Peter Adamson

Professor of Philosophy, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

Peter Adamson is a professor of philosophy at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. He is the author of several books, including The Arabic Plotinus (2002), Great Medieval Thinkers: al-Kindi (2007) and Philosophy in the Islamic World (2016), and hosts the History of Philosophy podcast.

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Arabic translators did far more than just preserve Greek philosophy

Peter Adamson

Thanks to everyone for the interesting reflections on translations and philosophy. I didn’t comment on this, but I have had my own experiences translating philosophy - especially of al-Kindi himself, since my colleague Peter E Pormann and I did a book of translations of his works (for Oxford Univ Press). That was an interesting experience; I started out advocating a more literal style, to get the philosophy “exactly right”, but the other Peter eventually persuaded me we should be aiming for something more readable. Also he pointed out rightly that if for instance Arabic reads naturally and smoothly, it is a falsification to produce an English version that is unnatural or stiff because you...

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