Alfarabi and Possibility of a Universal Virtuous Regime

The Following is an abstract for a paper, “Alfarabi and Possibility of a Universal Regime,” I published for Analytica Iranica, Aug 2016. 

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Alfarabi (870-950), on multiple occasions, develops rigorous accounts of an ideal political regime governed by the wisest rulers. Alfarabi, as a careful reader of the Greek philosophers, masterfully has built a regime, not in action, but in speech. Some recent interpretations, affected by modern ideologies, take the position that the ancients’ attempts, including Alfarabi’s, to build cities-in-speech was a blueprint for establishing an ideal political regime in reality. I challenge this view. I argue that Alfarabi advances effective arguments against the possibility of a universal virtuous regime in subtle ways. In the next step, I explore that if he argues against the possibility, what would be his reasons for constructing a city-in-speech? The motivation behind building these cities-in-speech is educating the soul. In fact, education of the soul is the fundamental problem of the ancients’ political science.

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