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YAḤYĀ IBN ʿADĪ AND IBRĀHĪM IBN ʿADĪ: ON WHETHER BODY IS A SUBSTANCE OR A QUANTITY. INTRODUCTION, EDITIO PRINCEPS AND TRANSLATION

  • Stephen Menn (a1) and Robert Wisnovsky (a2)
Abstract

The “lost” Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī treatises recently discovered in the Tehran codex Marwī 19 include a record of a philosophical debate instigated by the Ḥamdānid prince Sayf-al-Dawla. More precisely, Marwī 19 contains Yaḥyā’s adjudication of a dispute between an unnamed Opponent and Yaḥyā’s younger relative Ibrāhīm ibn ʿAdī (who also served as al-Fārābī’s assistant), along with Ibrāhīm's response to Yaḥyā’s adjudication, and Yaḥyā’s final word. At issue was a problem of Aristotelian exegesis: should “body” be understood as falling under the category of substance or under the category of quantity? The unnamed Opponent argues that body is a species of substance; Ibrāhīm argues that technically speaking, body is a species of quantity, and hence an accident; and Yaḥyā judges that body is a species of substance, though for very different reasons than the Opponent gives. For the first time, the Arabic text of this exchange is edited and translated into English. Also provided is an Introduction that sets the debate in historical context, and discusses in particular the possible influence of John Philoponus. The debate is interesting and important not only because of the philosophical ramifications of the issues under discussion, but because it constitutes evidence of dialectical practice among Arabic-speaking philosophers from the middle of the 10th century.

Les traités “perdus” de Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī, retrouvés récemment dans le codex Marwī 19 de Téhéran, incluent le compte-rendu d'un débat philosophique suscité par le prince ḥamdānide Sayf-al-Dawla. Plus précisément, le codex Marwī 19 reprend l'arbitrage de Yaḥyā à propos d'une querelle mettant aux prises un Opposant anonyme et un membre plus jeune de la famille de Yaḥyā, Ibrāhīm ibn ʿAdī (qui fut également assistant d'al-Fārābī), accompagné de la réponse d'Ibrāhīm à l'arbitrage de Yaḥyā, ainsi que les remarques finales de Yaḥyā. Le problème en jeu est une question d'exégèse aristotélicienne: Le “corps” devrait-il être compris comme tombant sous la catégorie de substance ou sous celle de quantité? L'Opposant anonyme soutient que le corps est une espèce de la substance; Ibrāhīm soutient que, techniquement parlant, le corps est une espèce de la quantité, et donc, un accident; Yaḥyā juge, quant à lui, que le corps est une espèce de la substance, bien que pour des raisons bien différentes de celles amenées par l'Opposant. Pour la première fois, une version arabe de cet échange est éditée et traduite en anglais. Une introduction situant le débat dans son contexte historique et discutant plus précisément l'influence possible de Jean Philopon est également proposée. Ce débat trouve son intérêt et sa pertinence non seulement à cause des ramifications philosophiques des problèmes discutés, mais aussi parce qu'il constitue la preuve d'une pratique dialectique chez les philosophes de langue arabe du milieu du Xe siècle.

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Email: stephen.menn@mcgill.ca
Email: robert.wisnovsky@mcgill.ca
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1 These treatises are listed with transcriptions of their incipits and explicits, and collated with the orders given by Endress, G. (in his The Works of Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī: An Analytical Inventory [Wiesbaden, 1977]) and Khalīfāt, S. (in his Maqālāt Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī al-falsafiyya [ʿAmmān, 1988]), in Wisnovsky, R., “New philosophical texts of Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī: A supplement to Endress’ Analytical Inventory ”, in Opwis, F. and Reisman, D. (eds), Islamic Philosophy, Science, Culture, and Religion: Studies in Honor of Dimitri Gutas (Leiden, 2012), pp. 307–26; see now also Wisnovsky, R., “MS Tehran–Madrasa-yi Marwī 19: An 11th/17th-century codex of classical falsafa, including ‘lost’ works by Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī (d. 363/974)”, Journal of Islamic Manuscripts, 7/1 (2016): 89122 . A facsimile edition of the entire codex, including an index of names of individuals and groups, and titles of books, is also being published: A Safavid Anthology of Classical Arabic Philosophy. Facsimile Edition of MS Madrasa-yi Marwī 19, ed. R. Wisnovsky (Tehran, 2016).

2 The two treatises are listed by Endress as #3.33 and #7.4, respectively; and by Khalīfāt as #54 and #55, respectively. Khalīfāt tentatively assigned the title of the former treatise (i.e., #54) to the text he printed in Maqālāt, pp. 165–6 (see p. 165, n. 1). However, the two texts are in fact distinct: Khalīfāt's text is much shorter than the treatise here transcribed (i.e., Madrasa-yi Marvī 19, no. 50, fols. 70a20–71b25), and the Incipits and Explicits differ.

3 Tatimmat ṣiwān al-ḥikma, ed. Shafīʿ, M. (Lahore, 1935) #58, 102,1–6. Ibrāhīm's name appears in Ibn al-Qifṭī’s entry on Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī, but only as part of the titles of the two treatises edited here: Taʾrīkh al-ḥukamaʾ, ed. Lippert, J. (Leipzig, 1903), 363,14–15. Ibrāhīm is also mentioned by Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa in his Fārābī entry, where Ibrāhīm is said to have been a student of Fārābī’s in Aleppo (tilmīdhun lahu bi-Ḥalab) and to have transcribed Fārābī’s dictation of his Commentary on Aristotle's Posterior Analytics: ʿUyūn al-anbāʾ fī ṭabaqāt al-aṭibbāʾ ed. Müller, A. (Cairo, 1299/1882), vol. II, 139,19–20; see also Shahrazūrī’s virtually identical entry on Ibrāhīm ibn ʿAdī in his Nuzhat al-arwāḥ wa-rawḍat al-afrāḥ, ed. ʿA. Abū Shuwayrib (no loc., 1988), #98, 342,19–343,2.

4 Meyerhof, M., “ʿAlī al-Bayhaqī’s Tatimmat Ṣiwān al-Ḥikma: A biographical work on learned men of the Islam”, Osiris, 8 (1948): 122217 at 166 (#58), and Maqāla fī al-tawḥīd li-al-Shaykh Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī, ed. Khalīl, S. (Jūniyah, 1980), 27.

5 Epistolae obscurorum virorum, ed. and tr. Stokes, F.G. (London, 1909), Book II, Letter 45, 226–7 (English translation 482–3). This is one of several similar disputes between the two schools.

