Jul 23, 2019 in History

Philosophers

Malek Bennabi

Malek Bennabi (1905 – 1973) is a well-known philosopher and writer from Algeria, who dedicated his works to the theme of human society, especially Muslim society, focusing on the causes, which provoked Muslim civilization decline. The philosopher wrote more than 25 books, including the most prominent, meaning “Les Conditions de la Renaissance” and “The Question of Culture”. The philosopher was born in Constantine in 1905. His father was a literate man, thus he encouraged his son to get education in France. Due to the fact that Algeria was under French colonization, numerous Algerian families, incorporating Bennabi’s one, had to live in penury. Bennabi’s father was unable not get work after moving to Tibissa, therefore, Malek mother had to work for the family. The overall politic and economic context worsened with the First World War. It caused Bennabi to move to Constantine to his aunt in order to be able to protract his studies. This removal allowed the philosopher to communicate with his grandfather, who used to grumble about the economic and social issues of Algeria. This is believed to be philosopher’s first interplay with his further philosophical concepts. Despite the fact that his academic background concerned engineering, all of hi texts discuss social science, culture or civilization. He is the most prominent for development of the notion of coloniability, which is regards the internal predisposition of some societies to be colonized. In addition, civilization is another notion, which holds a leading position in the philosopher’s system of thought. Bennabi’s civilization equation looks in the following way: Man + Soil + Time= Civilization. Thus, the philosopher believed that man, soil and time could not create civilization by themselves. They require a religion, or some spiritual notions, which would perform a function of a catalyst for this equation. Religion enhanced the moral, which allows society to rise above its motionless state. Thus, the philosopher believes religion to be a precondition for all civilizations, a constituent internalize by society before any civilization cycle might actually start. 

Ibn Khaldun

Ibn Khaldun (1332 AD –1406 AD) is a prominent Arab Muslim historian and philosopher, believed to be one of the founding fathers of current sociology and economics. He is famous for his book “The Muqaddimah”. Khaldun’s other texts include “Lubābu l-Muhassal”, which stands for a commentary on the Islamic theology, “Sifā'u l-Sā'il”, which concerns a work dedicated to Sufism, “Allaqa li-l-Sultān”, which regards logics, and “Kitābu l-ʻibār”, which stands for his major work. His parents were upper class Arabs of Yemenite origin, and they lived in Spain, however after the Seville decline, they had to migrate to Tunisia. This is a place where the philosopher received his education and enrolled into the service of the Egyptian regent. However, his desire of getting better level of knowledge stimulated him to leave this service and travel to Fez. The migration was followed by a drawling period of disruption due to contemporary political contention influencing his career. The obscurity of his career continued until he settled in Egypt, where he spent his last 24 years. In term of philosophy, Ibn Khaldūn believed that when a society becomes a huge and serious civilization (and, apparently, the major culture in its region), the highest point of its development is always followed by a period of decline. For instance, the conjunct group of barbarians conquers the declining civilization. When these barbarians stiffen their control over the conquered society, they would become interested and attracted to its more subtle aspects, including literacy and arts. Thus, they would either internalize into or arrogate these cultural practices. However, ultimately, a new group of barbarians, who would repeat previous process, would conquer the former barbarians. 

