Tract on the Methods of Enquiry

Description

This short tract on dialectics is attributed to Shams al-Din Muhammad ibn Ashraf al-Husayni al-Samarqandi, a 13th-century logician, mathematician, and astronomer, whose biography is not well known. His name, however, suggests he was from Samarqand in present-day Uzbekistan. It was largely this tract—his major work on logic and the subject of several commentaries—that established him as a logician. The tract is comprised of three parts. The first is dedicated to the definition of a number of concepts, including munazarah (comparison), dalil (evidence), taʻlil (reasoning), and muʻaradah (rebuttal). In the second part, the author employs these concepts to lay out a theoretical framework for reasoning. The third part includes three masaʼil (propositions) pertaining to the concept of necessary and possible kinds of existence; issues that engaged earlier kalam (literally, the science of debate) theologians as well. The tract, overall, is a discussion of the methods of intellectual investigation and reasoning used by earlier Muslim and Greek philosophers, especially Aristotle and Ibn Sina (Avicenna). Al-Samarqandi also wrote works on astronomy, theology, and mathematics. His Kitāb ashkāl al-ta’sīs (Book on the fundamental theorems), a summary of 35 fundamental propositions of Euclid's geometry, is also well regarded among mathematicians.

Date Created

Subject Date

Language

Title in Original Language

رسالة في آداب البحث

Type of Item

Physical Description

23 folios

Notes

  • This copy is bound with Tamḥiṣ al-talkhiṣ (Critical examination of the summary of al-Qazwini), a work on Arabic rhetoric by al-Aqhisari (1544–1616).

Institution

Last updated: January 10, 2018