Reflection on 10 Philosophers
Ibn Khaldun was an Arabian Muslim philosopher, historian and social thinker. He was born on May 27, 1332 inTunis, North Africa (Leaman, 2013, p. 94). Since 1382, he lived in Cairo, occupying the post of professor, and then the Supreme Qadi (sharia judge) of Maalikis. In his historical work ‘Muqaddimah’ (Introduction to History), Ibn Khaldun analyzed the causes of rise and decline of nations and peoples (Leaman, 2013, p. 97). Ibn Khaldun was the first economist who systematized the functions of the economy and stressed the importance of technical resources. According to Ibn Khaldun, the role of government was to protect law and order and promote economic activity, peace and stability, as well as protect property rights and trade routes. He was convinced that the bureaucracy was not able to manage commercial activities effectively due to poor motivation and training. Ibn Khaldun thought that the right to property was the key to the survival of civilization, and the protection and enforcement of property rights should be ensured by the law. He died in 1406 inCairo (Leaman, 2013, p. 111).
Malik Bin Nabi
Malik Bin Nabi, an Algerian philosopher and writer who explored the issue of Muslim society, was born in 1905 (Leaman, 2013, p. 52). He established and developed the conceptions of coloniability and civilizational bankruptcy. In his works ‘The question of Culture’ and ‘Conditions of a Renaissance,’ he stated that the culture was an irreplaceable element of the human personality (Leaman, 2013, p. 58). According to bin Nabi, ideas were very important in the forming and formulating of the principles of the society. He frequently criticized Muslim society that often turned into an apologetic state, proving that Muslims forgot the real value of Islam. Malik Bin Nabi was convinced that the followers of Islam were affected by the colonization of minds, which, in turn, led to the intellectual and moral paralysis. He claimed that Muslims should refer to the ideas and not to the objects because the 20th century was characterized by the systems of ideas that had the determinative impact on the society. The philosopher died in 1973 (Leaman, 2013, p. 61).
Al Farabi was one of the largest representatives of the medieval Eastern philosophy. He is the author of the comments on the writings of Aristotle and Plato. His works influenced the philosophy and science of the medieval Western Europe. He is credited with the creation of Otrar library. Al Farabi was born in 872 (Marias, 2012, p. 182). There is no reliable data about the life of this philosopher. According to the teachings of Abu Nasr al Farabi, all things were distributed at six stages. Based on the political and ethical ideas of Plato and Aristotle, and using the social concepts of the ancient East, he developed a virtuous theory of social order (Marias, 2012, p. 187). He believed that all residents of the virtuous cities should strive to achieve true happiness; such a social order would involve the domination of goodness and justice and denunciation of injustice and evil. In addition, Al Farabi made a significant contribution to musicology. His main work in this area is the ‘Big Book of Music’, which is an important source of information about the music of the East and the ancient Greek musical system (Marias, 2012, p. 191).
Ibn Rushd, also known as Averroes, was born in 1126 inSpain (Marias, 2012, p. 132). His father was the judge and the Mufti of Cordoba. Averroes studied with the best scientists of his age and had friendly relationships with the famous Sufi thinker Ibn Arabi and such scholars as Ibn Tufayl and Ibn Zuhra (Marias, 2012, p. 136). His works cover early Islamic philosophy and logic in Islamic philosophy, Islamic medicine, astronomy, grammar, mathematics, and Islamic theology. Averroes tried to unite Aristotle's system of thought with Islamic concepts. According to Ibn Rushd, there is no conflict between religion and philosophy because these are different ways to achieve the same aim. Averroes distinguished two kinds of knowledge of the truth (Marias, 2012, p. 140). The first one was the knowledge of the religion, which was based on faith, and therefore could not be tested. The second one was the knowledge of the philosophy, which was given only to the few people who had the intellectual skills. He died in 1198 inMarrakesh and his body was buried in the tomb of his family in Cordoba (Marias, 2012, p. 145).
Al-Ghazali is one of the most famous teachers of Sufism. The activities of the thinker were aimed at the the formulation of the theoretical statements and concepts of Sufism. He was born in 1058 in a poor family (Marias, 2012, p. 72). After the young Abu Hamid was noticed by Seljuk vizier Nizam al-Mulk, he received a high office at the court, and was a respected scholar and theologian in Bagdad. From 1091 to 1095, Al-Ghazali taught at madrassas Al Nizamiya. Among his students, in particular, was Abu Bakr ibn al-Arab. Al-Ghazali wrote more than 70 books on issues of science, philosophy, Islam and Sufism (Marias, 2012, p. 75). The thoughts of the philosopher had an important impact not only on the Muslim, but also on the Christian medieval philosophers. He played a very important role in the uniting of the concepts of Sufism and sharia law. The philosopher was convinced that the moral principles should be based on the personal experience and the direct communication with God. Al-Ghazali stated that it was important to find the enlightenment or divine grace, for which one should be free from all artificial things. Al-Ghazali died in 1111 aged 55 (Marias, 2012, p. 82).
