Studying the Meaning of Essence in the Philosophical System of Aristotle and Farabi

Mehri Changi Ashtiyani / Assistant Professor in Department of Islamic Teachings Shari’ati Faculty

Received: 2019/02/13 - Accepted: 2020/09/24                                  


In the present article, we have sought to investigate the concept of ‘essence’ in Farabi’s thought and show the distinctive point between Farabi’s image of essence with that of Aristotle. To dos so, we firstly mention and explain Farabi’s definition of essence and the criteria he has provided for it in his al-Horuf. Then, we make that definition and those criteria a basis to pursue various orders of essence in his other philosophical works. Continuing our discussion on the distinction between Farabi’s view and that of Aristotle on ‘essence’, we would mention the nature of ‘essence’ in the book entitled metaphysics and, finally, investigate the difference between those views. Those differences arise from Aristotle’s essence-centered look and Farabi’s existence-centered look. In his pursuit of the truth of existence or the reason for existence of beings, Aristotle arrives at the ‘particular individual essence’, since he regards the ‘essence’ the same as ‘existence’. But for Farabi, the thing’s individuation arises from its existence and not its essence. Thus, the thing is realized with existence, and this is different from its essence or entity.

KEY WORDS: essence, existence, entity, the First Being, the First Mover.

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