6 Simplicius, In Categorias (CAG VIII), ed. C. Kalbfleisch (Berlin, 1907), 125,13–16.

7 On Lucius see now M.J. Griffin, The Reception of the Categories of Aristotle, c. 80 BC to AD 220 (Oxford D.Phil. thesis, 2009) and Aristotle's Categories in the Early Roman Empire (Oxford, 2015). Lucius is often lumped with Nicostratus, who probably lived in the early second century AD, but as Griffin shows, Boethus in the first century AD replies to Lucius but not to Nicostratus. Griffin raises the possibility that Lucius may have been simply a character in a dialogue by Boethus. Simplicius knows Lucius and Nicostratus through Porphyry; Porphyry in turn knows Lucius through Boethus (and perhaps also through Nicostratus, but even Nicostratus may know Lucius only through Boethus, as obviously must be the case if Lucius was simply a character invented by Boethus).

8 For Porphyry, see what is cited from him at Simplicius, In Categorias, 124,31–35; cf. Ammonius, In Categorias (CAG IV.4), ed. A. Busse (Berlin, 1895), 65,26–66,3. For Avicenna's distinction between body in the natural-philosophical sense (jism ṭabīʿī) and body in the mathematical sense (jism taʿlīmī), see Kitāb al-Shifāʾ: Ilāhiyyāt, ed. Anawātī, G. and Zāyid, S. (Cairo, 1960), II.2, 64,5–65,3; the distinction is implied at Kitāb al-Ḥudūd, ed. and French trans. by Goichon, A.-M. (Paris, 1933), #39–#40, 22,7–23,7; Kitāb al-Shifāʾ: Manṭiq: Maqūlāt, ed. G. Anawātī et al. (Cairo, 1959), III.4, 112,16–115,ult. (see especially 113,12–114,5); Kitāb al-Shifāʾ: Ṭabīʿiyyāt: al-Samāʿ al-Ṭabīʿī, ed. S. Zāyid (Cairo, 1983), I.2, 13,4–14; and Kitāb al-Shifāʾ: Manṭiq: Burhān, ed. A. ʿAfīfī (Cairo, 1956), I.10, 99,4–103,12 (where his focus is on the distinction between body qua matter and body qua genus); see also Kitāb al-Ishārāt, ed. S. Dunyā, al-Ishārāt wa-al-tanbīhāt maʿa sharḥ Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī (Cairo, 1957–1960), I.5, 168,3ff.

9 Yaḥyā #13, 70b32–33; compare Philoponus, De aeternitate mundi contra Proclum, ed. H. Rabe (Leipzig, 1899), XI.6, 425,1–6.

10 Aristotle also discusses the possibility of something like three-dimensional extension as a common substratum of earth, water, air and fire (and thus of their compounds) in Metaphysics B5 1001b26–1002a4 and Z3 1029a7–21 (the latter passage also considers a further underlying non-quantitative matter); these passages are aporetic, and do not give the view his stamp of approval.

11 Avicenna maintains this in Shifāʾ/Ilāhiyyāt V,3, building on Alexander's distinction between genus and matter in his Quaestiones II,28; see Menn, S., “Avicenna's Metaphysics”, in Adamson, P. (ed.), Interpreting Avicenna (Cambridge, 2013), pp. 143–69 at 158–9.

12 The Arabic translation of Philoponus’ Contra Proclum is listed by Ibn al-Nadīm, al-Fihrist, ed. G. Flügel (Leipzig, 1871–72), 252,13–14 and 254,25; Ibn al-Qifṭī, Taʾrīkh al-ḥukamāʾ, 89,4–6 and 356,5; and Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa, ʿUyūn al-anbāʾ, 155,28. Both Arabic versions of the Proclus are extant and at least one has been edited, but apparently no Arabic version of the Philoponus is known to be extant. However, Rowson says that ʿĀmirī assumes his readers know it, Giannakis shows that Bīrūnī quotes/paraphrases it, and Hasnawi and Fazzo show that two pieces of it (neither being XI) circulated as rasāʾil attributed to Alexander of Aphrodisias. On all this, see now Wakelnig, E., “The other Arabic version of Proclus’ De Aeternitate Mundi. The surviving first eight arguments”, Oriens, 40 (2012): 5195 , which cites the earlier work of Rosenthal, F. (“From Arabic books and manuscripts VII: Some Graeco-Arabica in Istanbul”, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 81 [1961]: 712 at 9–10), E. Rowson (A Muslim Philosopher on the Soul and Its Fate: al-ʿĀmirī’s Kitāb al-Amad ʿalā l-abad [New Haven, 1988], p. 252), Giannakis, E. (“The quotations from John Philoponus’ De Aeternitate Mundi Contra Proclum in al-Bīrūnī’s India ”, Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften, 15 [2002–3]: 185–95), and Hasnawi, A. (“Alexandre d'Aphrodise vs Jean Philopon: Notes sur quelques traités d'Alexandre ‘perdus’ en grec, conservés en arabe”, Arabic Sciences and Philosophy, 4 [1994]: 53109); see also Fazzo, S., “L'Alexandre Arabe et la génération à partir du néant”, in Hasnawi, A., Elamrani-Jamal, A. and Aouad, M. (eds), Perspectives arabes et médiévales sur la tradition scientifique et philosophique grecque (Leuven/Paris, 1997), pp. 277–87 (see especially p. 283, n. 18).

13 A view like this is held by many Latin scholastic realists. See notably Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra Gentiles IV,65, who uses it to explain the subsistence of the accidents of the Eucharistic bread when the bread has been transformed into the body of Christ. Normally the qualities and other accidents inhere immediately in extended quantity, which in turn inheres in substance. In transubstantiation, when the substantial subject is removed, the extended quantity (which was previously the quantity of the bread) subsists by itself, and the qualities and other accidents continue to inhere in the extended quantity. For a good statement and critique of the millefeuille theory of quantity, see Ockham, Summa Logicae I, 44–45.

14 See Lucius at Simplicius, In Categorias, 48,1–11; cf. Dexippus, In Categorias (CAG IV.2), ed. A. Busse (Berlin, 1888), #22, 23,17–24.

15 So the questioner (probably reflecting Lucius, via Boethus) in Porphyry's commentary by question and answer, 95,10–16; see now the edition by Bodéüs, R., Porphyre: Commentaire aux Catégories d'Aristote (Paris, 2008).

16 Simplicius, In Categorias, 78,10–20.

17 See Simplicius, In Categorias, 97,35–98,1, καὶ ἔστιν ἡ μὲν διαφορὰ μορφή τις τοῦ γένους, τὸ δὲ γένος ὥσπερ ὑποκείμενον προϋπάρχει, and the following lines 98,1–6, where the differentia is constitutive of the species as a quality added to the genus. It is likely that Simplicius is following Boethus here, via Porphyry; Boethus was the last named authority, at 97,28. But it is not always clear whose opinion Simplicius is citing in the different parts of this paragraph.

