Optics, Astronomy and Logic: Studies in Arabic Science and Philosophy, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Optics, Astronomy and Logic

Studies in Arabic Science and Philosophy, 1st Edition

By A.I. Sabra


337 pages

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Hardback: 9780860784357
pub: 1994-04-14

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Running through the articles in this volume is the theme of the appropriation and subsequent naturalization of Greek science by scholars in the world of medieval Islam. The opening paper presents the historiography of this process, and the focus is then placed on Ibn al-Haytham, one of the most original and influential figures of the 11th century, and in particular in his contribution to the science of optics, both mathematical and experimental, and the psychology of vision. Professor Sabra then continues the analysis of how Greek thought was developed in the Islamic world with two studies of work based on Euclid’s geometry and two on critiques of Ptolemaic astronomy. The final articles turn specifically to questions in the history of logic - Aristotelian syllogism, and Avicenna’s views on the subject - matter of logic.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; The appropriation and subsequent naturalization of Greek science in medieval Islam: a preliminary statement; Ibn al-Haytham; Explanation of optical reflection and refraction: Ibn al-Haytham, Descartes, Newton; Ibn al-Haytham’s criticisms of Ptolemy’s Optics; The authorship of the Liber de crepusculis: an 11th-century work on atmospheric refraction; The astronomical origin of Ibn al-Haytham’s concept of experiment; The physical and the mathematical in Ibn al-Haytham’s theory of light and vision; Ibn al-Haytham’s Lemmas for solving ’Alhazen’s problem’; Psychology versus mathematics: Ptolemy and Alhazen on the moon illusion; Sensation and inference in Alhazen’s theory of visual perception; Form in Ibn al-Haytham’s theory of vision; Thabit ibn Qurra on Euclid’s parallels postulate; Simplicius’s proof of Euclid’s parallels postulate; An 11th-century refutation of Ptolemy’s planetary theory; The Andalusian revolt against Ptolemaic astronomy: Averroes and al-Bitruji; A 12th-century defence of the fourth figure of the syllogism; Avicenna on the subject matter of logic; Index.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at Michael.Greenwood@informa.com

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General