Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
From Sight to LightThe Passage from Ancient to Modern Optics$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

A. Mark Smith

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226174761

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226174938.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 22 October 2019

Greco-Roman and Early Arabic Developments

Greco-Roman and Early Arabic Developments

(p.130) Chapter 4 Greco-Roman and Early Arabic Developments
From Sight to Light

A. Mark Smith

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the post-Ptolemaic tradition of visual theory within the Late Platonist, or Neoplatonic, tradition between roughly 250 and 550. Marked by an effort to reconcile Platonic and Aristotelian thought on a variety of subjects, including perception and cognition, this tradition gave rise to a model of cognition that appealed strongly to eternal Forms, representative mental images, and intellectual illumination, which rendered those images cognitively “visible.” After looking at how this model evolved and how it affected the thought of St. Augustine, the chapter traces its influence on certain Arabic thinkers, such as al-Kindī, Ḥunayn ibn ʾIsḥāq, and al-Fārābī. Among these thinkers, Avicenna assumes pre-eminence for his faculty psychology based on the five internal senses in the brain. The chapter concludes with an examination of the ninth- and tenth-century revival of classical geometrical optics at the hands of al-Kindī, Aḥmad ibn ʿĪsā, and Qusṭā ibn Lūqā.

Keywords:   agent intellect, burning mirrors, cone of light-radiation, divine illumination, faculty psychology, internal senses, Late Platonism, neoplatonism, potential intellect, actual intellect

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.