The Epistle of Ya qub ibn Ishaq al-Kindi on the Device for Dispelling Sorrows


“Although less technical philosophically than many of al-Kind‡¯’s known treatises, this Epistle remains basic for understanding the spirit that underlies his thinking. Socratic, yet very Kindian in spirit, this Epistle displays its author’s tendency to harmonize Greek philosophy and Islam, particularly 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 significant share of the linguistic and stylistic complexities characteristic of al-Kind”

Al-Kindi, On The Device For Dispelling Sorrows (trans. Jayyusi-Lehn)