Kindi, al-

Kindi, al-

(Abu Yusuf Yakub ibn Ishak al-Kindi) (ä`bo͞o yo͞oso͝of` yäko͞ob` ĭb`ən ēshäk` ăl-kĭn`dē), 9th cent. Arab philosopher, b. Basra (now in Iraq). He studied at Basra and at Baghdad and is noted as one of the earliest scholars in the Middle East to become thoroughly versed in the writings of Aristotle. In his own teachings al-Kindi undertook to demonstrate the essential harmony between the views of Plato and those of Aristotle. His philosophical ideas show some elements of NeoplatonismNeoplatonism
, ancient mystical philosophy based on the doctrines of Plato. Plotinus and the Nature of Neoplatonism

Considered the last of the great pagan philosophies, it was developed by Plotinus (3d cent. A.D.).
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. He is regarded as one of the Peripatetics in Islam, and, as one of the earliest of the Muslim philosophers of Arabic descent, he has been called "the philosopher of the Arabs." He emphasized the righteousness as well as the unity of God and considered that the Creator revealing Himself in prophecy was a reasonable truth and the highest form of knowledge. In his doctrine of manifold intelligence, he defined four types of reason. Besides his translations and commentaries on Aristotle's works, he produced over 250 treatises on a great variety of subjects; although only a few on medicine and astrology are extant, in the 1940s 24 of his hitherto unknown philosophical works were found. Al-Kindi was well known to the Christian scholars of the Middle Ages. He wrote strongly in opposition to alchemy and some kinds of belief in miracles. Al-Kindi's library was confiscated later in his life by the caliph al-Mutawakkil, who looked upon philosophy with suspicion.
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Kindi, Al-


(full name, Abu Yusuf Yaqub ibn Ishaq al-Kindi). Born about 800 in Basra; died about 870 in Baghdad. Arabian philosopher and scientist. Founder of eastern Peripateticism (Aristotelianism); known as the philosopher of the Arabs.

Kindi took part in translating and writing commentaries on the works of Greek philosophers and scholars during the reign of the Caliph al-Mamun. He absorbed Aristotle’s philosophy as it was interpreted by the Athenian school of neoplatonism. Holding that the classification of the sciences was the basis of philosophy, Kindi sought to comprehend the totality of the knowledge of his time. He wrote a great many treatises (in the tenth century 240 titles were known, and over 40 tracts have been preserved) on metaphysics, logic, ethics, mathematics, the classification of sciences, astrology, medicine, the theory of music, optics, meteorology, and alchemy. Kindi’s works were widely read in medieval Western Europe.


Rasa’il al-Kindi, vols. 1–2. Edited by M. Abu Ridah. Cairo, 1950–53.
In Russian translation:
In the collection Izbr. proizv. myslitelei stran Blizhnego i Srednego Vostoka. Moscow, 1961. Pages 37–132.


Sagadeev, A. V. “Novye publikatsii traktatov al’-Kindi.” Narody Azii i Afriki, 1964, no. 1.
Abu Ridah, M. Rasail al-Kindi al-falsafiyyah, vol. 1. Cairo, 1950.
Atiyeh, G. N. Al-Kindi: the Philosopher of the Arabs. Rawalpindi, 1966.
Rescher, N. Al-Kindi: An Annotated Bibliography. Pittsburgh, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.