The distinguished Moroccan philosopher Mohammed Abed al-Jabri, in this
summary of his own work, examines the status of Arab thought in the late twentieth century. Al-Jabri rejects what he calls the current polarization
of Arab thought between an imported modernism that disregards Arab tradition and a fundamentalism that would reconstruct the present in the image of an idealized past.
Both past and present intellectual currents are examined. Al-Jabri first questions the current philosophical positions of the liberals, the Marxists,
and the fundamentalists. Then he turns to history, exploring Arab philosophy in the tenth and twelfth centuries, a time of political and ideological
struggle. In the writings of Ibn Hazm and Averros, he identifies the beginnings of Arab rationalism, a rationalism he traces through the innovative fourteenth-century work of Ibn Khaldun.
Al-Jabri offers both Western readers and his own compatriots a radical new approach to Arab thought, one that finds in the past the roots of an open, critical rationalism which he sees as emerging in the Arab world today.
Mohammed Abed al-Jabri, Professor of Philosophy at Mohammed V University in
Rabat, Morocco, is one of the major intellectual figures in the contemporary
Arab world. His early research on the epistemological origins of Arab
thought resulted in his major work, a trilogy: naqd al 'aql al 'arabi,
published in Beirut in 1982, 1986, and 1989.
Translator Aziz Abbassi, a native of Morocco, is a writer and linguist
currently living in the United States.