An Islamic Philosophy of Virtuous Religions: Introducing Alfarabi

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SUNY Press, Jan 1, 2006 - Religion - 170 pages
Joshua Parens provides an introduction to the thought of Alfarabi, a tenth-century Muslim political philosopher whose writings are particularly relevant today. Parens focuses on Alfarabi s Attainment of Happiness, in which he envisions the kind of government and religion needed to fulfill Islam s ambition of universal acceptance. Parens argues that Alfarabi seeks to temper the hopes of Muslims and other believers that one homogeneous religion might befit the entire world and counsels acceptance of the possibility of a multiplicity of virtuous religions. Much of Alfarabi s approach is built upon Plato s Republic, which Parens also examines in order to provide the necessary background for a proper understanding of Alfarabi s thought.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Alfarabis Life and His Influence
3
Alfarabis Manner of Writing
5
Overview
7
The Impossibility of the City in the Republic
9
Kallipolis as Ideal State or Totalitarian Nightmare?
12
The Three Waves and the Problem of Possibility
14
The First Wave
17
Aphorisms 6876
67
Alfarabis Attainment of Happiness on JihAd
72
Challenges to Compelling Good Character
74
The Multiplicity Argument
77
The Increasing Tendency toward Conquest and Domination
80
Shaping a Multiplicity of Characters
85
Shaping a Multiplicity of Opinions
93
Religion as an Imitation of Philosophy
97

The Second Wave
19
The Digression on War
22
The Third Wave
24
The A Fortiori Argument
29
Educating Philosopherkings to Rule the Inhabited World the Challenge
30
Hard vs Soft
38
The Uneasy Peace between Prudence and Wisdom
47
Alfarabi on Jihad
55
From ImAn vs kufr to islAm vs harb
58
Alfarabis Aphorisms on Jihad
60
Aphorisms 67 and 79
61
Aphorisms 1116
64
The Limits of Knowledge and the Problem of Realization
103
Knowledge and Exploitation
104
Attainment of Happiness
105
The Limits of Our Knowledge of Final Causes
108
Certainty and the Knowledge of Universals and Particulars
115
The Limits of Knowledge and the Inherent Multiplicity of Religion
121
Notes
125
Bibliography
155
SubjectAuthor Index
159
Index of Passages from Alfawarabi s Attainment of Happiness
169
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About the author (2006)

Joshua Parens is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dallas and author of Metaphysics as Rhetoric: Alfarabi s Summary of Plato s Laws, also published by SUNY Press.

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