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POST-AVICENNAN LOGICIANS ON THE SUBJECT MATTER OF LOGIC: SOME THIRTEENTH- AND FOURTEENTH-CENTURY DISCUSSIONS

  • Khaled El-Rouayheb (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

In the thirteenth century, the influential logician Afḍal al-Dīn al-Khūnajī (d. 1248) departed from the Avicennan view that the subject matter of logic is “second intentions”. For al-Khūnajī, the subject matter of logic is “the objects of conception and assent”. His departure elicited intense and sometimes abstruse discussions in the course of subsequent centuries. Prominent supporters of Khūnajī's view on the subject matter of logic included Kātibī (d. 1277), Ibn Wāṣil (d. 1298) and Taftāzānī (d. 1390). Defenders of Avicenna's view included Ṭūsī (d. 1274), Samarqandī (d. 1303) and Quṭb al-Dīn al-Rāzī (d. 1365). This article presents the outline of the development of this discussion down to the end of the fourteenth century and attempts to reconstruct the major arguments of both sides.

Résumé

Au xiiie siècle, l'influent logicien, Afḍal al-Dīn al-Khūnajī (m. en 1248), se démarque du point de vue avicennien d'après lequel ce sont les “intentions secondes” qui forment le sujet de la logique. Pour al-Khūnajī, le sujet de la logique, ce sont “les objets des conceptions et des assentiments”. Cet écart par rapport à la formulation avicennienne va susciter, au cours des siècles suivants, d'intenses et parfois abstruses discussions. Dans le camp de ceux qui adhèrent au point de vue d'al-Khūnajī, on trouve des auteurs tels que Kātibī (m. en 1277), Ibn Wāṣil (m. en 1298) et Taftāzānī (m. en 1390). En revanche, Ṭūsī (m. en 1274), Samarqandī (m. en 1303) et Quṭb al-Dīn al-Rāzī (m. en 1365) se rangent dans le camp des défenseurs du point de vue d'Avicenne. Cet article présente les grandes lignes qui marquent le développement de cette discussion jusqu'à la fin du xive siècle et tente de reconstruire les arguments des deux partis.

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Email: kel@fas.harvard.edu
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1 Sabra A. I., “Avicenna on the subject matter of logic”, The Journal of Philosophy, 77 (1980): 746–64. The view that second intentions are the subject matter of logic was not the sole view in Latin scholastic circles but it was accepted by the Thomists and is described as “the most popular view” in the early-modern period by Ashworth E., Language and Logic in the Post-Medieval Period (Dordrecht, 1974), p. 33.

2 Street T., “Arabic and Islamic philosophy of language and logic,” Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (2008) [http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/arabic-islamic-language/], Section 2.1.3.

3 On Khūnajī and his innovations, see the editor's introduction to Afḍal al-Dīn al-Khūnajī, Kashf al-asrār ʿan ghawāmiḍ al-afkār, ed. by El-Rouayheb K. (Berlin and Tehran, 2010), pp. xxvi–xlviii.

4 Khūnajī, Kashf al-asrār, pp. 8–9.

5 As will be clear from what follows, a number of thirteenth-century scholars formulated the position that they attributed to Khūnajī as follows: the subject matter of logic is “conceptions and assents” (al-taṣawwurāt wa-al-taṣdīqāt). Khūnajī himself had written that it is “the objects of conceptions and assents” (al-maʿlūmāt al-taṣawwuriyya wa-al-taṣḍīqiyya). There appears to have been no thirteenth- or fourteenth-century scholar who held that the shift in phrasing reflected a substantive difference in view. Already Khūnajī's students Ibn Wāṣil and Sirāj al-Dīn al-Urmawī (d. 1283) formulated the position in terms of “conception and assent” rather than “objects of conceptions and assents”. Athīr al-Dīn al-Abharī (d. 1265), whose relation to Khūnajī is more difficult to determine, also stated that the subject matter of logic is “conceptions and assents”, whereas his student Kātibī used Khūnajī's original phrasing.