18 So Alexander Quaestiones I,17, Alexandri Aphrodisiensis Praeter commentaria scripta minora, ed. Bruns, I. (Berlin, 1892), 29,30–30,14; there are parallels in Quaestiones I,8 and I,26. I,26 42,9–14 makes clear that Alexander shares the concern Philoponus will later have, that if forms are merely accidents of matter, the compound substance will be a compound of matter and accidents, and so not really a substance – the form will dissolve into a heap of accidents. I,8 17,22–30 makes it clear that he is thinking of the Categories’ explication of being “in a subject” and trying to show that a substantial form is not in a subject in this sense. I,8 17,12–17 shows that he is responding to Boethus (and to Lucius), to the same text that lies behind Simplicius In Categorias 48,1–11. All three of these Quaestiones are translated in Alexander of Aphrodisias: Quaestiones 1.1–2.15, tr. Sharples, R.W. (Ithaca, 1992). All of these texts, and other relevant texts of Alexander, are discussed in detail in Rashed, M., Essentialisme: Alexandre d'Aphrodise entre logique, physique et cosmologie (Berlin, 2007), esp. 35–81.

19 So Porphyry's commentary by question and answer, 95,17–35, both on οὐσιώδης ποιότης and on why it counts as οὐσία (this last at 95,33).

20 So Plotinus II,4,8–9 and III,6,16–18.

21 The Opponent's basis in Aristotle for inferring that, since whiteness is in body, body must be a substance, is Categories 5 4a10–11, “it seems to be most proper to [i.e., most distinctive of] substance that, while being numerically one and the same, it is receptive of contraries”: so if numerically the same body can be at one time white and at another time black, it must be a substance. Yaḥyā will have to restrict the scope of this Aristotelian maxim.

22 This thought goes back to Alexander's argument, discussed above, that the form is not in matter as in a subject (in the sense of the Categories) because the matter is not an actual determinate subject until the form is in it.

23 Nuskhat mā athbatahu Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī li-Abī Bakr al-Ādamī al-ʿAṭṭār (MS Marwī 19, #53, 72b25–73a16).

24 Maqāla fī ibāna anna ḥarārat al-nār laysat jawharan li-al-nār (MS Marwī 19, #14, 17b26–20a17). Yaḥyā’s main claim in this essay is that heat in fire and heat in iron belong to the same species or genus, and that it is impossible for one individual of a species or genus to fall under one category (quality) while another individual of the same species or genus falls under another category (substance).

25 : فهذه

26 الاختلاف : لم اختلاف

27 وجُمِعَ | أقاويله بيْن المبتدأ : وجمعَ بيْن | أقاويله المبتدأ

28 فإنْ اختلف إنسانان : فاختلف إنسانان

29 والقائلة : والعاملة

30 ظنّ : أظنّ

31 ذهب : ذهبه

32 إلاّ : إلا أن

33 For another instance of ammā starting a new sentence without being preceded by a fa- or a wa-, cf. 72a33.

34 يعرفه : يعرف

35 الكمّيّة : الممكنة

36 استشهدا إنْ : استشهد إنْ

37 فيهما : فيها

38 لقياسه : القياسه

39 هذا نتيجته نتيجة ما أحسبه : هذا نتيجة نتيجة ما احسيه

40 في باب المضاف : في الباب المضاف

41 يخلو : يخلوا

42 تحت : يجب

43 مفسّرو : مفسّروا

44 لم يوجد قائلاً فيه ما يدلّ على : لم يوجد قال فيه ما يدلّ على

45 موضع : وضع

46 وإنْ :  فإنْ

47 من قوله : من قاله

48 مجمعًا : مجْتمعًا

49 المتضادّيْن : المتضادّان

50 إليه : إليها

51 عن : من

52 لقصده : كقصده

53 يخلو : يخلوا

54 يخلو : يخلوا

55 قائل : قال

56 Inserted from Ibrāhīm #8.

57 اثنان : إنسان

58 في هذا : في هذا القول

59 أحدهما : أحد ها

60 وهذان : وهذا

61 تلزم : يلزم

62 ذكرًا |71b5| بتّةً : ذكر |71b5| اتيه

63 والفساد الآخر : والآخر الفساد

64 تينك : بينك

65 وصل : فصل

66 هي : هو

67 <لا> كوجود | الأعراض : كوجود | الأجزاء المقوّمة لذوات الأشياء التي يوجد فيها الأعراض

68 ولم أجده : ولم أخذه

69 رجلاً : وجلاً

70 الحمد : الحمد

71 Literally, “… concerning their disagreement about [the claim] that body is a substance and [the claim that body is] an accident…”. Alternatively, we could emend the manuscript's anna al-jism jawhar wa-ʿaraḍ to anna al-jism jawhar aw ʿaraḍ, which would provide the intended disjunction.

72 Ibrāhīm's point seems to be that e.g., if one person says that body is a substance and another says that body is an accident, if they both mean the same thing by body, then they differ about the meaning or thought-content; whereas if one person means by body the dimensions and holds that it is an accident, and the other means by body the extended thing and says that it is therefore a substance, they are differing not about a meaning but about a word to which they assign different meanings.

73 I.e., Yaḥyā claims that the Opponent is extracting Ibrāhīm's statements from their context.

74 Kazimierski translates ʿayn al-mīzān as “… Inclinaison d'un plateau de la balance. On dit fī al-mīzān ʿayn pour dire ‘Cette balance n'est pas juste, elle penche plus d'un côté que de l'autre’”. “Unevenness” is Lane's translation of this expression.

75 This meaning of ʿayn is unclear. It could go with the immediately preceding meaning, since there is no wa- to act as a conjunction: one of the causes of disease in the sense that it is said to be something evident. Alternatively, Lane says one of the meanings of ʿayn is bayt “meaning partition, or part divided from the rest, in a chest”; but the bowl of the final letter seems to be a nūn not a tāʾ.

76 I.e., “ʿayn al-X” can mean the same as “maḥḍ al-X,” i.e., X itself and nothing more. Lane: “ʿayn is a homonym, applying to various things… forty-seven meanings are assigned to it, but it is said by MF that its meanings exceed a hundred: those occurring in the Qurʾān are seventeen…”

77 This is the same phrase (fī al-maʿānī) that appears in the first paragraph and which was translated there as “in the meanings”.

78 This sentence responds to the Opponent's claim at the end of Yaḥyā #2.

79 Ibrāhīm means the Categories; cf. the Opponent at #12, 70b28–29, and Yaḥyā at #40, 71b22.

80 For Ibrāhīm on the difference between “body” and “embodied”, see above, #3, 70a34–42. Body is listed among the species of quantity at Categories 6, 4b20–25.

