The Possibility of Socrates' Turn in Muhammad b. Zakaryya al-Razi's The Philosophic Way of Life

Document Type : Scientific-research


1 PhD student of pure philosophy, University of Tehran

2 Professor, Iranian Institute of Philosophy


At the end of his Socrates and Aristophanes, Leo Strauss indicates that Muhammad b. Zakaryya al-Razi's The Philosophic Way of Life is "the clearest and the most thoughtful" exposition of the possibility of Socrates' conversion from his youthful contempt for the political or moral things, for the human things or human being, to his mature concern with them. In this paper I will attempt to explain this strange claim through close reading of al-Razi's The Philosophic Way of Life. al-Razi's The Philosophic Way of Life is the clearest exposition of this possibility because it reveals Socrates' irony as "taqiyya": "Socrates' turn" requires the dissimulation between theoretical way of life and political way of life. What highlights al-Razi's The Philosophic Way of Life as "the most thoughtful" exposition of this possibility is al-Razi's attempt to add a supplement to Socrates' "taqiyya" which is rational legislation in order to overcome the theological-political basis of the revealed religion. This is the task Athenian Strange in Plato's Laws undertakes. Accordingly, al-Razi opens a new horizon Platonic political philosophy in his era to face with the theological political challenge against philosophy from revealed religion in which after mutatis mutandis his successors (Al-Farabi, Avicenna, and Averroes) try to defend philosophy and the philosophic way of life.


Main Subjects

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