Plato

Plato was born approximately in 428 BCE. Scientists and historians do not know the exact time and location of philosopher’s birth, but they are sure that his family was aristocratic and authoritative. He is believed to be born in Athens. The majority of scholars divide Plato’s main works into three different categories. The first concerns the Socratic Dialogues, as Plato is very close in his texts to Socrates’ teachings. The philosopher’s most momentous text, “The Republic”, belongs to the second category. The text stands for the discussion of the morality of fairness, bravery, sagacity, and patience of the society and individuals in particular. The last group includes such his works, as “Statesman”, and “Laws”. Two main occasions formulated Plato’s course in life. The first concerns the meeting with the great Greek philosopher Socrates. The second regards the Peloponnesian War, in which Plato served for approximately 5 years. The conquering of Athens terminated its democracy, and started oligarchy, created by Spartans. In fact, some of the philosopher’s relatives were prominent figures in the new government, which worsen and limited the rights of Athenian citizens. Plato traveled for 12 years along the Mediterranean region after Socrates death. He also studied mathematics in Italy, dedicating his time to geometry, geology, astronomy and religion in Egypt. In term of physiology, Plato grounded his ideas on Socrates’ teachings and induced the idea that the mistakes appear when the society and individuals do not engage appropriately with fairness, beauty, and equability. Plato devoted specific attention to these terms. He believed them to be the most significant elements of reality, providing the intelligibility to the sensible world. Plato also believed that the good life demands not only a particular type of cognizance (according to Socrates suggestion) but also habituation to sound emotive reactions. This leads to harmony between the three parts of the soul, including the reason, spirit, and appetite. 

Frantz Fanon

Frantz Fanon (1925 –1961) is an African-Caribbean writer and philosopher, whose texts are highly important in the area of Marxism, and postcolonial studies. Fanon’s first and the most important book stands for “Black Skin, White Masks”. This is an analysis of the negative psychologic influences of colonial submission on Black people. His other works include “The Wretched of the Earth”, and “A Dying Colonialism. The philosopher was born in Martinique. This island was a French colony part. He belonged to middle-class family, in which his father was a successor of enslaved Africans, while his mother was an illegal infant of African and European origin. When France fell to the Nazis, naval troops were blocked on Martinique. Due to the fact that French naval powers had to sustain in Martinique, they seized the government from the local people and founded a collaborator oppressive regime. The torment of the Martiniquan society by the French sailors impacted Fanon, enhancing his feeling of estrangement and his revulsion concerning colonial racism. In terms of philosophy, Fanon discussed the notion of decolonization in the majority his texts. He believed that the struggle for freedom should be as violent as colonization itself. Philosopher is sure that it is required as colonialism is a clear system of exploitation, which forces the colonized to feel second-class in regards with settlers, as it exploits the “natives” by utilizing them as slaves, at the same time exploiting the soil and the natural sources. The colonizers utilize force to make the “natives” act appropriately. Therefore, Fanon believed that such violence could merely be dismantled by analogous or greater violence. Nevertheless, this violence should appear on a national scale and not from different groups separately. Thus, the philosopher believed that  decolonization should be featured by two separate characteristics: firstly, it has to be violent, and secondly, it has to be national.

 

Voltaire

Voltaire (original name François-Marie Arouet, 1694 –1778), is a well known French Enlightenment philosopher and writer. He is prominent for his ingenuity, his onrushes on the Catholic Church, and his solicitation of freedom of religion and uttering, and detachment of power and church. The facts demonstrate that Voltaire wrote more than 2,000 books and brochures. His popular philosophic works appeared as short stories “Micromégas”, “Plato's Dream”, and “Dictionnaire Philosophique”. The last one is an encyclopedic dictionary, which embraces the notions of Enlightenment and rejects the concepts of the Roman Catholic Church. The facts show that Voltaire was deported to Tulle for deriding from the regent Orleans. Upon returning to Paris, he was arrested and deported to the Bastille for a year because of his libelous poetry. The philosopher was exiled to the Bastille again afterwards and then he was forced to go to England. After his publication of “Letters on the English Nation”, the French church and government became furious, which made him stay away from Paris for 15 years. The “Dictionnaire Philosophique” is his famous philosophical work. This is the text, in which Voltaire wrote bout the human origins of principles, doctrines and reliance. He also demonstrated barbarous conduct of religious and political establishments in casting blood over the struggles of competitive sects. The philosopher was a desperate critic of religious customs and traditions, being indisposed to the concept of a supreme being. His conception of God was deist, as he believed that the existence of God was an issue of cause and observation rather than an issue of faith. Voltaire also strongly criticized slavery, but at the same speculated and attempted to explain that the various races had different origins. Thus, the philosopher used to doubt that black people had analogous intelligence as white people. 

