Kindi, al- (Abu Yusuf Yakub ibn Ishak al-Kindi)äˈbō yōsŏfˈ yäkōbˈ ĭbˈən ēshäkˈ ăl-kĭnˈdē, 9th cent. Arab philosopher, b. Basra (now in Iraq). He studied at Basra and at Baghdad and is noted as one of the earliest scholars in the Middle East to become thoroughly versed in the writings of Aristotle. In his own teachings al-Kindi undertook to demonstrate the essential harmony between the views of Plato and those of Aristotle. His philosophical ideas show some elements of Neoplatonism. He is regarded as one of the Peripatetics in Islam, and, as one of the earliest of the Muslim philosophers of Arabic descent, he has been called "the philosopher of the Arabs." He emphasized the righteousness as well as the unity of God and considered that the Creator revealing Himself in prophecy was a reasonable truth and the highest form of knowledge. In his doctrine of manifold intelligence, he defined four types of reason. Besides his translations and commentaries on Aristotle's works, he produced over 250 treatises on a great variety of subjects; although only a few on medicine and astrology are extant, in the 1940s 24 of his hitherto unknown philosophical works were found. Al-Kindi was well known to the Christian scholars of the Middle Ages. He wrote strongly in opposition to alchemy and some kinds of belief in miracles. Al-Kindi's library was confiscated later in his life by the caliph al-Mutawakkil, who looked upon philosophy with suspicion.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.