This book examines a widespread, and often misunderstood, doctrine within the medieval Aristotelian tradition, namely the inclusion of Aristotle's
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
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
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.