Abū Bakr ar-Rāzī on the Progress of Knowledge


Abū Bakr ar-Rāzī’s intense philosophical activity started after more than a century since the enormous corpus of Greek science and philosophy was translated into Arabic, and the philosopher’s thought bears witness to the assimilation of the legacy of Late Antiquity, through the multiple influences present in his work: from the Galenic medical texts, the Platonic tradition, or Hellenistic science. In this paper I will outline ar-Rāzī’s attitude towards the epistemological relevance of the philosophical tradition, as it was transmitted to the Islamicate civilisation. I will analyze the influence of Ancient philosophy on a particular topic of ar-Rāzī’s thought: the eternity of the world. The chosen topic allows to clarify ar-Rāzī’s position in the debate regarding the eternity of the world, but also to assess the influence of Galen on this issue. 

Keywords: Abū Bakr ar-Rāzī, arabic philosophy, natural philosophy, Galen, Science, epistemology, eternity, history of science

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