Al-Farabi on the Power of Language; The role of expression in the formation of societies

Document Type : Research Article (Political Thought)


Associate Professor, Institute for Social and Cultural Studies, Tehran, Iran


Al-Farabi has discussed language in his philosophical discussions, albeit here and there. His discussions are especially about syntax and logic. Most existing studies have dealt only with the connection between this syntax and logic, and with the conventionality or naturalness of language in al-Farabi’s thought. The question of this article is what are the political implications of al-Farabi's discussions on language? The results of the study, based on the method of content analysis of al-Farabi’s works, indicate that Farabi specifically related the logic and logical crafts to his political thought; In such a way he expects the realization of the virtuous city on the basis of demonstration (Alborhan); And explains the existence of non-virtuous cities with crafts such as rhetoric, dialectic, poetry and sophistry. In other words, it is the expression which forms the city. These findings help us to analyze al-Farabi's thought in our own time and ask ourselves what does al-Farabi's thought has for us? By trying to come closer to the answer of this question I conclude the article with this claim that al-Farabi's idea of non-virtuous cities is relevant to us today. What remains is our retainment.


Main Subjects

Volume 10, Issue 1
March 2023
Pages 81-92
  • Receive Date: 14 October 2022
  • Revise Date: 21 November 2022
  • Accept Date: 12 January 2023