Who is Al Kindi? Al-KindiJune 25, 2021
Who is Al Kindi? Al-Kindi is an Islamic scholar known as a philosopher, mathematician, physicist, astronomer, physician, geographer and even a musician. He has produced works in almost all of these areas. Al-Kindi is also known as the Philosopher of the Arabs.
Kindi, also known as Alkhindius, Alchandrinus in Europe due to the influence of Western scientists, is Iraqi.
Kindi, who took the title of the first Islamic philosopher because he started the philosophy movement as well as the kalam movement in the Islamic society, was born in Kufe as the child of a noble family.
The childhood and early youth of Kindi, who lost his father at a young age, passed in Kufe and Basra. While continuing his traditional education, he is intensely interested in language and literature. The philosopher, who later settled in Baghdad, lived in this city until his death.
The philosopher, who received close attention and support from the Abbasid caliphs, undertook the education of Ahmed, the crown son of the caliph Mu’tasim, and wrote a significant part of his works at the request of this crown prince.
When he died in Baghdad in 866 due to the chronic rheumatic diseases he was caught, he left behind 277 works in various fields from philosophy to medicine, from mathematics to astronomy, from theology to politics, from psychology to dialectics, from astrology to divination.
Some of his works are: On First Philosophy, On Definitions, On Real and Metaphorical Effectiveness, On the Finitude of the World, On Eternity, On the Unity of God and the Finitude of the World, On the Proximate Active Cause of Creation and Decay, On the Prostration and Obedience of the Heavens to God , On Incorporeal Substances, On the Soul, A Few Words on the Soul, On the Nature of Sleep and Dream, On Reason, On the Number of Aristotle’s Books, On Five Terms, Remedies for Overcoming Sorrow.
Kindi’s Understanding of Being
Kindi defines philosophy as “the highest and most valuable of human arts” and “philosophy is knowing the truth of existence to the extent of human power”.
According to Kindi, who divides the cosmic existence into two parts as changing and unchanging, physics studies the changing and metaphysics studies the unchanging entities. While researching about existence, the questions “is/is (hel), what/dir (ma), which/is (eyyu) and why/is (lime)” should be answered.
“Is there” only the existence/truth/reality of something; “What is” are questions that investigate what that genus is, “which” is the chapter (division) of existence, that is, its species, and the terms “what is” and “which one” together are questions that investigate the nature of existence. According to Kindi, who states that the question “why” investigates the purpose of existence, he is also the cause of causes, the real or absolute cause, that is, God.
The philosopher, who uses the term “inniyye” to express the truth and identity together, 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 reality (inniyye).
The philosopher defines the substance, which he describes as “the reality underlying every reality”, as “that which exists by itself, does not need anyone else to exist, does not change in essence even though it carries changes and is characterized by all categories”. it does.
According to Kindi, ephemeral (first matter) and form (form), which is the principle of existence and becoming, also express power and action. The merging of these two, that is, the appearance of the specter in a state of power, is called “matter”.
In many of Kindi’s works, he tried to ground the thesis of the creation of the universe out of nothing (an leys), which can be called the main element of his thought system, in the context of the concept pairs of finitude-infinity and unity-multiplicity (vahdet-kesret).
Kindi’s Understanding of Knowledge
Kindi, who uses the terms “al-‘ilm” and “el-ma’rife” to express knowledge, defines the first as “knowing the truth of existence” and the second as “unshakable opinion”, that is, certain reliable information that leaves no room for doubt (Tariser, 2002: 188, p. 193).
The philosopher, who never entered the discussions on this subject because he did not have any hesitation about the possibility of knowledge, examined the problem of the source and types of knowledge in the context of the concepts of sense, reason, intuition and revelation. In a way, this means that he deals with psychology and epistemology together.
Kindi bases his understanding of knowledge on the assumption that existence is divided into two categories as particular and universal. While the sense organs give information about particular beings, the mind acquires the knowledge of the universal.
The data that the sense organ receives from the outside world are combined in the common sense and transferred to the memory power after being perceived by the power of design. According to Kindi, who thinks that this perception process takes place in the form of a timeless event, individual and particular sense perceptions, which are directly dependent on the sense organ and subject-object relationship, can never give us information about the nature and truth of existence.