Historical Islam’s role

Over the past year, it has come to my attention of the historical role of Islam during the middle period. The translation movement, for instance, collected texts from all available cultures and drew from it. There seems to be the suggestion, and I think even the assertion (although I can’t find a citation) that those Islamic scholars who took those works of engineering, medicine, geometry, astronomy and other physical sciences, sythesised the knowledge of all of those discourses.

This leads me to question, if, either there is an implicit assumption of unity within these natural discourses, or if it was asserted by those Islamic scholars; if the latter, that would be interesting in itself, if the former, I’d think that unity was in greater sense of being convincing to me.

Let me state the thought in another way.

The works of engineering could be seen as offshoots of particular or applied generic principles in the physical sciences. That the same ‘iron’ in bridge-building, is the same ‘iron’ that we might analyse in our blood stream. Thus, knowing about the generic ‘iron’ and its properties would lead us to knowing more about how it affects the body, or how we may use it industrially.

Furthermore is the (seemingly trivial) proposition: the same ‘iron’ in a bridge is the same ‘iron’ in our blood, and that there is a unity in our subject matter in nature, shows the unity of nature in general. This, however, is not a trivial proposition at all.

Michael

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One thought on “Historical Islam’s role

  1. I’m reading about this in one of the many books that I am picking through piecemeal, but I don’t have much to report yet. The Muslim world managed to rescue and make use of a lot of the work of the Greeks, as well as adding to it. Beyond that, I have nothing more to offer yet, but I’ll see if I find anything…

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