Commenced in January 2007
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Hanna Arendt and Al-Farabi’s Non-Naturalistic Political Philosophy

Authors: Mohammad Hossein Badamchi

Abstract:

As Leo Strauss demonstrates in his works, Political Philosophy in the western tradition is an epistemic-naturalistic tradition insofar Hanna Arendt mentioning the deep conflict between philosophy and politics, opposed to be named “political philosopher” prefer the title “political thinker” for herself. In fact, the Western political philosophy’s tendency to derive politics from natural law and epistemic argumentations makes a paradox between the actual “the political” and the theoretical “natural politics” in the western tradition. In this paper, we want to show that Hanna Arendt, in her exploration to find a new realm of the non-naturalistic way of thinking about the political is walking on a completely different tradition of political philosophy which was first established by Al-Farabi, the founder of Islamic political philosophy around thousand years after Greek Philosophy. Despite Aristotelian Polis which is a Natural community based on true natural rationality to reach the natural purposes of mankind, Al-Farabi’s Madine (his reconstructed concept of Aristotelian Polis) is completely constructed against natural cities, which are formulated by necessity logic of natural arguments and natural deception of humanity. In fact, Farabi considers the natural understanding of politics as Ignorant ideologies used by governments to suppress people. Madine in Farabi’s work is not a natural institution but is a collaborative constitution founded by citizens. So despite Aristotelian thinking, here we don’t have just A Polis that is the one true polis, but we have various multiple Madines among one, is virtuous not by definition but by real action of citizens and civil relations. Al-Farabi’s political philosophy is not a Naturalistic-epistemic Political Philosophy but is a Phronetic Political Philosophy which Hanna Arendt wants to establish outside of western contemplative anti-active political philosophy tradition.

Keywords: al-farabi, hanna arendt, natural politics, the political, political philosophy

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