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IN DEFENCE OF THE SOVEREIGNTY OF PHILOSOPHY: AL-BAGHDĀDĪ'S CRITIQUE OF IBN AL-HAYTHAM'S GEOMETRISATION OF PLACE

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 February 2007

NADER EL-BIZRI
Affiliation:
Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RH, United Kingdom

Abstract

This paper investigates the objections that were raised by the philosopher ‘Abd al-Laṭīf al-Baghdādī (d. ca. 1231 CE) against al-Ḥasan ibn al-Haytham’s (Alhazen; d. after 1041 CE) geometrisation of place. In this line of enquiry, I contrast the philosophical propositions that were advanced by al-Baghdādī in his tract: Fī al-Radd ‘alā Ibn al-Haytham fī al-makān (A refutation of Ibn al-Haytham’s place), with the geometrical demonstrations that Ibn al-Haytham presented in his groundbreaking treatise: Qawl fī al-Makān (Discourse on place). In examining the particulars of al-Baghdādī’s fragile defence of Aristotle’s definition of topos as delineated in Book IV of the Physics, which was rejected on mathematical grounds by Ibn al-Haytham, a special attention is also given to highlighting the systemic distinctions between the entities that are studied within the speculative physical doctrines of common sense and immediate experience, and the postulated ‘objects’ of scientific and mathematical research.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2007 Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

An earlier concise version of this paper was presented on 18 February 2006 in Florence, under the title: ‘The physical or the mathematical? interrogating al-Baghdādī's critique of Ibn al-Haytham's geometrisation of place’, as part of the Colloque de la Société Internationale d'Histoire des Sciences et des Philosophies Arabes et Islamiques (Circulation des savoirs autour de la Méditerranée, IXe–XVIesiècles), which was held in association with the University of Florence. This text will be published as part of the Proceedings of the Colloquium (Les Actes du Colloque), under the editorship of Graziella Federici Vescovini (Florence).
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IN DEFENCE OF THE SOVEREIGNTY OF PHILOSOPHY: AL-BAGHDĀDĪ'S CRITIQUE OF IBN AL-HAYTHAM'S GEOMETRISATION OF PLACE
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IN DEFENCE OF THE SOVEREIGNTY OF PHILOSOPHY: AL-BAGHDĀDĪ'S CRITIQUE OF IBN AL-HAYTHAM'S GEOMETRISATION OF PLACE
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IN DEFENCE OF THE SOVEREIGNTY OF PHILOSOPHY: AL-BAGHDĀDĪ'S CRITIQUE OF IBN AL-HAYTHAM'S GEOMETRISATION OF PLACE
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