Johanna Arendt

Johanna Arendt (1906 –1975) is a well-known German-born political theorist. She is frequently portrayed as a philosopher, but Johanna herself has renounced such label on a basis of the fact that philosophy regards with ‘man in the singular’. Her work include “The Origins of Totalitarianism”, “The Human Condition”, “Men in Dark Times”, “On Revolution”, “On Violence”, and the “Life of the Mind”. Arendt claimed that she is as a political theorist, as her works focuses on the statement that “men, not Man, live on the earth and inhabit the world”. Johanna was born in a sublunary German-Jewish family. As she was born a German-Jewish family, she had to depart from Germany in 1933 and moved to Paris, and afterwards to the U.S.. The “Human Condition” is her major philosophical text, in which she clearly expressed a negative apprehension of modernity. The philosopher believed that modernity was featured by the detriment of the world, meaning the limitation or liquidation of the public sphere of operation and speaking in behalf of the private world of self-analysis and the private chase of economic interests. She believed modernity to be the time of bureaucratic control and anonymous occupation and elite predomination and the manipulation of public ideas and thoughts. She presented an idea that modernity is the time when totalitarian types of government, including Nazism and Stalinism, appeared due to the institutionalization of terror and coercion. She also developed a theory of political action, respective to the subsistence of a public realm. Arendt debates that, while human life constantly develops in the societies, the social-being constituent of human character, and political life, has been deliberately created by a limited quantity of these societies to provide a possibility to people to obtain freedom via the creation of a common world. 

Ibn Rushd

Ibn Rushd (also known as Averroes in the Western World) was born in Cordoba. He belonged to a family with a solid and honorable tradition of legal and public service. The history demonstrates that Rushd’s grandfather was a main judge of the city under the Almoravids’ ruling. His father had analogous position until the Almoravids were superseded by the Almohads. The philosopher started to write books at the age of 31. He was invited to the capital and approved as Caliph’s physician. Rushd’s ideas and thought on theology and philosophy provoked the Caliph’s anger. All of Rushd’s books were burnt and the philosopher was exiled to Lucena. His writings typically exceeded 20,000 pages, encompassing a broad range of various subjects, incorporating early Islamic philosophy, Islamic philosophy logics, Islamic theology, etc. The philosopher created minimum 80 original works, which incorporated 28 works on philosophy. In terms of philosophy, Averroes promoted the Greek philosophy tradition in the Islamic world Averroes and condemned Neoplatonism by Avicenna’s, which was partially grounded on the texts of neo-Platonic philosophers, Plotinus and Proclus. He also condemned the idea developed by Avicenna concerning the fact that essence is barely casual. The last believed that essence is ontologically antecedent to subsistence. Averroes followed the Aristotle idea concerning the fact that that individual subsistence is initial and original. They can be subdivided mentally, but in a case of ontology, both the existence and the essence stand for the one. This is an example of Plato’s theory of Ideas change, in which ideas antecede particular features. Plato’s theory changed to Aristotle’s theory, in which particulars come first, while the essence appears as a result of a process of abstractness. In addition, Averroes attempted to conciliate Aristotle’s system of thought with Islam. Therefore, Averroes believed that there is no conflict between religion and philosophy, because they are discrepant modes of obtaining analogous truth. He also believed in the immortality of the universe. Moreover, Averroes regarded that soul is subdivided into two parts, individual and divine. The individual part is not immortal, while all human being share one analogous divine soul at the basic level. 

