Farabi’s Philosophy of Being, Her Ontology UnderstandingJune 27, 2021
According to Farabi, “existence” is the most general concept that the human mind can reach and cannot be defined; because the definition consists of genus and chapter; however, there is no more universal concept that encompasses the being and is in the position of its genus.
Al-Farabi interprets existence in a hierarchy descending from the most perfect to the lowest level of perfection. According to this, at the top is the most perfect “First Cause” (God) and at the bottom is the “first matter” (heyula).
After the First Cause, there are the minds that the philosopher calls “seconds” (essevânî) and “minds separate from matter” (al-ukulü’l-mufârıka), and that he sees at the level of spirituals and angels, whose number corresponds to the number of nine celestial spheres (felek). These nine minds, which take their existence from God, are the reason for the existence of both the celestial spheres and the “active mind”, which constitutes the third level of existence.
At the fourth level of existence, there is the “soul” and its circular motion in the celestial bodies; it refers to all kinds of biological, physiological and psychological activities in humans, animals and plants. Although the “form” (form) at the fifth level and the “matter” constituting the sixth level of existence are simple entities, they are far from perfection and cannot exist separately from each other.
By combining the active and shaping form with the passive and accepting matter, four elements (elements) consisting primarily of earth, water, air and fire, each of which has two qualities, are formed in the sub-lunar realm.
As a result of the mixture of two of the four elements, the first concrete matter, that is, the object, occurs. This is followed by the formation of inanimate beings in the first stage and then the formation of living beings.
While the main material of the bodies that make up the sub-lunar realm is four elements, the main material of the celestial bodies in the superlunar realm is the “apocalyptic”, which is lighter than air. (Fârâbî, 1964: 31-41, 52; 1985: 57-58; ibid. Kaya, 1995: 149)
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook