Philosophical Humanism in The Tenth Century: Miskawayh's Concept of Justice and Benevolence

Yasien Alli Mohamed
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A cultural revival of Islam took place in the tenth and eleventh centuries in the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Baghdad under the Buyid dynasty. There were two strands of humanism that prevailed in this period, one was literary and the other philosophical. This paper is concerned about the philosophical strand of humanism. The Greek philosophical works, especially of Plato and Aristotle, had a profound impact on Arabic philosophers. The first Muslim philosopher t have absorbed Greek ethics and to have written his own treatise, The Refinement, was Miskawayh (422/1030). This work is representative of Islamic humanistic ethics, and it became an important source for later figures, especially, al-Raghib al-Isfahani (453/1060) from Isfahan, and Nasir al-din al-Tusi (673/1274) from Tus. More specifically, the paper will deal with Miskawayh's concept of justice and benevolence, and it will attempt to show where he is in agreement with Greek concepts of justice, and were he differs. The paper concludes with the relevance of Miskawayh's critique of Aristotle's concept of justice, which has shaped modern conceptions of human rights. It proposes an alternative, more humanistic conception theory of justice for today.

Keywords: Ethics, Aristotle, Plato, Miskawayh, The Refinement, Justice, Benevolence, Humanistic, Human rights, Philosophical
Stream: Philosophy, Ethics, Consciousness, Political Science, Politics
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Yasien Alli Mohamed

Associate Professor and Chairperson, Department of Foreign Languages, Faculty of Arts, University of the Western Cape,
South Africa

Yasien Mohamed is an Associate Professor of Arabic Studies and the Chairperson of the Department of Foreign Languages (French, Latin, German and Arabic) at the University of the Western Cape. He did his PhD in Islamic ethics at the Johann Wolfang Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany in 2000, and it is due for publication at ISTAC, Malaysia, with the title, The Path to Virtue. Mohamed's areas of interest include Arabic language, Academic development in English writing, and philosophical ethics.

Ref: H05P0494