Socrates was the first Greek philosopher who did not leave any written source. The teaching of Socrates is known mostly through the testimony of his followers. He was born approximately in 469/470 BC and died in 399 BC in Athens (Kleinman, 2013, p. 64). In the early years, he was considered a talented sculptor, but soon he left his father's workshop to learn sophistical rhetoric and wisdom in the enlightened Athenian named Crito. Socrates was the first public Greek philosopher. He was conducting his speeches on the streets in front of merchants, soldiers, artisans, aristocrats, and homeless. The focus of Socrates’ philosophy was a human as a moral being (Kleinman, 2013, p. 70). The main subject of conversations of Socrates was the issue of ethics. The aim of philosophy was the rational justification of the religious and moral outlook. He considered it superfluous and impossible to study the nature and explain natural phenomena because the world is a creation of God. Socrates was the first who attempted to classify the forms of the state. He identified the monarchy, tyranny, aristocracy, plutocracy, and democracy (Kleinman, 2013, p. 81). He believed that the aristocracy was the moral and correct form of the state.
Niccolo Machiavelli, the State Secretary of Florence and a political thinker, was born in 1469 (Kleinman, 2013, p. 153). Machiavelli’s life could be divided into two stages. During the first stage of his life, he was mainly engaged in public affairs. Since 1512, the second phase started, and it was marked by the forced removal of Machiavelli from active politics (Kleinman, 2013, p. 155). He is one of the few figures of the Renaissance who in his work raised the question of the role of the ruler’s person. He believed that a strong emperor that had no remorse was better for the country than the rivalry between the wick rulers. Thus, Machiavelli addresssed philosophy and the history regarding the relationship between moral standards and political expediency of the rulers. According to Machiavelli, the most famous states in the history of the civilized world were republics whose citizens had the highest level of freedom, being able to determine their own fate. Machiavelli is known for his two treatises, the ‘Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livy’ and ‘The Prince’ (Kleinman, 2013, p. 170).
Confucius, an ancient Chinese philosopher and political activist, was born in September 551 BC (Marias, 2012, p. 66). He was a descendant of a noble family Kun. His teachings had a significant effect on the life of the East Asia and China. It became the basis of the philosophical system called Confucianism. Although Confucianism is often referred to religion, it does not contain the institution of the church. Confucian ethics is not religious. The aim of Confucianism is the creation of a harmonious society in which every person has his function. Confucius believed that the highest efficiency of governance could only be achieved in the patriarchal clan submission form of the state. According to his teachings, the state is one big family, where the power of the emperor is the power of the father, and the relationship between the rulers and subjects are family relations (Marias, 2012, p. 69). Confucian model of government could function only under the conditions of a perfect moral and ethical state apparatus. Confucius explained all problems in society as the imperfections of public morality and believed that the morality of the rulers set the morality of the subjects. Confucius was buried on the banks of the SishuiRiver, the place that he had chosen before his death (Marias, 2012, p. 73). The Tomb of Confucius became a place of pilgrimage.
Malcolm Little, an African-American Islamic spiritual leader and defender of the human rights, was born in Nebraska, 1925 (Jeffrey, 2012, p. 86). He was known as a sharp critic of European Americans who was guilty of crimes against black people. His father was a Baptist preacher who supported Pan-Africanism. In prison, Malcolm X became a member of the Nation of Islam and after his release in 1952, quickly became one of its leaders (Jeffrey, 2012, p. 89). As a representative of the Nation of Islam, he advocated the separatism of black and white Americans, which was contrary to the civil rights movement that emphasized integration. Later, he denied racist ideas and expressed a willingness to work with the leaders of the movement for equal rights while still focusing on the self-defense of the African-Americans. The members of the Nation of Islam killed Malcolm Little on 21 February 1965 (Jeffrey, 2012, p. 103).
Wollstonecraft, the British philosopher, writer, and feminist, was born in London, 1759 (Zack, 2015, p. 125). The daughter of the farmer Wollstonecraft left the parental home when she was 16. Working in London, she wrote and published the books Thoughts on the Rights of Women (1786) and Vindication of the Rights of Women (1791) (Zack, 2015, p. 128). In her works, the philosopher supports the education of children in the spirit of the middle class that values self-discipline, honesty, frugality, and social contentment. According to Wollstonecraft, the majority of women are silly and superficial because men have closed an access to education. What is more, she was convinced that the educated women would be good wives and mothers and significant contribution to the welfare of the state. Although Wollstonecraft called for gender equality in specific areas of life, she did not say that men and women were equal (Zack, 2015, p. 130). She stated that men and women were equal only in God's eyes; however, it contradicted the assertion of the superiority of masculine strength and valor. Her ambiguous statements regarding the equality of the sexes prevented the unequivocal attributing Wollstonecraft to feminist in the modern sense. She died in September 1797 (Zack, 2015, p. 133).