Suhrawardī’s Illuminationism

A Philosophical Study


In Suhrawardī’s Illuminationism, Jari Kaukua offers a new interpretation of Shihāb al-Dīn al-Suhrawardī’s (d. 1191 CE) illuminationist (ishrāqī) philosophy. Commonly portrayed as a philosophically inclined mystic, Suhrawardī appears here as a perspicacious critic of Avicenna who developed his critique into an alternative philosophical system.
Focusing on metaphysics and theory of science, Kaukua argues that Suhrawardī’s illuminationist philosophy combines rigorous metaphysical monism with a modest but positive assessment of scientific explanation. This philosophical core of Suhrawardī’s illuminationism is reconcilable with but independent of the mystical side of the shaykh al-ishrāq.

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Jari Kaukua, DSocSci (2007), is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Jyväskylä. He is the author of Self-Awareness in Islamic Philosophy (CUP, 2015) and many articles on classical and post-classical Islamic philosophy.


1 Real Definition
 1 Real Definition in Avicenna
 2 Suhrawardī’s Critique

2 Modal Logic
 1 Three Reductions: Quantification, Quality, Mode
 2 Avicenna’s Modal Syllogistic
 3 Suhrawardī’s Simplified Model

3 Iʿtibārāt
 1 From Essence and Existence to the iʿtibārāt
 2 The iʿtibārāt and Infinite Regress
 3 In Defence of the iʿtibārāt
 4 The Question of Truth

4 Bundles, Forms, and Perception
 1 From Hylomorphism to Bundle Theory
 2 Anticipation of Forms
 3 Theory of Perception

5 Light and Appearing
 1 The Axiomatic Foundation: Light, Darkness, and the Barrier in between
 2 The Historical Background

6 Light Monism
 1 Degrees of Light
 2 One Light of Lights
 3 From the One to Many: Primary Emanation
 4 Propitious Light: Secondary Emanation

7 Forms
 1 Arguments for the Forms
 2 Suhrawardī’s Theory of Forms
 3 Forms as Universal Causes

8 Corporeal Individuals
 1 Individuals as Bundles
 2 Three Objections
 3 The Question of Individuation

9 Knowledge and Science
 1 Iʿtibārī Concepts and Human Knowledge
 2 Illuminationist Theory of Science

Conclusion: Suhrawardī’s Illuminationism

All interested in the history of Islamic philosophy, and anyone concerned with the illuminationist (ishrāqī) tradition.
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