81 I.e., as opposed to the falāsifa and to the mutakallimūn whose views the Opponent goes on to summarize.

82 The views of (Abū ʿAlī) al-Jubbāʾī and of (Abū al-Qāsim) al-Balkhī (also called al-Kaʿbī), leading figures of the Basra and Baghdad Muʿtazilite schools respectively, are here apparently reported correctly – although, strictly speaking, al-Jubbāʾī and al-Balkhī are discussing the annihilation not of bodies but of substances, i.e., the atomic constituents of bodies which they say are not properly bodies. (A body could presumably be dissolved by its atomic constituents’ ceasing to be conjoined.) See e.g., the debates contained in Abū Rashīd al-Nīsābūrī, al-Masāʾil fī al-khilāf bayna al-Baṣriyyīn wa-al-Baghdādiyyīn, ed. al-Sayyid, R. and Ziyāda, M. (Tripoli, 1979), especially #4 (Masʾala fī anna al-jawharayn yajūzu an yakūnā muftariqayn wa-lā thālitha baynahumā), 47,7–56,6; #13 (Masʾala fī anna al-jawhar yajūzu an yakhluwa min kulli ʿaraḍin mā khalā al-kawn), 62,1–74,14; and #16 (Masʾala fī anna al-jawhar yantafī bi-ḍiddin), 83,3–87,19.

83 Yaḥyā is thinking of Aristotle Metaphysics Γ3 1005b23–32, where opinions whose contents are contradictories (the opinion that p and the opinion that not-p) are contrary states, and cannot occur in the same person at the same time.

84 The conclusion is “then the man can't honestly believe what he's saying”: see Yaḥyā #25, where Yaḥyā says this.

85 Reading mustaṭrif. This can also be read as a passive participle, mustaṭraf, and construed as something like “it is an oddity from whose falsehood or peculiarity he has averted his eyes, [falsehood or peculiarity] that prevents it from being a [valid] argument.”

86 “What he says” renders qawl, understood here as an argument rather than a proposition. Prior Analytics I.1 24b18 defines a syllogism as a kind of logos, rendered as qawl in the Arabic translation at Manṭiq Arisṭū, ed. Badawī, ʿA. (Cairo, 1948), vol. I, ad loc. (108,1).

87 Alternatively, one could eliminate the definite article in the manuscript entirely, and read it as bi-qiyāsin muwāzinin qiyāsahu (or bi-qiyāsin muwāzini qiyāsihi).

88 See Ibrāhīm #2.

89 I.e., Abū ʿAlī al-Jubbāʾī and Abū al-Qāsim al-Balkhī.

90 Normally bāb in this context would mean “chapter”; but this reference is a paraphrase of Categories 6 5b15–22, which is actually in the chapter on quantity, not the chapter on relation; hence the translation “heading”.

91 In this passage, 5b15–22, Aristotle is arguing that small and large belong to the category of relation, rather than to that of quantity. The Opponent's point is that if Ibrāhīm can argue that, because Aristotle says that some quantities are bodies, body must be a species of quantity, then the Opponent could equally well argue that, because Aristotle says that sesame seeds and mountains are large and small, and that large and small are relations, sesame seeds and mountains must also be species of relation, which is absurd. Aristotle's position (the Opponent suggests) would rather be that sesame seeds and mountains are substances but have relational predicates belonging to them as accidents, and that bodies are substances but have quantitative predicates belonging to them as accidents.

92 This is cited by Ibrāhīm #4.

93 This is apparently an abridgment of what Yaḥyā cites from the Opponent in Yaḥyā #27 and #28 below. It was controversial whether the same thing can be in two categories. See Categories 8 11a20–36, where (the arts of) grammar and music are qualities, and do not fall under the category of relation [πρός τι] because they are not said to be grammar or music of something, and yet they are species of the genus knowledge [ἐπιστήμη], which does fall under the category of relation, because it is always knowledge of something. But at 11a37–8 Aristotle adds that “even if the same thing does turn out to be both a quale and a relative, there is nothing absurd in counting it in both genera.” And at Categories 7 8a13–b24 he seems tentatively inclined to say that the same thing can full under the categories of substance and of relation, e.g., head or hand, which are always the head or hand of something.

94 The Arabic translation of the Categories has … al-mawjūda fī shayʾin lā ka-juzʾin minhu wa-laysa yumkinu an yakūna qiwāmuhu min ghayri alladhī huwa fīhi: Les Catégories d'Aristote dans leurs versions syro-arabes, édition de textes précédée d'une étude historique et critique et suivie d'un vocabulaire technique par K. Georr (Beirut, 1948), ad loc. (159r4–5) = Manṭiq Arisṭū, ed. Badawī, vol. I, ad loc. (4,8–9).

95 This is close to something Philoponus says at De aeternitate mundi contra Proclum XI.6, 425,1–6.

96 See the Introduction for the strategy, going back to Alexander, of arguing that some contested entity (typically a substantial form or a differentia of a substance-species) does not fall under Aristotle's definition of accident, because although it is in the composite substance, it is constitutive of that substance, and so does not satisfy the condition of being in the substance “not as a part”; again, because it is constitutive of the substance, the substance cannot exist without it. As noted in the Introduction, Philoponus in De aeternitate mundi contra Proclum XI.5 applies this strategy to argue that three-dimensionality is not an accidental quantity but a substantial quantity, constitutive of bodily substance.

97 The thought is that this sort of expression indicates that body is not a quantity, but rather has a quantity, and so is a substance.

98 The “book specifically devoted to substances and accidents” is the Categories, as in #4 above. As noted in the Introduction, the Categories discusses body as one of the species of continuous quantity in Chapter 6 (these species are listed at 4b23–5), whereas body is at any rate not explicitly mentioned as a species of substance in Chapter 5, as Ibrāhīm points out in Ibrāhīm #3 (in #12 above), although the Opponent (in his #5–9) tries to find texts of the Categories which indirectly imply this. For Yaḥyā’s judgment on the issue, see #13 above.

99 This is cited by Ibrāhīm in Ibrāhīm #6. What Ibrāhīm says there shows that Yaḥyā is closely paraphrasing, but not quoting, something that Ibrāhīm says; Ibrāhīm in Ibrāhīm #6 might be quoting verbatim from his own earlier note. “In another text” here means “in the Categories,” which is what Ibrāhīm says in Ibrāhīm #6.

100 From the first sentence of Categories 5 2a11–13; but “prior and more excellent” is stretching the Greek, which says “the substance which is called [substance] in the strictest sense and primarily and most of all.” The Arabic translation of the Categories has fa-ammā al-jawharu al-mawṣūfu bi-annahu awlā bi-al-taḥqīqi wa-al-taqdīmi wa-al-tafḍīli fa-huwa alladhī lā yuqālu ʿalā mawḍūʿin mā wa-lā huwa fī mawḍūʿin mā: Les Catégories, ed. Georr, ad loc. (160r6–7) = Manṭiq Arisṭū, ed. Badawī, vol. I, ad loc. (7,2–3).

