Logic and Aristotle's Rhetoric and Poetics in Medieval Arabic Philosophy


This book examines a widespread, and often misunderstood, doctrine within the medieval Aristotelian tradition, namely the inclusion of Aristotle's Rhetoric and Poetics within the scope of the Organon. It studies this doctrine, as presented by the Islamic philosophers Al- Fārābī, Avicenna, and Averroes, from a purely philosophical perspective, and argues that the logical construal of the arts of rhetoric and poetics is both interesting and illuminating.
The book begins by examining some prevalent misconceptions regarding the logical interpretation of the Rhetoric and Poetics. Chapter two considers the Greek background of the doctrine, first through an examination of the Aristotelian divisions of the sciences, and then through an examination of the beginnings of the logical classification of the Rhetoric and Poetics among the Greek commentators from the school of Alexandria. The remainder of the work is devoted to a detailed consideration of the Arabic philosophers' development of the doctrine, both their understanding of its general epistemological and logical underpinnings, and their elaboration of the specific logical structures upon which poetical and rhetorical discourse is based. Consideration is also given to the relationship between contemporary philosophical views of rhetoric and poetics, and the views of these medieval authors.

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' ...marvelously thorough account...a model of what might be accomplished in the investigation of Arabic philosophy but which is often missing or wanting...all future investigations of this theme ...must begin with this book in mind.' Paul E. Walker, Review of Metaphysics, 1992. ' Rarely does one come across such a combination of philosophical acuity and historical awareness...a useful and original contribution of Islamic philosophy...' Oliver Leaman, Asian Philosophy, 1992. ' Deborah L. Black explores the ramifications of this medieval understanding of the Organon in a meticulous and illuminating way...should prove stimulating for its acute insights.' Eric L. Ormsby, Middle East Journal, 1992. ' ...a successful attempt to solve the problems of rhetoric and poetics in the Arabic tradition of Aristotle,...The book helps us to gain a clearer insight into Aristotle's late Greek and medieval Arabic ltradition.' Nicholas Maróth, Journal Islamic Studies, 1992. ' The scholarship is impressive, the exposition of the views of the philosophers lucid...' J.N. Mattock, JRAS 2/3 ' ...Black's synthetic interpretation of the Arabs'doctrines, with positions of all three philosophers woven together to illuminate and complement each other and frequently developed by the author's own critical remarks and reflections, is one of the most admirable strenghts of this book...' Philipp W. Rosemann, Bulletin de Philosophie Médiévale, 1991.
Specialists in Islamic philosophy, students of the medieval philosophical tradition as a whole, students of Aristotle's Rhetoric, Poetics, and Organon, contemporary philosophers interested in the history of epistemology, logic and philosophy of language.