6 Ibn Wāṣil, Nukhbat al-fikar fī tathqīf al-naẓar (Manuscript: Yale University Library, Beinecke, Landberg 103), fol. 4a: iʿlam anna al-ḥaqqa anna mawḍūʿa al-manṭiqi huwa al-taṣawwurātu wa-al-taṣdīqātu kamā dhakarahu shaykhunā Afḍal al-Dīn al-Khūnajī raḥimahu Allāhu.

7 See al-Rāzī Fakhr al-Dīn, Sharḥ al-Ishārāt wa-al-tanbīhāt, ed. by Najafzada Alireza (Tehran, 2005), vol. 1, pp. 7580 and al-Ṭūsī Naṣīr al-Dīn, Sharḥ al-Ishārāt wa-al-tanbīhāt (Tehran, 1957), vol. 1, pp. 5865.

8 Kātibī, Jāmiʿ al-daqāʾiq fī kashf al-ḥaqāʾiq (Manuscript: British Library: Or. 11201), fol. 12a. It appears that Kātibī's allowing for category (iii) to be ʿawāriḍ dhātiyya is in line with Rāzī's interpretation of the notion, as opposed to that of Ṭūsī.

9 Kātibī, Jāmiʿ al-daqāʾiq, fol. 12b: wa-tafsīru al-maʿqūlāti al-thāniyati huwa anna al-insāna yataṣawwaru ḥaqāʾiqa al-ashyāʾi awwalan thumma yaḥkumu bi-baʿḍihā ʿalā baʿdin ḥukman taqyīdiyyan aw khabariyyan … fa-tilka al-ḥaqāʾiqu maʿqūlātun ūlā wa-kawnuhā bi-ḥaythu ṣārat maḥkūman ʿalayhā bi-hādhihi al-aḥkāmi lā yalḥaquhā illa baʿda an ṣārat maʿlūmatan awwalan fa-tilka al-aḥkāmu fī al-darajati al-thāniyati min al-taʿaqqul.

10 Najm al-Dīn al-Kātibī, Sharḥ Kashf al-asrār (Istanbul, Süleymaniye Kütüphanesi MS Carullah 1418, fol. 3b).

11 Kātibī, Jāmiʿ al-daqāʾiq, fol. 12b: idh al-manṭiqiyyu qad yabḥathu ʿan umūrin lā talḥaqu al-maʿqūlāti al-thāniyata aṣlan … bal al-maʿānī al-mufradata al-ḥāṣilata fī al-ʿaql li-annahu yabḥathu ʿan mafhūmi al-dhātiyyati wa-al-ʿaraḍiyyati wa-al-nawʿiyyati wa-al-jinsiyyati wa-al-faṣliyyati wa-al-mawḍūʿiyyati wa-al-maḥmūliyyati wa-ghayri dhālika mimmā yalḥaqu al-maʿqūla min al-maʿānī al-mufrada. Shams al-Dīn al-Shahrazūrī (fl. 1288) relies heavily on Kātibī's Jāmiʿ al-daqāʾiq in the sections on logic in his philosophical encyclopedia al-Shajara al-ilāhiyya fī ʿulūm al-ḥaqāʾiq al-rabbāniyya, see the discussion of this point in the edition of M. N. Görgün (Istanbul and Beirut, 2007), vol. 1, pp. 46–7.

12 Abed S., Aristotelian Logic and the Arabic Language in Alfārābī (Albany, NY, 1991), pp. 3540.

13 al-Rāzī Fakhr al-Dīn, Manṭiq al-Mulakhkhaṣ, ed. by Karamaleki A. F. and Asgharinezhad A. (Tehran, 2002), p. 10.

14 Sīnā Ibn, al-Shifāʾ: al-Madkhal, ed. Madkour I., El-Khodieri M., Anawati G. and El-Ahwani F. (Cairo, 1952), p. 15.

15 Ibn Sīnā, al-Shifāʾ: al-Madkhal, p. 23. Avicenna does not explicitly state that he is speaking of “second intentions” in the two cited passages from al-Madkhal. However, he went on to write in the book on Metaphysics of al-Shifāʾ that he has already mentioned that the subject matter of logic is second intentions, see Marmura M. (ed. and trans.), The Metaphysics of the Healing (Provo, Utah, 2005), p. 7. It is therefore justifiable to take the explication of the subject matter of logic in al-Madkhal to be equivalent to an explication of Avicenna's understanding of second intentions (which is what the later tradition did).

