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date: 13 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Ḥayy Ibn Yaqẓān is one of the most abidingly popular works in all of Arabic literature. At once inviting and expansive, accessible and surprisingly deep, the book offers an excellent introduction to the themes of classical Arabic philosophy. What often goes unnoticed is how deliberately Ibn Ṭufayl spins his story of Ḥayy, the self-taught philosopher who grows up alone on an equatorial island. Ḥayy in fact takes the reader on a tour of the Arabic Aristotelian curriculum, with ethical and political themes following upon a comprehensive exploration of the great chain of being. Ḥayy furthermore contributes to numerous sixth-/twelfth-century debates, ranging from the role that the heart and the brain play in the organism’s life, through the weighting of immanent and transcendent factors in the process of coming-to-be, to the relationship of philosophy to revealed religion.

Keywords: Ibn Tufayl - philosophical allegory - Andalusian philosophy - medieval cosmology - Aristotelian curriculum - perfectionist ethics - Almohads - philosophical Sufism - great chain of being - Robinson Crusoe

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