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Al-Kindi, On the Device for Dispelling Sorrows

Abstract:

Although less technical philosophically than many of al-Kind¯‡’s known treatises, this Epistle remains basic for understandin g the spirit that underlies his thinking. Socratic, yet very Kindian in spirit, this Epistle displays its author’s tendency to harmonize Greek philosoph y and Islam, particularl y as this relates to ethics, and his belief in man’s free will and reason. To him, sorrows may be caused either by our own actions or by the actions of others. It is up to us to choose to do or not to do what saddens us. Through reason we can eliminate some of the causes of sorrow when we perceive the intellectual world, and derive from it things desired. Though this Epistle has a signiŽcant share of the linguisti c and stylistic complexities characteristi c of al-Kind¯‡’s writing, it is hoped that the present translation will facilitate its comprehension.

Al-Kindi, On The Device For Dispelling Sorrows