16 Ibn Wāṣil, Nukhbat al-fikar, fol. 4a: wa-maʿnā al-maʿqūlāti al-thāniyati mā yaʿriḍu li-ṣuwari al-mawjūdāti al-khārijiyyati fī al-dhihni min al-mawḍūʿiyyati wa-al-maḥmūliyyati wa-al-jinsiyyati wa-al-faṣliyyati wa-ghayri dhālika min al-iʿtibārāti fa-inna hādhihi umūrun ʿuqilat thāniyan baʿda taʿaqquli al-umūri al-khārijiyyati awwalan fa-idhā buḥitha ʿan hādhihi al-iʿtibārāti min ḥaythu yumkinu al-taʾaddī bi-wāsiṭatihā min al-maʿlūmāti ilā al-majhūlāti kāna dhālika huwa al-manṭiq.

17 Kātibī, Sharḥ Kashf al-asrār, fol. 4a: wa-dhahaba al-Shaykhu fī al-Shifāʾi ilā anna mawḍūʿa al-manṭiqi umūrun taʿriḍu limā fī al-dhihni min al-ḥaqāʿiqi min ḥaythu hiya fī al-dhihni lā yuḥādhī bihā amrun khārijun min jihati ʿaraḍin yaʿriḍu lahā wa-huwa annahā mūṣilatun ilā an yaḥṣula fī al-nafsi ṣūratun ukhrā ʿaqliyyatun lam taku … wa-al-Imāmu ayḍan dhahaba ilā hādhā fī al-Mulakhkhaṣi illā annahu faṣṣala hādhā al-kalāma wa-qāla: mawḍūʿu al-manṭiqi al-maʿqūlātu al-thāniyatu min ḥaythu annahu yumkinu an yutaʾaddā bi-wāsiṭatihā min al-maʿlūmāti ilā al-majhūlāti. wa-fassara al-maʿqūlāti al-thāniyata bi-an qāla: inna al-insāna yataṣawwaru ḥaqāʾiqa al-ashyāʾi awwalan thumma yaḥkumu ʿalā baʿḍihā bi-baʿḍin ḥukman taqyīdiyyan ka-qawlinā “al-ḥayawānu al-nāṭiqu” aw khabariyyan ka-qawlinā “al-insānu nāṭiqun” fa-kawnu al-māhiyyati maḥkūman ʿalayhā ʿalā hādhā al-wajhi amrun lā yalḥaquhā illā baʿda ṣayrūratihā maʿlūmatan awwalan faʾidhan hiya bi-hādhā al-iʿtibāri fī al-darajati al-thāniyati fa-li-dhālika summiyat al-maʿqūlātu al-thāniya.

18 Sāwī is known to have been a contemporary of the theologian Shahrastānī (d. 1153) and the philosopher Abū al-Barakāt al-Baghdādī (d. 1165). His Baṣāʾir is explicitly dedicated to Naṣīr al-Dīn Maḥmūd whom he calls ʿayn Khurāsān, see Sāwī , al-Baṣāʾir al-Naṣīriyya, with annotations by M. ʿAbduh (Cairo, 1899), p. 3. This may be either Naṣīr al-Dīn Maḥmūd, the Vizier of Sultan Sanjar of Khurasan from 1127 to 1131 or the successor of Sanjar, Sultan Maḥmūd (r. 1157–1164).

19 Sāwī, al-Baṣāʾir al-Naṣīriyya, p. 6.

20 See al-Jurjānī al-Sayyid al-Sharīf, Sharḥ al-Mawāqif fī ʿilm al-kalām, ed. Dimyāṭī M. (Beirut, 1998), vol. 1, p. 181 (top rubric). The opposition to mental existence is there attributed to the majority of the theologians (jumhūr al-mutakallimīn).

