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Varieties of Demonstration in Alfarabi

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This paper analyzes a classification of different types of demonstration introduced by Alfarabi (d. 950 CE) in his Kitāb al-Burhān (Book of Demonstration). Alfarabi identifies eight combinations of demonstrative syllogisms, grouped in function of the different types of per se relations expressed by their premises and conclusions, where terms are definitionally connected with one another. The list contains a total of thirty-nine moods illustrated by a rich array of examples drawn from various scientific disciplines, including arithmetic, geometry, and natural philosophy. The combinations and moods are discussed extensively by Averroes (d. 1198 CE) in the section of his Epitome of the Organon devoted to the Posterior Analytics and in his Quaesita on logic. Alfarabi’s classification also possibly inspired a simplified taxonomical effort in Avicenna’s (d. 1037 CE) Kitāb al-Burhān.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Tufts University, USA

Publication date: January 2, 2019

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