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Ibn Miskawayh, Ahmad ibn Muhammad (c.940–1030)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-H042-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved September 29, 2023, from

Article Summary

Like so many of his contemporaries in the fourth and fifth centuries AH (tenth and eleventh centuries ad) Ibn Miskawayh was eclectic in philosophy, basing his approach upon the rich variety of Greek philosophy that had been translated into Arabic. Although he applied that philosophy to specifically Islamic problems, he rarely used religion to modify philosophy, and so came to be known as very much an Islamic humanist. He represents the tendency in Islamic philosophy to fit Islam into a wider system of rational practices common to all humanity.

Ibn Miskawayh’s Neoplatonism has both a practical and a theoretical side. He provides rules for the preservation of moral health based on a view of the cultivation of character. These describe the ways in which the various parts of the soul can be brought together into harmony, so achieving happiness. It is the role of the moral philosopher to prescribe rules for moral health, just as the doctor prescribes rules for physical health. Moral health is based upon a combination of intellectual development and practical action.

Citing this article:
Leaman, Oliver. Ibn Miskawayh, Ahmad ibn Muhammad (c.940–1030), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-H042-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2023 Routledge.

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