21 Quṭb al-Dīn al-Rāzī, Taḥrīr al-qawāʿid, p. 14; Urmawī, Maṭāliʿ al-anwār [Printed on the margins of Quṭb al-Dīn al-Rāzī, Lawāmiʿ al-asrār fī sharḥ Maṭāliʿ al-anwār (Istanbul, 1861)], p. 15; Taftāzānī, Tahdhīb al-manṭiq wa-al-kalām, in Ḥāshiyat Mullā ʿAbd-Allāh with annotations by M. al-Dashtī (Beirut, 1988), p. 9.

22 Bihārī, Sullam al-ʿulūm (Karachi, no date), p. 12; Gelenbevī, al-Burhān fī ʿilm al-mīzān (Istanbul, 1892), p. 4; Sabzevārī, Sharḥ al-Manẓūma, ed. by Ṭālibī M. with annotations by Ḥasanzāde Āmolī (Qom, 1995), p. 60. However, Sabzevārī appears to have vacillated on this point for he had earlier (on page 38) discussed the objection that logic is not part of philosophy since its subject matter is second intentions (a vacillation noted by the annotator).

23 Ṭūsī , Taʿdīl al-miʿyār fī naqd Tanzīl al-afkār, in Mohaghegh M. and Izutsu T. (eds.), Collected Papers on Logic and Language (Tehran, 1974), p. 144: in ʿanā bi-al-taṣawwurāti wa-al-taṣdīqāti jamīʿa mā yaqaʿu ʿalayhi hādhāni al-ismān fa-hiya al-ʿulūmu bi-asrihā … wa-ḥīnaʾidhin yakūnu al-mafhūmu minhu anna mawḍūʿa al-manṭiqi huwa jamīʿu al-ʿulūmi wa-lā shakka fī annahā laysat bi-mawḍūʿi al-manṭiq.

24 Ṭūsī, Taʿdīl al-miʿyār, pp. 145–6.

25 On Samarqandī, see Miller L., “al-Samarqandī, Shams al-Dīn”, in van Donzel E. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd edn, vol. VIII (Leiden, 1960–2002), p. 1038.

26 Samarqandī, Sharḥ Qisṭās al-afkār (Yale University Library, Beinecke, MS Nemoy 1410, fol. 13b–14a).

27 Sabra, “Avicenna on the subject matter of logic”, p. 757.

28 Ṭūsī, Sharḥ al-Ishārāt, vol. 1, pp. 299–300.

29 His commentary on al-Shamsiyya was printed in Cairo in 1894 and 1905, in Istanbul in 1907, and lithographed in Iran in 1860 and 1877, and in India in 1847, 1884 and 1891.

30 The 1861 Istanbul printing of his commentary on Maṭāliʿ al-anwār took up 251 pages with 37 lines per page; see Lawāmiʿ al-asrār fī sharḥ Maṭāliʿ al-anwār (Istanbul, 1861). By comparison, the 1907 Istanbul printing of his commentary on al-Shamsiyya (with similar font) took up 178 pages with 27 lines per page; see al-Rāzī Quṭb al-Dīn, Taḥrīr al-qawāʿid al-manṭiqiyya bi-sharḥ al-Risāla al-Shamsiyya (Istanbul, 1907).

31 Rescher N., The Development of Arabic Logic (Pittsburgh, 1964), pp. 215–16.

32 Street T., “Arabic logic”, in Gabbay D. M. and Woods J. (eds.), Greek, Indian and Arabic Logic. Vol. 1 of Handbook of the History of Logic (Amsterdam, 2004), pp. 523–96, esp. 567–79.

