The Philosophy of Existence of Al-Kindi (Al Kindi)

The Philosophy of Existence of Al-Kindi (Al Kindi)

June 26, 2021 Off By Felso

Kindi sees philosophy as “the highest and most valuable of human arts”.

He followed this discipline in the works of Plato and Aristotle, the two great philosophers of ancient Greece, which were translated into Arabic, and in the IV-VI of Plotinus’ Enneads. He got to know the chapters through the translation into Arabic under the name Esulucya; He also wrote a book on the same subject, titled On the First Philosophy (Kitâb fi’l-felsefeti’l-ûlâ). It can be said that Kindî made “metaphysics of being” by being influenced by Aristotle, and “metaphysics of unity” inspired by Plotinus.

Although he includes various definitions of philosophy in the pamphlet On Tarişer, Kindi emphasizes the definition that “philosophy is knowing the truth of existence in proportion to one’s power” in his work On İlk Philosophy. According to him, the aim of the philosopher is to know the truth and act accordingly (Kindî, 2002: 139). Our philosopher takes into account the fields of existence while classifying the disciplines of philosophy. The beings subject to knowledge are divided into three as low, medium and high: Physics, which is about natural beings, including human beings, is at the bottom, mathematics is in the middle, and metaphysics is at the top. According to this approach, mathematics at the intermediate level provides important conveniences for the human mind in understanding metaphysics, which is an abstract field. As a reflection of this understanding, it can be said that Kindi, who considers the order of mathematics, physics and metaphysics in teaching as a more efficient way, followed Plato in this regard (Kaya, 2002: 28).

According to Kindi, who divides the cosmic existence into two parts as changing and unchanging, physics (tabî’iyyât) studies changing, metaphysical (mâba’de’t-tabîiyyât) unchanging beings (Kindî, 2002: 147). The philosopher, who draws attention to the fact that for human knowledge to be complete, must include the causes of the known, attaching special importance to metaphysics, which he sees as a discipline that investigates the first cause and last purpose of existence in the theoretical plan, he is of the opinion that a person who does not encompass this discipline cannot be a real philosopher (Kindî, 2002: 140). .

According to Kindi, who states that the question “why” investigates the purpose of existence, the reason for existence is Allah, which he calls the cause of causes, the real and absolute cause. An inquiry that proceeds with these questions also enables the determination of the substance, form, agent or motive (motivator) and purpose or complementary (complementary) causes that participate in the formation process of any being or event. In addition, information about the material cause includes information about the type of that thing, and information about the form includes information about the type and chapter of that thing.

In order to research and gain information about existence, it is necessary to ask and answer the following four questions: “Is there/is (hel), what/is (ma), which/is (eyyu) and why/is (lime).” “Does it exist” inquires only the existence/truth/reality of something. Since every being has a genus, the terms “what is” are what that genus is, “which” is the type of being (chapter or distinction), the terms “what is” and “which one” together are questions that investigate the nature of the being.

In the terminology of Islamic philosophy, the objective reality of a thing in the outside world is generally called “truth” (reality), its universal concept in the mind is called “nature” (being), and the separation of objective realities with certain qualities is called “hüviyyet” (being/being). Kindi, on the other hand, uses the term “inniyyet” to express truth and identity together. Accordingly, the philosopher expresses the particular realities of objects and persons perceived by the senses with the term “inniyye”, and the universal realities of the genus and types of existence that are perceived by the mind with the term “nature”. According to him, everything that has a nature has a reality (inniyyet) (Kindî, 2002: 140, 192). It should be noted that al-Kindi did not enter into such a discussion, although the distinction between essence-existence or essence-essence was discussed in all aspects as an important problem, especially in the philosophy of Avicenna.

It is known that philosophers have come to think about what is unchanging or what remains unchanged despite being subject to change, in response to the ever-changing world of objects. Aristotle introduced the concept of “ore” against the “idea”, which Eşâtun saw as a reality far from change and transformation. The substance, which Kindi also describes as “the reality underlying every reality” (tînetü kulli’t-tîne), is “self-sufficient, does not change itself even though it has symptoms (qualities)” (Kindî, 2002: 186). In other words, substance is “it exists by itself, does not need anyone else to exist, does not change in its essence, although it carries changes, and is characterized by all categories.” Kindi, in his pamphlet On Incorporeal Ore, mentions material/corporeal substances as well as spiritual/immaterial substances. While all kinds of bodily and particular objects are the first substance, the universal concepts related to their genus and types are spiritual/immaterial substances and they are also called the second substance. In addition, concepts expressing psychological and moral values ​​such as soul, soul, mind are also considered as spiritual substances (Kindî, 2002: 239-