The Influence Of Aristotle On Alfarabi

1482 words - 6 pages

ALFARABI and ARISTOTLE(THE FOUR CAUSES and THE FOUR STAGES OF THE DOCTINE OF THE INTELLIGENCE)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. ...view middle of the document...

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 Aristotle's distinction among four causes; material, formal, efficient, and final. An object's 'material cause' is the substance out of which it is made, the 'formal cause' is its shape or nature, its 'efficient cause' is the most immediate force to bring it into existence, and its 'final cause'is its purpose. Thus the Doctrine of the Intellect's 'material cause' is latent thought, it's 'formal cause' is the active thought, it's 'efficient cause' is conscience thought of one's mind, and it's 'final cause' is to rationalize everything and to be able to make the first transition to the last spiritual emanation from God.The first cause of Aristotle was called 'material' or natural matter. Aristotle borrowed this from the early Greeks. The main question asked by this cause is: 'By what is anything made of?' Alfarabi embraces this cause and relates it to the Doctrine of the Intellect as his first stage. The stage in which describes the capability for thinking. Alfarabi argues that this is latent thought, similar to a dry sponge, that is ready to absorb quiddities or whatness. This is the preconscience grabbing of forms, allowing for no differentiation of thought, reason, or abstract sensing. Therefore the essence of one, is the same thing as the essence of other objects. This requires mind and form. The mind sees the forms and collects them merely as forms. Here with Aristotle the first stage is a gatherer. The mind, though not defined what it is, is defined by the function that it has.The second cause for Aristotle was called 'formal' or life force. Aristotle borrowed this form from Plato. The main question asked by this cause is: 'What is it's identity or what is its name?' This is also the second stage of the Doctrine of the Intellect for Alfarabi. Alfarabi considers this to be the active stage where the sponge is filled with objects. As the objects enter it the process of abstracting out forms begins. This brings on the concept of dualism, once again supplying a strong Greek influence from Plato. The forms are in us, we collect the forms and the objects. The forms are contributing to our thought process, latent to active, dried to wet, the dried sponge is now latently wet. There is no real thought process yet, this is simply just the gathering stages.This is the differentiation between forms and objects. The forms are in us, this is not a consideration of time and space, but rather a consideration of universals. Universals like blue, red, hot, cold, the forms are quazzi things. Object for the object of thought. Things that are recognized as separate. Here with Aristotle we begin to get some separation of the objects,...

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