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Illuminationist philosophy

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-H054-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 16, 2024, from

Article Summary

Illuminationist philosophy started in twelfth-century Persia, and has been an important force in Islamic, especially Persian, philosophy right up to the present day. It presents a critique of some of the leading ideas of Aristotelianism, as represented by the philosophy of Ibn Sina (Avicenna), and argues that many of the distinctions which are crucial to the character of that form of philosophy are misguided. Illuminationists develop a view of reality in accordance with which essence is more important than existence, and intuitive knowledge is more significant than scientific knowledge. They use the notion of light, as the name suggests, as a way of exploring the links between God, the Light of Lights, and his creation. The result is a view of the whole of reality as a continuum, with the physical world being an aspect of the divine. This sort of language proved to be very suggestive for mystical philosophers, and Illuminationism quickly became identified with Islamic mysticism.

Citing this article:
Ziai, Hossein and Oliver Leaman. Illuminationist philosophy, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-H054-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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