Mathematics and Physics in Classical Islam

Comparative Perspectives in the History and the Philosophy of Science


This book highlights the emergence of a new mathematical rationality and the beginning of the mathematisation of physics in Classical Islam. Exchanges between mathematics, physics, linguistics, arts and music were a factor of creativity and progress in the mathematical, the physical and the social sciences. Goods and ideas travelled on a world-scale, mainly through the trade routes connecting East and Southern Asia with the Near East, allowing the transmission of Greek-Arabic medicine to Yuan Muslim China. The development of science, first centred in the Near East, would gradually move to the Western side of the Mediterranean, as a result of Europe’s appropriation of the Arab and Hellenistic heritage. Contributors are Paul Buell, Anas Ghrab, Hossein Masoumi Hamedani, Zeinab Karimian, Giovanna Lelli, Marouane ben Miled, Patricia Radelet-de Grave, and Roshdi Rashed.

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Giovanna Lelli, PhD in Iranian Studies (I.U.O. Naples, 2000), is a researcher at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Among her publications are Knowledge and Beauty in Classical Islam. An aesthetic Reading of the Muqaddima by Ibn Khaldūn (Routledge, 2021).
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Notes on Contributors

Giovanna Lelli

1 Science in Islam and Classical Modernity
Roshdi Rashed

2 Physics and Mathematical Sciences in the Islamic Period: A Conceptual Survey
Hossein Masaoumi Hamedani

3 Ibn al-Haytham: between Mathematics and Physics
Roshdi Rashed

4 La musique parmi les sciences dans les textes arabes médiévaux
Anas Ghrab

5 Traditional and Modern Science in an Age of Transition: ʿAlī Muḥammad Iṣfahānī and the Logarithm of Numbers
Zeinab Karimian

6 Formalism and Language in the Beginnings of Arabic Algebra
Marouane ben Miled

7 Art and Mathematics, Two Different Paths to the Same Truth
Patricia Radelet-de Grave

8 The Pre-history of the Principle of Relativity
Patricia Radelet-de Grave

9 Intersections between Social and Scientific Thought: The Notion of muṭābaqa in the Muqaddima of Ibn Khaldūn
Giovanna Lelli

10 Arabic Medicine in China: Content and Context
Paul D. Buell

All those interested in the history and the philosophy of mathematics and physics, in Arabic and Islamic studies, comparative studies, the Silk routes and world history.
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