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The Simple Ontology of Kalām Atomism: An Outline

In: Early Science and Medicine
Author:
Sabra History of Science Department, Science Center 371, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

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Abstract

This paper aims to present concisely the Islamic kalām atomism as an alternative philosophy to Hellenizing falsafa. Kalām is a theological-philosophical discourse which, first (in the third/ninth century) ventured to rival the falsafa represented early by al-Kindī (d.ca. 252/866), then by al-Fārābī and Avicenna in the fourth/tenth and fifth/eleventh centuries, and which eventually (in the sixth/twelfth century and after) appeared to be inclined to propose a mingling of the kalām discourse with falsafa in a series of varied "syntheses".—Focusing on the simple ontology of the basic kalām atomism, and noting the hybrid character of kalām, the aim of this paper is to help to clarify the inevitable problematic consequences of those late ventures of Islamic intellectualism.

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