101 anna al-abyaḍa huwa fī mawḍūʿin ay fī al-jismi: Les Catégories, ed. Georr, ad loc. (160v2) = Manṭiq Arisṭū, ed. Badawī, vol. I, ad loc. (7,14–15).

102 fa-ammā qawlu al-abyaḍi fa-laysa yuḥmalu fī ḥālin mina al-aḥwāli ʿalā al-jismi: Les Catégories, ed. Georr, ad loc. (160v4–5) = Manṭiq Arisṭū, ed. Badawī, vol. I, ad loc. (7,15–16). Even though the Opponent's quotes of the Arabic version of the Categories are accurate, and although his argument has some force, it is strange to say that whiteness with its definition is not predicated of body, since whiteness is not predicated of body at all. Aristotle's point depends on the fact that the word λευκόν can mean either whiteness or the neuter concrete adjective white (here modifying σῶμα), an ambiguity that does not exist in Arabic, which differentiates bayāḍ and abyaḍ.

103 wa-ayḍan anna al-lawna fī al-jismi fa-huwa ayḍan fī jismin mā: Les Catégories, ed. Georr, ad loc. (160v10) = Manṭiq Arisṭū, ed. Badawī, vol. I, ad loc. (7,14–15).

104 So too in #16, where whiteness is in body, the Opponent is implicitly inferring that since an accident cannot be in an accident, body must not be in a substance. When the Opponent says that “everyone” says that accident is not in an accident, he means both falāsifa and mutakallimūn, but not people on the street.

105 [wa-] ka-mā anna al-shayʾa idhā qīsa bi-nafsihi ayḍan qīla innahu aktharu wa-aqallu mithālu dhālika anna al-jisma idhā kāna abyaḍa fa-qad yuqālu innahu fī hādhā al-waqti abyaḍu bi-akthara mimmā kāna qablu: Les Catégories, ed. Georr, ad loc. (163v8–10) = Manṭiq Arisṭū, ed. Badawī, vol. I, ad loc. (13,3–5). Aristotle's point is that, if X is a substance, it cannot be more or less, i.e., something cannot be more or less X (e.g., more or less human), whereas sometimes where X is an accident this is possible, e.g., the white can be more or less, or something can be more or less white, than another white thing or than itself at another moment.

106 The ilayhi (emended from ilayhā) is admittedly strange. However, there is an obscure sense of the IVth form aqbala that takes ilā: “to come to” (normally it takes ʿalā).

107 wa-bayāḍun mā huwa fī mawḍūʿin ay fī al-jismi idh kāna kullu lawnin fī jismin: Les Catégories, ed. Georr, ad loc. (159r6–7) = Manṭiq Arisṭū, ed. Badawī, vol. I, ad loc. (4,10–11).

108 This last clause picks up the “would that I knew” at the beginning of the paragraph, whose construction was broken off in the first sentence.

109 It is not clear what the Opponent would mean by saying that for the Muʿtazilites it is possible for something other than bodies and accidents to exist, or how this would help his argument. We could conjecturally solve the problem by emending wa-laysa ʿindahum fī al-wujūdi (“there being according to them nothing [else] in existence”) to wa-laysa ʿindahum fanāʾun li-jawharin (“there being according to them no annihilation of a substance”). This could help the Opponent explain why the Muʿtazilites don't believe that water is a non-bodily perishable substance: they do not recognize any non-bodily substance and they do not grant that any substance perishes.

110 Alternatively, this could be construed as “may He be with us, He being most generous…” There could be some textual corruption here, given the larger than normal gap in the manuscript between maʿanā and awlā.

111 This is vague and could mean lots of things; but “the philosopher's statement” is that body is a quantity, and Ibrāhīm's Opponent is saying that, since this is not true in its primary and proper sense, if Aristotle was not simply mistaken, there must be some context or interpretation or qualification which makes it come out true, or at least excusable, by taking it in something other than its primary and proper sense.

112 With this disjunction, compare Opponent 4 in Yaḥyā #10.

113 It is not obvious in whose voice the last sentence of Yaḥyā 27 is spoken. We have attributed it to the Opponent, in part because both Ibrāhīm and the Opponent refer to Sayf-al-Dawla as Sayyidunā, whereas Yaḥyā, in Baghdad, refers to Sayf-al-Dawla (at Ibrāhīm #12, fol. 72b13) simply as “him who commanded” [li-man amara bi-dhālika]. It is also clear that the scribe responsible for the paragraph breaks assumed that this final sentence was spoken by the Opponent. See footnote 154 on Ibrāhīm's complaint against the younger generation, including the Opponent.

114 It is not entirely clear which responses Yaḥyā is referring to. Yaḥyā #11 and #13 are possibilities.

115 I.e., in order to compel Ibrāhīm to admit that, if his argument that Aristotle thinks that body is a quantity and therefore an accident were sound, an equally sound argument would show, absurdly, that Aristotle thinks that man is a quantity and therefore an accident. (Compare the Opponent's claim that, if Ibrāhīm's arguments were sound, an equally sound argument would show, absurdly, that Aristotle thinks mountain is a relation.)

116 This will be cited by Ibrāhīm in Ibrāhīm #8.

117 Something appears to have been left out between the end of line 27 and the beginning of line 28; while the textual cure is not obvious, at least the sense is clear from Ibrāhīm's citation (of Yahya's citation of Ibrāhīm) in Ibrāhīm #8: perhaps the precise text can be restored. The English translations are identical.

118 This sentence is paraphrased (not quoted) in Ibrāhīm #8.

119 As in #6 above, Yaḥyā is thinking of Aristotle Metaphysics Γ3 1005b23–32, where opinions whose contents are contradictories are contrary states, and cannot occur in the same person at the same time.

120 Which, on Ibrāhīm's view, are not body, but embodied (mujassam).

121 The word qawl appears to have been crossed out by the copyist; the meaning is not affected, however.

122 In Physics I, which argues that the principles out of which natural things come to be are matter, form and privation. But the privation from which a natural thing X comes to be is not a constituent of it (so Physics I,8 191b15–16) and does not continue to exist in X once X has come to be. So although X comes to be out of matter, form and privation, it is composed only out of matter and form.

123 This echoes the language of Aristotle's definition of syllogism, Prior Analytics 24b18–20, with bi-dhātihimā corresponding to bi-dhātihā at Manṭiq Arisṭū, ed. Badawī, vol. I, 142,5 (explained 143,1–2), which does not correspond exactly to anything in the Greek (cf. 24b20–21).

