Islamic Atomism and the Galenic Tradition
History of Science, Vol. 47, pp. 277- 295, 2009
The rationalist speculative theologians who were active in the early centuries of Islamic civilization were atomists. Scholars have labored for decades to find the most appropriate sources for the transmission of atomism to Islamicate civilization. The paper argues that the Galenic corpus is likely to be the most promising source: Galen was well-known, if only as the author of despicable, eternalist theories; his On the Elements is a very rich source for the different strands of classical atomism; and Galen's refutation of atomism, which is based on the sensation of pain, fits well with the interest of the Islamic theologians in the physiology of pain.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 19
Keywords: Galen, Atomism, Islam
JEL Classification: B30
Date posted: February 22, 2012