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  • Vitor Guerreiro

Una Popović: Poetic Syllogism - The Logic of Imagination in Medieval Arabic Philosophy

Updated: Feb 18



This is the audio of the lecture delivered by Una Popović on the topic of Poetic Syllogism: The Logic of Imagination in Medieval Arabic Philosophy in 20 May 2019, in the Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto, Portugal.


Medieval Arabic philosophy gave birth to a quite special interpretation of poetry and poetics; namely, for Avicenna, Al-Farabi and Averroes, poetics is a subdiscipline of logic, and poetical speeches (poetry) are the products of imagination, a human cognitive faculty. This unique interpretation had no predecessors, since Aristotle did not claim logical character for poetics, nor did he proclaim phantasia to be the origin of poetry. However, it also had no successors, since Latin medieval philosophers largely ignored these ideas, although they've learned from Arabs with respect to metaphysics, natural philosophy, and logic. Later, Renaissance philosophy stressed the connection between poetry and imagination, but declined logical character to any of them, even contrasting poetry with logic, and humanistic education with the medieval trivium. Communicating with the Arabic culture and the important role poetry played in it, medieval Arabic philosophy presents us with the proper redefinition of the relation between philosophy and poetry – to be matched only by Baumgarten's.

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