Farabi’s Classification of Sciences and Understanding of LogicJune 27, 2021
Each classification of sciences reflects the worldview of the thinker who made that classification, as well as his understanding of science and method.
Although al-Fârâbî has put forward some short classifications in his works titled The Acquisition of Happiness (Tahsîlü’s-sa’ade), Direction to the Path of Happiness (et-Tenbîh alâ sabil’s-sa’âde) and Beginning to Logic (et-Tavtı’e), the Enumeration of Sciences he wrote for this purpose. In his work (İhsâ’ü’l-ulûm), he classified the sciences of his period and stated the definition of each of them, their theoretical and practical value and their importance in education.
In this work, the philosopher classifies the sciences under five main headings (chapters): In the first chapter, linguistics and, accordingly, language (dictionary), vocabulary (consumables), syntax (nahiv), writing, reading and poetry are discussed. In the second chapter, which is devoted to the science of logic, the necessity of this science, its benefits and method, its subject and parts (categories, propositions, analogy, proof, syllabus, fallacy, poetry, oratory), and its importance in education and training are emphasized. While the third chapter is devoted to mathematical sciences (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music, mechanics, levers), the fourth chapter is philosophical sciences physics (physics, sky and earth, formation and decay, meteorology, simple objects, accidents and passions, zoology, botany, psychology, mineralogy, anthropology) and metaphysics (ontology, principles of evidence, incorporeal beings). In the fifth chapter, ethics and politics as well as the sciences of fiqh and kalam are introduced as civilized sciences. Fârâbî, in his period and cultural climate, linked fiqh (law) and theology, which had been placed under the category of religious sciences until that day, with philosophy, and included these two disciplines in a separate category, together with morality and politics, as civil sciences or social sciences.
This is a new approach peculiar to the philosopher. Fârâbî’s success in the field of logic first emerges in his studies on Aristotle’s Organon. The philosopher not only did the summary, commentary and commentary of every part of the Organon, but also solved many problems that previous logicians had overlooked and wrote independent works on all parts of logic (Kaya, 1983: 82-83). He divides logic into two parts as “concepts” (tasawwurat) and “propositions/propositions” (tasdiqat) with a classification that was not seen in logicians before him, including Aristotle, and that gave direction to Islamic logicians after him. The first part deals with terms and the basic elements that make up the definition, and the second part deals with propositions, syllogism and forms of proof. According to Fârâbî, logic is “a discipline that supports the power of reason in every subject where there is a possibility of error and directs it to the right and teaches to be protected from error in all knowledge obtained by reason”. (Fârâbî, 2001: 3) The discipline of logic took its name from the word “nutk”, which has three meanings: “power of reason”, “concept accumulation in the mind” and “expressing them with language”, and it has two functions: The mind (a) and concept generation. and in the thinking process, (b) as well as in speech and discourse, to avoid making mistakes and to direct them to what is right. Fârâbî, considering the etymology of the name logic, evaluates the first function of this discipline as “inner speech” (ennutku’d-internal), and the second function as “external speech” (an-nutku’l-kharicî). Because of this feature, logic resembles grammar in a way. The difference is that while logic reveals the laws of thinking/thought, which is the common denominator of all humanity, grammar gives the rules of the language of a nation.
In other words, grammar contains the rules of correct speech and logic includes the rules of correct thinking; The relationship of logic with reason and concepts is what grammar is with language and words (Fârâbî, 2001: 4, 10). Fârâbî divides the sciences into two as “the ones based on comparison” and “the ones based on comparison” in terms of their relation with “logic” in general and “qiyas” in particular. Non-comparative sciences and arts, such as medicine, agriculture, carpentry and construction, are more practical than theoretical knowledge. The ones based on comparison are philosophy, cedel, sophistication, rhetoric and poetry that Fârâbî first evaluated under the name of “Five Arts”. In this context, according to Fârâbî, who mentions the two separate functions of qiyas (a) in addressing others and (b) in drawing conclusions about the relations of beings with each other, four of the five arts, excluding philosophy, use qiyas only to address others, whereas philosophy uses qiyas to address others. takes advantage of both functions. As for the characteristics of the five arts: (1) The “philosophical discourse”, also known as “burhan” (proving/proving), is based on proven propositions and delivers certain/reliable (close) information. (2) What is expected from dialectical (jadeli) discourse is to gain superiority based on widely known and generally accepted propositions. (3) Sophistic discourse serves the purpose of deceiving the addressee by using propositions that are products of imagination and delusion. (4) The goal of rhetorical (hatabi) discourse is to persuade the addressee with imprecise propositions. (5) f