Abū al-Ghazālī

Abu al-Ghazali (1058–1111) is a well-known Muslim theologian and philosopher. A lot of researchers believe that Al-Ghazali was the most authoritative Muslim after the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The Islamic civilization believes him to be re-newer of the faith. A lot of his works successfully altered the course of Islamic philosophy. The last stood for the early Islamic Neoplatonism, which evolved on the basis of Hellenistic philosophy. He successfully criticized this philosophy and it never actually recovered. Moreover, Al-Ghazali brought the contemporary orthodox Islam in close contact with Sufism as well. Al-Ghazali was born in Iran. His father died in poverty, while his two sons were left to be catered by Sufi. Al-Ghazali experienced a spiritual depression in 1095, and therefore discarded his career and left Baghdad in order to on pilgrimage to Mecca. Afterwards, he returned to Tus and spent a number of years in sanctuary. The philosopher wrote more than 70 books on the topics of Islamic philosophy and Sufism. His work “The Incoherence of the Philosophers” was a significant text for the change of Islamic philosophy due to its furious deviation of Plato and Aristotle. The writing was dedicated to ‘falasifa’, an Islamic philosophers group, which developed on the ideas of Ancient Greeks. Al-Ghazali debated that a number of fundamentalists, who believed ‘falsafa’ to be inconsistent with religion, had a tendency to unconditionally abandon all ideas accepted by this group, incorporating scientific facts (meaning the solar and the lunar eclipses). The major problem lies in the fact that as these philosophers were convinced concerning a particular idea, they tended to uncritically and thoughtlessly admit all other ideas presented by Greek philosophers. 

Muhammad Iqbal

Muhammad Iqbal (1877 –1938) is known to be a philosopher, scientist and writer of British India. He is famous for the fact of inspiring the Pakistan Movement. Iqbal is the only philosopher of post-classical period of Islamic philosophy. He is also regarded to be a restorer of the philosophical discipline in the Muslim world.  Iqbal is believed to be the only Islamic philosopher who made a solid tentative to grabble with the issues of contemporary western philosophy in the Islamic contexture. His major philosophical works include “The Development of Metaphysics in Persia” and “The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam”. He was born in the present-day Pakistan. His family was poor, as his father was a non-educated tailor, but a highly religious man. His parents belonged to Kashmiri clan, which converted to Islam. Iqbal started learning Quran being 4 years old. He received higher education in Europe, England. Mawlana Rumi’s philosophy seriously influenced the philosopher during his academic years. Due to the fact that he was deeply interested and grounded in religion during his childhood, this influence solidly stimulated him to study Islam, and Islamic civilization philosophy and culture. Thus, in terms of philosophy, Iqbal introduced his concept of self, known as ‘Khudi’. The last one stands for the celestial glisten, which is attendant in each human being. The philosopher was sure that each person was supposed to make a serious journey of conversion to realize this celestial glisten. Therefore, Iqbal had a serious desire to evoke the Muslim nation, taking his afflatus from western existentialists (like Nietzsche) and Muslim clerical teachers. In accordance with Iqbal, ‘Khudi’ entitles the Muslim individual.  “Khudi” has a serious superficial function combined with a significant role of a motivator for Muslims’ nations, as it incarnates a deep philosophical notion.

Socrates

Socrates (470– 399 BC) is known as a classical Greek philosopher, who is believed to be one of the establishers of Western philosophy. Socrates was born in a family of sculptor in Alopeke, and belonged to the tribe Antiochis. He took part in Peloponnesian War. The philosopher lived during the period of the transformation from Athenian dominance to its decadence with the conquering by Sparta. When Athens started to stabilize and restore from its derogatory defeat, the Athenian society criticized democracy as an effective manner of power. Socrates severely criticized democracy, which led to trial and death of the philosopher. His most significant indemnity to Western philosophy concerns the dialectic mode of query, also known as ‘elenchus. The philosopher applied this method to the analysis of major moral notion, including the Good and fairness. Thus, the issue had to be subdivided into a group of question in order to resolve this issue. The answers to the group of this questions would progressively refine the answer a main query. Socrates is believed to be a father of political philosophy, and moral philosophy. In addition, Socrates questioned the Sophistic doctrine, which stated that virtues could be taught. The philosopher debated that moral distinction was a matter of god-given heritage rather than paternalistic education and upbringing.

logotype

Related essays