124 It is an Aristotelian rule, stated in Prior Analytics I,24 41b6–7 and Posterior Analytics I,25 86b10–15 and a commonplace among the commentators, that there is no syllogism from two negative premises; Aristotle does not exactly argue for this, but it follows from inspection of his list of valid moods.

125 Ibrāhīm has said kānat al-māddatu ghayra jismin (and likewise for form); this could be taken either as a negative proposition “matter is not a body” or as an affirmative proposition with a negative predicate-term, “matter is incorporeal.” These sentences are not logically equivalent: in particular, if there is no matter, the negative “matter is not a body” is true while the affirmative “matter is a non-body” is false. Aristotle discusses such pairs of affirmative and negative propositions in Prior Analytics I,46 and De Interpretatione 10. The Greek commentators cite Theophrastus as having discussed sentences such as “A is non-B” under the label of “affirmative metathetic propositions” and sentences such as “A is not non-B” under the label of “negative metathetic propositions,” and this discussion is taken up by Arabic logicians, notably Fārābī and Avicenna (who say maʿdūl for “metathetic”). For discussion and references, see Zimmermann, F.W., Al-Farabi's Commentary and Short Treatise on Aristotle's De Interpretatione (Oxford, 1981), pp. lxiiilxvii , and Porro, P., “Immateriality and separation in Avicenna and Thomas Aquinas,” in Hasse, D.N. and Bertolacci, A. (eds.), The Arabic, Hebrew and Latin Reception of Avicenna's Metaphysics (Berlin, 2011), pp. 275307 at 294–9.

126 It is an Aristotelian rule, first stated at Prior Analytics I,5 28a7–9, that no affirmative syllogisms (i.e., syllogisms with affirmative conclusions) come about in the second figure (i.e., where the middle term is the predicate of both premises): all second-figure syllogisms must have negative conclusions, and thus must have at least one (indeed, precisely one) negative premise. The philosophers often criticize someone for trying to deduce something affirmatively in the second figure: Aristotle makes this kind of criticism of Platonist attempts to deduce definitions by the method of division, Prior Analytics I,31 46a31–b25. Arabic philosophers sometimes say, building on Aristotle Prior Analytics II.27, that some rhetorical or poetic “syllogisms” are affirmative second-figure “syllogisms,” without deductive necessity, which try to produce the belief or at least the imagination that A is B because A and B share some predicate; see Aouad, M. and Schoeler, G., “Le syllogisme poétique selon al-Fārābī: un syllogisme incorrect de la deuxième figure,Arabic Sciences and Philosophy, 12 (2002): 185–96.

127 I.e., in #29.

128 I.e., that the dimensions satisfy Aristotle's description of accidents, Categories 1a24–5; cited above in Yaḥyā #13.

129 See Yaḥyā #13 above. What we translate gives the required sense: something has gone wrong in the manuscript, which here repeats the preceding phrase, “like the presence of the parts which are constitutive of the essence of the things in which they are present”.

130 See discussion in, especially, #12–14 above.

131 This sentence could be corrupt, and the translation is highly conjectural. The desired sense might be something like “just as the opposite of Ibrāhīm's judgment is also given without demonstration” or “just as Ibrāhīm's Opponent's judgment is also given without demonstration” or “each of the judgments, Ibrāhīm's and his Opponent's, are judgments signifying without demonstration”. Perhaps the two ghayr burhāns almost directly above and below each other in lines 17 and 18 confused the scribe. And the first ghayr burhān, in line 17, is followed immediately by a hādhā, i.e., just as in the line below, it ends a sentence but is not followed by a conjunction such as fa- or wa-. There seems to be a missing protasis: something like, “<If both Ibrāhīm and the Opponent make judgments without a burhān>, then neither …” Alternatively it could refer to the judgments themselves.

132 See Yaḥyā #13.

133 Here, “lengthened” means that a word ends with an alif followed by a hamza, and takes inflectional endings after the hamza; and “shortened” means that it ends with a “shortened alif” (alif maqṣūra), written as a without the dots, and does not take inflectional endings.

134 I.e., “for your information, not because I plan to make a detailed response to it: given what I have already said, you should be able to figure that out for yourself;” reading it as a 1st form passive subjunctive, li-tūqafa, and not a 2nd form.

135 I.e., I, Yaḥyā, was not motivated by the fear that from Ibrāhīm's position, someone might draw the absurd conclusion that the earth is an accident.

136 Alternatively, “by God”. Because it is followed immediately by dhī al-jūd rather than dhū al-jūd, it must be li-Allāhi, with al-ḥamdu being what belongs to God; and the second li-Allāhi is redundant – a supposition supported by the nearly identical invocation at the end of Ibrāhīm #12.

137 That God is “the giver of intellect” is central to Yaḥyā’s Aristotelian-Christian theology, as set out in On the Necessity of the Incarnation (Maqāla fī wujūb al-taʾannus, ed. and French trans. A. Périer, Petits traités apologétiques de Yaḥyā ben ʿAdī [Paris, 1920], 69–86). That God's three primary attributes are generosity, wisdom and power, is articulated by Yaḥyā in other works, e.g., in his Essay on [Divine] Unity Part IV, Chapters 11–14 (Maqāla fī al-tawḥīd, ed. Khalīl, 248,1–264,ult. = Maqālāt Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī al-falsafiyya, ed. Khalīfāt, 399,ult.-404,10). This triad seems to go back to Neoplatonic interpretations of the Chaldean triad patêr/dunamis/nous, rendered by Proclus as agathotês/dunamis/gnôsis at Inst. Theol. Prop. #121 (see Proclus: Elements of Theology, ed. and trans. Dodds, E.R., [2nd] edn [Oxford, 1963], 106,31–32). Christian authors then transferred this triad of attributes from the (Neoplatonized) Chaldean to the Christian trinity. For example, Yaḥyā correlates divine generosity (i.e., the quality of bestowing something, such as being or intellect, without being motivated by any desire, e.g., for recompense, or praise) with the Father, wisdom with the Son, and power with the Holy Spirit, in his refutation of al-Kindī’s Maqāla fī radd ʿalā al-Naṣārā (ed. and French trans. A. Périer, “Un traité de Yaḥyā ben ʿAdī, défense du dogme de la Trinité contre les objections d'Al-Kindī”, Revue de l'Orient chrétien, XXII/1 [1920]: 3–21 at 5,3–5): wa-dhālika anna hādhihi al-thalāthata al-aqānīma hiya ʿindahum khawāṣṣun li-dhālika al-jawhari wa-hiya ʿindahum ṣifātun yūṣafu bi-hā al-jawharu al-wāḥidu bi-annahu jawādun ḥakīmun qādirun fa-al-jūdu ʿindahum huwa al-musammā aban wa-al-ḥikmatu hiya al-musammātu ibnan wa-al-qudratu hiya al-musammātu al-rūḥa al-qudsa. See also Yaḥyā’s discussion with al-Miṣrī, who says to Yaḥyā: wa-ammā qawluka inna al-khāliqa mawṣūfun bi-thalāthi ṣifātin hiya al-jūdu wa-al-ḥikmatu wa-al-qudratu wa-inna al-jūda huwa li-al-abi wa-al-ḥikmata hiya li-al-ibni wa-al-qudrata hiya li-al-rūḥi al-qudsi: ed. E. Platti in La grande polémique antinestorienne de Yaḥyā b. ʿAdī (Louvain, 1981), vol. 2, #122, 157,19–20. The triad jawād/ḥakīm/qādir also appears in the response that Yaḥyā provided to ʿAlī ibn ʿĪsā ibn al-Jarrāḥ (the vizier, and father of one of Yaḥyā’s students), who had been asked a question about the Trinity; see Jawāb al-Shaykh Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī ʿan masʾala jarat bayna yaday ʿAlī ibn ʿĪsā ibn al-Jarrāḥ fī al-tathlīth wa-al-tawḥīd, ed. and French trans. Périer, Petits traités apologétiques de Yaḥyā ben ʿAdī, 63–8 at 66,1.3–4.8. Important Christian links in the chain may include the Ps.-Dionysius and John of Damascus. (For discussion, see Endress, Works of Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī, #5.31, 72–73, who mentions Ps.-Dionysius but without providing a specific reference; and Maqāla fī al-tawḥīd, ed. Khalīl, 126–8, who traces the triad to John of Damascus: see Die Schriften des Johannes von Damaskus, ed. B. Kotter [Berlin, 1973], vol. 2, 14 #2 = Expositio Fidei, 5,13–15.)

