Alfarabi's Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle - download pdf or read online

By Alfarabi, ed. and trans. Muhsin Mahdi

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But if they are known by imagining them through similitudes that imitate them, and assent to what is imagined of them is caused by persuasive methods, then the ancients call what comprises these cognitions religion. And if those intelligibles themselves are adopted, and persuasive methods are used, then the religion comprising them is called popular, generally accepted, and external philosophy. Therefore, according to the ancients, religion is an imitation of philosophy. Both comprise the same subjects and both give an account of the ultimate principles of the beings.

For it is possible that every man is innately so disposed that his soul has a power such that he generally moves more easily in the direction of the accomplishment of a certain virtue or of a certain state of character than in the direction of doing the opposite act. Indeed man moves first in the direction in which it is easier for him to move, provided he is not compelled to do something else. For instance, if a man is innately so disposed that he is more prone to stand his ground against dangers than to recoil before them, then all he needs is to undergo the experience a sufficient number of times and this state of character becomes voluntary.

Similarly, if his ability is restricted to goods inferior to supreme happiness, his ability is incomplete and he is not perfect. Therefore the true prince is the same as the philosopher-legislator. As to the idea of Imam in the Arabic language, it signifies merely the one whose example is followed and who is well received: that is, either his perfection is well received or his purpose is well received. If he is not well received in all the 5 5 6 10 1 2 15 3 4 43 5 10 47 THE ATTAINMENT OF HAPPINESS infinite activities, virtues, and arts, then he is not truly well received.

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Alfarabi's Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle by Alfarabi, ed. and trans. Muhsin Mahdi


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