Intellecting the Intellected: An Examination on the Interpretation of “the Second Intelligibles” in Islamic Tradition of Logic and its Reception during the Ottoman Period


The interpretation of the “second intelligibles” (al-ma‘qūlāt al-thāniya/al-ma‘qūlāt al-thawānī), as a term which is highly sophisticated and closely related to many philosophical disciplines, began with al-Fārābī and continued to expand its content especially in the literature of logic until the modern times. In this process, following al-Fārābī several philosophers such as Ibn Sīnā, ‘Umar al-§āwī, Fakhr al-dīn al-Rāzī, ‘Umar al-Kātibī, Shams al-dīn al-Samarqandī, Qutb al-dīn al-Rāzī and Sayyid Sharīf Jurjānī became salient figures in interpreting the second intelligibles. The accumulated tradition including various approaches and transformations on the subject was transmitted directly to the Ottoman period, during which the second intelligibles were widely discussed with new concepts and issues. As it had been before, these interpretations and discussions found place in the literature of logic during the Ottoman period. In this article, I will examine the interpretations on the second intelligibles from al-Fārābī to Jurjānī while marking moments of change and development. Then I will examine how Ottoman philosophers and logicians approached the second intelligibles by comparing the commentaries of Burhān al-dīn Bulgārī, Kul Ahmed (Ahmed b. Muhammad b. Khıdr), §adr al-dīn-zāda Mehmed Emin Shirwānī and Kara Khalil b. Hasan al-Tirawī on Mullā Fanārī’s famous book on logic, al-Fawā’id al-Fanāriyya.


First intelligibles second intelligibles subject-matter of logic Islamic history of logic logic in Ottoman period commentaries on al-Fawā’id al-Fanāriyya