33 T. Street, “Arabic and Islamic philosophy of language and logic”, section 1.5.1.

34 Urmawī, Maṭāliʿ al-anwār, p. 15.

35 Quṭb al-Dīn, Lawāmiʿ al-asrār, p. 16: wa-iʿtaraḍa ʿalayhi aktharu al-mutaʾakhkhirīna bi-anna al-manṭiqiyya yabḥathu ʿan nafsi al-maʿqūlāti al-thāniyati ayḍan ka-al-kulliyyati wa-al-juzʾiyyati wa-al-dhātiyyati wa-al-ʿaraḍiyyati wa-naẓāʾirihā fa-lā takūnu hiya mawḍūʿahu. Wa-li-dhālika ʿadala ṣāḥibu al-Kashfi wa-al-muṣannifi ʿan ṭarīqat al-muḥaqqiqīna ilā mā huwa aʿammu fa-qālā: mawḍūʿuhu al-taṣawwurātu ay al-maʿlūmātu al-taṣawwuriyyatu wa-al-taṣdīqātu ay al-maʿlūmātu al-taṣdīqiyyatu li-anna baḥtha al-manṭiqiyyi ʿan aʿrāḍihā al-dhātiyya.

36 Quṭb al-Dīn, Lawāmiʿ al-asrār, p. 16.

37 Quṭb al-Dīn's own phrasing is very condensed and the following is based on the explication of the point by his second-generation student Jurjānī (d. 1413), see al-Sayyid al-Sharīf al-Jurjānī, Ḥāshiya ʿalā Sharḥ al-Maṭāliʿ [Printed as an appendix with independent pagination to Quṭb al-Dīn, Lawāmiʿ al-asrār], pp. 53–4.

38 Al-Jurjānī, Ḥāshiya, p. 54.

39 al-Taftāzānī Saʿd al-Dīn, Sharḥ al-Shamsiyya (Lucknow, 1899), p. 8: aqūlu: al-murādu mā ṣadaqat hiya ʿalayhi lākin min ḥaythu annahā tūṣilu ilā taṣawwurin mā aw taṣdīqin mā lā ilā taṣawwurin aw taṣdīqin makhṣūṣin wa-al-ḥudūdu wa-al-ḥujaju al-mustaʿmalatu fī al-ʿulūmi lā dakhla li-khuṣūṣiyyātihā fī al-īṣāli ilā muṭlaqi al-taṣawwuri wa-al-taṣdīqi bal innamā tūṣilu ilayhi min ḥaythu annahu [sic – I read annahā] ḥaddun wa-ḥujjatun iṭlāqan wa-ijmālan wa-hiya bihādhihi al-ḥaythiyyati mawḍūʿu al-manṭiqi wa-yabḥathu ʿan aḥwālihā.

40 Jurjānī, Ḥāshiya, p. 54: lā yuqālu: naḥnu ayḍan nuqayyidu al-maʿlūmāti al-taṣawwuriyyata wa-al-taṣdīqiyyata bi-qaydin yukhaṣṣiṣuhumā bi-mawḍūʿi al-manṭiqi. li-annā naqūlu: lā yubḥathu fīhi illā ʿan aḥwāli al-maʿqūlāti al-thāniyati al-munṭabiqati ʿalā al-maʿqūlāti al-ūlā fa-in lam yantahī takhṣīṣuka ilayhā lā yujdīka nafʿan wa-in intahā fa-lā ḥājata li-al-ʿudūli ʿan al-maḥajjati al-bayḍāʾa ilā iʿtibāri al-aʿamm.

41 See for example the extensive discussion in Ālī Kāshif al-Ghiṭāʾ, Naqd al-ārāʾ al-manṭiqiyya wa-ḥall mushkilātihā (Qom, 2006 [reprint of 1954 edition]), pp. 107–15.

42 See al-Rāzī Fakhr al-Dīn, al-Mabāḥith al-mashriqiyya, ed. Al-Baghdādī M. (Beirut, 1990), vol. 1, pp. 130–2. The discussions of the issue by Ījī and Taftāzānī also conclude that older theologians' objections to mental existence are weak and largely based on misunderstanding, see al-Sayyid al-Sharīf al-Jurjānī, Sharḥ al-Mawāqif, vol. 1, pp. 169–84 (top rubric) and al-Taftāzānī Saʿd al-Dīn, Sharḥ al-Maqāṣid, ed. ʿʿUmayra A. (Cairo, 1984), vol. 1, pp. 386–93.

43 I would like to thank the anonymous readers of ASP for detailed and helpful comments on an earlier draft.

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