Philosophy Of Al-Farabi, The Teacher And The Learner

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AL-Farabi

The teacher and the learner:

AL-Farabi claims that in order for an individual to become a teacher he must have be of good character, and seeking only the truth. And that none shall be employed except those who are trained in the logical arts.

Other characters that should be in a specified teacher are: The mastery of his own art and its rules, the ability to demonstrate all that could be demonstrated, and to guard any distortions that could intrude his art.

Al-Farabi is at odds with Al-Ghazali where he claims that learning the Qur’an and its sciences is not a precondition for education. In addition, he should possess three qualities: he should be able to understand concepts, accept what he hears, and describe what he accepted.
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Its helps us understand things in the best of ways. Through it, the soul of the learner is raised to the level of the rational human in whom two elements meet: the natural and biological, and the intellectual or spiritual.

The true objectives of philosophy are two: theoretical and practical, which is knowledge of the creator, and the practical or ethical, which is imitating the creator, as far as one is able, by carrying out admirable actions.

The route that should be taken to learn philosophy is through action, in other words, one only reaches his goal by complete knowledge. He should be aware of the natural sciences, then the mathematical sciences. But first the individual must reform himself, before reforming those who share the same house, finally, his fellow citizens.

As for learning the subjects that precede studying philosophy, the individual should guide his morals to what is correct, then the rational soul, so he could understand the path of truth. This can only be achieved in one way; mastery of demonstration. Al-Farabi also saw nothing wrong in beginning with the natural sciences since they are more related to the senses that
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Al-Farabi then points out the intellectual, moral and religious qualities that the student of philosophy must possess.

Al-Farabi applied two different methods in his own philosophy: (a): the descending method, beginning with the cause then rising to the effect, (b): the ascending method, beginning with the effect then ascending to the cause.

Ways and means of elucidation in teaching:

Al-Farabi was concerned with the way of understanding and making people understand meanings. He recommended the use of visual observation for whatever could be seen. In his opinion, the first step in teaching something is using the correct term that signifies it, then define it.

One may use illustrations of the object, and describe its special features. Also resorting to resemblances that the object could be compared with could be useful.

Al-Farabi also mentions ‘substitution’: if some object has a popular name, this term is used instead of a more complicated one, and the object is defined by the elements that represent it.

When it is difficult to grasp a concept because of its complexity, a start is made with the term used to describe it. If it still cannot be imagined, an illustration is

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