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date: 17 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents and evaluates Ali Sedāt’s (d. 1900) Principles of Transformation in the Motion of Particles. In this work, Ali Sedad gives a detailed description of the working mechanism of the whole universe, including topics that range from the interaction of atoms to the emergence of animate bodies and the motion of heavenly bodies. In doing this, he introduces thermodynamics and Darwin’s theory of evolution for the first time to the Turkish-speaking community in a detailed way and discusses the laws behind natural phenomena in a philosophical way. Ali Sedāt’s Principles of Transformation is a unique work introducing the basic principles of the natural sciences in nineteenth-century European circles to the Ottoman world and interpreting them from an Ashʿarite perspective. It shows how an Ashʿarite scholar from the late Ottoman era followed modern science thoroughly but interpreted it critically from its own philosophical point of view.

Keywords: Ali Sedad, modern science, Ashʿarites, thermodynamics, Darwin’s theory of evolution, atomism, late Ottoman intellectual world

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