Wisdom and Violence: The Legacy of Platonic Political Philosophy in al-Fārābī and Nietzsche

In Douglas Allen (ed.), Comparative Philosophy in Times of Terror. Lanham, MD 20706, USA: pp. 65-81 (2006)
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Abstract
A vast historical, cultural and philosophical chasm separates the thought of the 10th century Islamic philosopher al-Farabi and Friedrich Nietzsche, the progenitor of postmodernity. However, despite their significant differences, they share one important commitment: an attempt to resuscitate and reappropriate the project of Platonic political philosophy, particularly through their conceptions of the “true philosopher” as prophet, leader, and lawgiver. This paper examines al-Farabi and Nietzsche’s respective conceptions of the philosopher as commander and legislator against the background of their Platonic source, and reflects upon the human cost each thinker is willing to abide in order to establish a regime that would be conducive to the perfectibility and flourishing of the human being.
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