138 البعيد : البعيدة

139 ذو : ذوا

140 الأكثر : الأكبر

141 فردًا : مفردًا

142 إنّ : إلى

143 أنْ أجعل : اذا اجعل

144 الأوْلى : الأوّل

145 قال ما : قال إنّ ما

146 أوْرد : ورد

147 جسمه : قسمة

148 فالجسم : ما الجسم

149 أو الاتّصال إنْ سمّيته اتّصال : والإفضال إنْ سمّيته إفضال

150 We are transposing this header from line 72b25 to line 72b12, where we think it must belong; for our reasons, see footnote 179.

151 إذًا من ذات : إذًا ذات

152 وكلّ عرض فهو في موضوع : وكلّ عرض ما وكلّ عرض فهو في موضوع

153 Some terminological points: mumārā, here apparently attributed to Yaḥyā, should be kept distinct from muʿānada, which seems to be attributed only to Ibrāhīm's anonymous Opponent. There are four terms, in Yaḥyā #26 and Ibrāhīm #1 and #12, which seem to split semantically as pairs: mughālaba means being contentious, and mubārāh means being competitive; while mumārā means being (stubbornly or obstinately) quarrelsome and muʿānada means being (aggressively) argumentative. At any rate this is the best we can do with the lexicons we have. Two further points: if it were “in the matter at hand”, we would expect the preposition , as in fī amrinā hādhā. But because it is ʿan, and because inḥarafa means turn away (Lane says inḥarafa ʿalā means to turn against someone), the ʿan should probably be construed as implying turning away from. Second, Lane says al-maʿhūd means “known” – from construing the passive ʿuhida as to be known. Lane cites the expression: al-maʿhūd al-mashhūd wa-al-mawʿūd, lit. the known, the witnessed and the promised, but meaning the past, present and future.

154 That is, Ibrāhīm will respond to Yaḥyā, but not to the Opponent. The word ṭabaqa, which we have rendered as “class”, has both a dynamic sense of unrolling generations and a static sense of strata or layers. It is often implied in bio-bibliographic and other medieval Arabic texts that the younger ṭabaqa have degenerated from the standards of their predecessors. In any case, we take Ibrāhīm to be distinguishing between Yaḥyā’s generation, who usually have better manners, and the younger generation, whose teacher Yaḥyā is. Even though Yaḥyā is being unusually quarrelsome for his own generation (or for his class of philosophers), he is still not as bad as the younger generation; cf. Opponent 14 (contained in Yaḥyā #27) complaining about having “exhausted myself in conversation with an old man” – apparently Ibrāhīm – “for it is toilsome to educate the aged”. It would also be possible to emend the second ṭabaqa (lam yuwāzi hādhihi al-ṭabaqata allatī <huwa> ustādhuhā) to ṭāʾifa (“faction”), a term that appears later on in the paragraph, at 72a1.

155 Alternatively, one could read the Arabic as fa-qad ātāhu amkinatu hādhā al-tashbīhi (but now construing the verb ātāhu as a form III instead of form IV), meaning “… in respect of a correct statement, the topoi of this [form of] sophistry are available to him”. Fārābī’s treatise on sophisms is called Kitāb al-Amkina al-mughliṭa; the idea there is that while some topoi are used to construct (good) dialectical arguments, other topoi can be used to construct sophistical arguments. It is not clear whether “this [form of] sophistry”, which turns on the discrepancy between a person's linguistic expression and his intended meaning, is meant to correspond to one of the thirteen kinds that Aristotle recognizes in the SE.

156 See Yaḥyā #25, and compare also Yaḥyā #7.

157 This is a paraphrase of the beginning of Yaḥyā #32.

158 Ibrāhīm is saying, in effect, that the fact that Yaḥyā accuses Ibrāhīm of being weak in his understanding of logic shows that Yaḥyā thinks that the only thing Ibrāhīm could have been trying to do was produce an Aristotelian syllogism. If Ibrāhīm were in fact trying to do this, he would have been doing it badly; but that was not what he was trying to do. This comment by Yaḥyā shows that he knows no method other than Aristotelian logic.

159 The implication here could be that Ibrāhīm wants to point out that he made it simple and used common expressions with generally understood meanings, because Sayf-al-Dawla was the intended audience, without stating explicitly that Sayf-al-Dawla could not handle a purely logical discussion; i.e., so why are you, Yaḥyā, showing off in front of Sayf-al-Dawla now by picking out all my logical shortcomings?

160 This is something that Yaḥyā says in his #7. The two lines (from Yaḥyā #7 and Ibrāhīm #2) have been made identical in translation. Cf. the footnote to this line in Yaḥyā #7.

