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Plato, Al-fârâbî and Averroes: the ruler’s essencial qualities

The political philosophy that developed in the Islamic world between the 9th and 12th centuries assumed ideas from Greek philosophy, mainly from Plato and Aristotle. Plato's Republic and Laws, and Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics were the texts that laid the foundation for the political conceptions of the Arab philosophers, from the virtues to be sought after individually, to the idea of the best political regime. Based on the Greek texts translated into Arabic, these philosophers outlined the aims of political life, and the manner in which the political regime should be structured to achieve these aims. The ideal Platonic city is the paradigm to be realized. The topic of the ruler's essential qualities is part of a long tradition which remounts to the "mirrors of the princes" of Persian origin; it also appears in the Religious tradition and in the Islamic law. Two great exponents of the Arab-islamic philosophy, Al-Fârâbî and Averroes, retrieved the topic of the ruler's essential qualities of the king-philosopher uttered in the Republic, and adapted it to their historical universe.

Plato; Fârâbî; Averroes; Ruler's qualities; Virtues


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