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In this chapter we discuss, first, how the Arabic logicians up to the end of the tenth century took over Greek material and added to it material of their own and how they reshaped the subject of logic in the process. We have included references to the young Averroes, although he wrote in the twelfth century, inasmuch as he belongs in the tradition of al-Fārābī (d. 950). After this we turn to the formal innovations of Avicenna's in the early eleventh century. Many of the questions that we discuss are treated also in Street (2004).
THE GREEK LOGICAL HERITAGE
Arabic logic as a branch of philosophy was heir to ancient Greek logic, and it belonged essentially to the Peripatetic tradition. Arabic grammar, Islamic jurisprudence and Islamic disputative theology (kalām) developed independent methods of reasoning and inevitably there was some interaction between these methods and those of logic as a philosophical discipline. This interaction ranged from conflict to absorption. The Greek Peripatetic logic was embodied in Aristotle's logical texts, which later became known as the Organon, together with the commentaries on them by Roman Empire scholars of various philosophical persuasions. These commentaries were the product of an activity which had run for eight centuries when the Arab philosophers became aware of it.
The Arabic Organon was in fact the extended Organon first contemplated in Late Antiquity, which began with Porphyry's Isagoge as an introduction and went on to include Aristotle's Rhetoric and Poetics. But what was only programmatic in Late Antiquity became a reality for the Arabic logicians. They conceived the Organon as embodying a system of logic. The formal heart of the system lay in its third book, the Prior Analytics, which aims to give the general theory of reasoning or of the syllogism (qiyās). The first two treatises, i.e. Categories (although its place here was challenged, in particular by Avicenna) and On Interpretation, are preparatory to the formal part. The remaining volumes adapt the theory of reasoning to different fields of human activity: to scientific activity, but also to social fields of communication. Logic as providing a method for science was the object of Aristotle's Posterior Analytics, while logic as providing a tool in order to systematise various fields of social communication was the object of the rest of the books of the Organon.
Aristotle’s Topics, and especially, as far as the subject of this study is concerned, their central books (II-VII), played a role of central importance both in the medieval Latin and in the Arabic logical tradition. This did not occur without transformations, which affected the nature and the function of the loci of which these books set forth the theory. One of the most visible signposts of this tradition of re-elaboration of the Topics is represented by Themistius (ob. c. 388), to whom both Boethius and Averroes refer. Yet no work by Themistius on the Topics has come down to us in Greek. With a view to reconstructing the work(s) of this author, we have here collected and translated the passages that are attributed to him explicitly (with the exception of one of them) in Averroes’ Middle Commentary on the Topics, comparing them, where necessary, to the testimonies collected by Boethius in his De topicis differentiis. In addition – and this is a new element added to the file – we show that the Themistian classification of loci was taken up by Abū al-Barakāt al-Baġādī (ob. after 1164), author of a philosophical summa entitled al-Kitāb al-mu‘tabar (The meditated book). These three testimonies are all the more precious in that they are independent of one another. The study of the chapter in the logical part of al-Kitāb al-mu‘tabar, containing the Themistian classification of loci, of which a corrected text with translation is offered, shows that one finds in it some of the most singular aspects of this classification, as it appears in Boethius. Abū al-Barakāt al-Baġādī thus reveals himself to be closer than Averroes to the testimony of Boethius. This suggests the idea of a double redaction by Themistius of the classification of loci: one, more concentrated, comes from an introduction to the paraphrase of the central books of the Topics, which may have inspired Averroes; the other, more extensive, which will have been part of an original work, and inspired the classifications of Boethius and of Abū al-Barakāt al-Baġādī.
A part of chapter 1, Book II of the Physics of the šif¯' is dedicated to the aristotelian definition of motion (Physics III, 1, 201a10-11). The developments to which the treatment of this question gives rise are distinctive of the Avicennian style in his Physics. By assuming the notion of double entelechy, Avicenna is following the most classical exegetical tradition. However, by setting a correspondence between the double entelechy and the double notion of motion: 1) motion as an intermediary state, which can be ascribed to a moving object at any instant of its trajectory, and 2) motion as a traversal of a given distance, which cannot be ascribed to the moving object, but at the end-point of its trajectory, Avicenna gives a new content to a lieu commun of the exegetical tradition.
In this paper, are included new data about three treatises ascribed in Arabic to Alexander of Aphrodisias. These treatises were thought to have no Greek correspondent. The author shows that one of them, (D.8a), is an adapted version – following the norms of “al-Kindi circle” – of Quaestio I 21, along with the later and more exact version of this Quaestio by Abū ‘Uṭmān al-Dimašqi (d. 900). He shows also that the two other treatises (D.9 and D.16) are, in contradistinction to the first, adapted versions of passages belonging in the De Aeternitate mundi contra Proclum of John Philoponus: respectively IV, 4–6 and IX, 11. Philoponus’ book was known to have been translated, into Arabic. But, except for some short fragments in al-Bīrūnī (d. 1048), it seems that it is the first time that important adapted extracts of it are put in light. Some points are made about the historical position of the epitomator of these passages. In Appendix II, another treatise ascribed to Alexander (D.27g) appears – provisionally – as a composite text, mixing elements coming from Philoponus and others from neoplatonic texts in Arabic. In Appendix III is analysed the use of D.16 by Miskawayh (d. 1030), and the use of D.27g by ‘Abdallaṭīf al-Baġdādī (d. 1231).
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