this reading, as opposed to the one chosen by Najjar and Dunlop, Douglas M., Al-Fārābī, Fuṣūl al-madanī, Aphorisms of the Statesman (Cambridge, 1961), p. 39 : “The last results to us not in this life but in the afterlife.”

84 Fuṣūl muntazaʿa, §28, pp. 45–6.

85 Al-Fārābī seems to be using the terms first and second perfection (kamāl) here differently from their usual technical epistemological sense (see Alfarabi on the Perfect State, pp. 204–6). Normally he identifies first perfection (al-istikmāl al-awwal) with the initial stage of the intellect where it possesses only the primary intelligibles (al-maʿqūlāt al-uwal) that make theoretical thought possible. The second perfection is identified with the stage of acquired intellect, or fully actualized thought, which al-Fārābī again identifies with ultimate happiness. Although first perfection is what enables the attainment of second perfection, or happiness, here al-Fārābī defines first perfection in terms of virtue, rather than in epistemological terms.

86 Fuṣūl muntazaʿa, §75, p. 82. In an introduction to Eisagōgē, attributed to al-Fārābī, and translated in Dunlop, Douglas M., “The existence and definition of philosophy. From an Arabic text ascribed to al-Fārābī,” Iraq, 13, no. 2 (1951): 7694 , al-Fārābī does, however, explicate the Platonic definition of philosophy as “practice for death” as follows (p. 89): “We say that death and life for the philosophers are of two kinds: natural death and death of the will, natural life and life of the will. Natural death is separation of the form from the matter, I mean of the soul from the body, death of the will is a man's killing his desires and making his intellectual faculty victorious and rendering it, as it were, king in his body, ruling over all the bodily faculties and regulating their actions.” To attenuate this, however, later on he cites the Platonic cardinal virtues as means between excessive and defective dispositions (p. 92).

87 See Taḥṣīl al-saʿāda, §49, p. 81.

88 O'Meara, Platonopolis, pp. 73ff.

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