161 The passage from Yaḥyā #7 that Ibrāhīm has just cited (Ibrāhīm #2) was directed against the Opponent, not against Ibrāhīm, so it might be surprising that Ibrāhīm feels the need to respond to it. But Yaḥyā’s comment also has implications against Ibrāhīm. Yaḥyā is saying, in context, that this earth and this body are each substance, and are each the same substance, against the Opponent who thinks that earth is a non-bodily substance, and against Ibrāhīm who thinks that body is not a substance but a quantity. Ibrāhīm agrees that earth (the possessor of the form of earth) is a composite substance, and that the possessor of the form of body (what Ibrāhīm prefers to call mujassam, “embodied,” but which can loosely be called “body”) is the same composite substance. But Ibrāhīm denies that either the form of earth or the matter of earth is a body. There is no inference from the premiss that the possessor of the form of earth possesses the form of body to the conclusion that the form of earth (a substantial form) itself has or is the form of body (an accident in the category of quantity, for Ibrāhīm). Yaḥyā, however, thinks that both the form of earth and the form of body are not in a subject and are thus substances, and that earth entails body in its definition: probably earth is a species of body, which is in turn a species of substance.

162 Referring to Ibrāhīm #11, 72b3ff., where Ibrāhīm speaks of definition (ḥadd) and description (rasm) and defends his calling something a definition which is strictly speaking a description and not a definition. Admittedly, in the phrase qad qultu akhīran, it is rather strange for Ibrāhīm to use the qad, which stresses the completedness of the act signified by the verb, in a statement about what he will say later on, i.e., towards the end of his response. But Ibrāhīm has already worked out what he wants to say in reply to Yaḥyā’s criticism, and is strategically deferring it until the end, as the culminating display of his logical powers.

163 I.e., in Yaḥyā #8–9.

164 The manuscript clearly reads al-awwal (even writing in the tashdīd), but the required sense, as well as the parallel with Yaḥyā #15, justify the emendation to al-awlā.

165 In Yaḥyā #15, closely paraphrased here.

166 Apparently referring to the two options that Ibrāhīm gives at the end of this paragraph: either “body” is equivocal, or Aristotle is merely deferring to common opinion in describing it as a substance.

167 It is not clear whether this is meant to be understood in the sense of speaking less properly; or as obiter dicta rather than in a dedicated treatment of the question.

168 Yaḥyā says this in Yaḥyā #28; the two texts do not agree verbatim for the first part, but they do for the second. Cf. the footnote to Yaḥyā #28.

169 This paraphrases the beginning of Yaḥyā #29.

170 According to Lane and Wehr, kataba ʿan means to write what one hears from someone, i.e., from dictation. Also, emending wa-radda dhālika Yaḥyā by inserting an alif and reading instead awrada dhālika Yaḥyā, with the sense being, Yaḥyā [himself] cites this, i.e., in what he recorded of what I said.

171 This is quoted by Yaḥyā #31.

172 Cf. Yaḥyā #32.

173 Here, “not” translates ghayr; see our discussion above about the ambiguity of ghayr-sentences, which can be an affirmative sentence with “non-” in the predicate, or a negative sentence with “not” in the copula. For Aristotle, “shirted” is an accident in the category of ekhein; thus Zayd's shirt is to his “being shirted” as his whiteness is to his “being white”; see the example below of the man carrying a piece of wood.

174 On Yaḥyā’s view of the relationship between logic and grammar, see his Maqāla fī tabyīn al-faṣl bayna ṣināʿatay al-manṭiq al-falsafī wa-al-naḥw al-ʿarabī, edited and translated by Endress, G., Journal for the History of Arabic Science, 2 (1978): 3850 . See also the newly discovered Yaḥyā treatise entitled Maqāla fī tabyīn faḍl ṣināʿat al-manṭiq bi-waṣf baʿḍ mā yufīduhu ahlahā min al-quwā al-muʿjiza li-sāʾir al-ṣināʿāt al-kalāmiyya siwāhā, MS Tehran, Madrasa-yi Marwī 19, fols. 3a23–4a4.

175 It is key to Yaḥyā’s critique that, while there may be a description of a form that does not mention body, you cannot have a definition of form without referring to body. Yaḥyā can therefore refuse to infer that the essence of the form is constituted without body, since this would follow only if the definition of the form (which expresses its essence) did not mention body.

176 Ibrāhīm is saying that body is not ʿaraḍ but rather ʿāriḍ, i.e., accidentally inhering in the matter and the form. In his Shifāʾ/Manṭiq/Maqūlāt, 23–27, Avicenna distinguishes between ʿaraḍ (accident in the sense given in the Categories, e.g., bayāḍ, “whiteness”) and ʿāriḍ (accident in the sense given in the Isagoge, e.g., abyaḍ [“white”]). On this see Menn, “Avicenna's metaphysics,” in Adamson (ed.), Interpreting Avicenna, pp. 147–8, n. 12.

177 Literally, “on which you see body”, perhaps in the sense of “on [the condition of] which you see body”, i.e., that you count something as a body only if it has dimensions, etc.

178 Qurʾān 3:173 (2 Corinthians 3:5 is similar in sentiment, but it is the Qurʾānic passage that Ibrāhīm is quoting, except for substituting “my” for “our”).

179 As noted in our edition of the Arabic, we are transposing this header from further down on folio 72b. We believe that this whole paragraph is not Ibrāhīm's (i.e., Ibrāhīm #12) but Yaḥyā’s last word in the exchange, because (1) Ibrāhīm #11 ends with an invocation; (2) Yaḥyā here seems to be defending himself against Ibrāhīm's charge, in Ibrāhīm #1, that Yaḥyā is being quarrelsome and competitive; and (3) the invocation in this final paragraph is nearly identical to that of Yaḥyā #42 (in contrast to Ibrāhīm's concluding invocation in Ibrāhīm #11).

180 As mentioned above (n. 113), Yaḥyā describes Sayf-al-Dawla as “the one who commanded it”, not as “my master” or “my prince”, as do Ibrāhīm and the Opponent. This indicates that Yaḥyā was not physically present in Sayf-al-Dawla's court, but probably remained in Baghdad.

181 The rhyming pair munāẓara/munāfara were introduced in Yaḥyā #3. However, in Yaḥyā #3 the two terms were contrasted (munāẓara is not as bad as munāfara).

182 Perhaps a contrast is being drawn between being restrained and careful in dialectic (i.e., the former) and trying to avoid completely eristic competition (i.e., the latter).

183 This is cited by Yaḥyā #34.

184 Cf. Isagoge 4,21–7; for an explicit mention of incorporeals, see 1,9–14.

185 Here adding the min before the dhāt, to make it parallel to the preceding phrase.

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Arabic Sciences and Philosophy
  • ISSN: 0957-4239
  • EISSN: 1474-0524
  • URL: /core/journals/arabic-sciences-and-philosophy
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