The System of the Sciences of the Arabic Language by Sakkākī: Logic as a Complement of Rhetoric
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AbstractThe present paper finds inspiration in Pierre Larcher’s chapter ‘Arabic Linguistic Tradition II: Pragmatics’, included in Jonathan Owens (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Arabic Linguistics (Larcher 2013: 185-212). In Sakkākī’s (d. 626/1229) Miftāḥ al-ʿulūm “The key to the sciences” (Sakkākī, Miftāḥ) the sciences of language are presented as a complex system whose core includes the two sciences of morphology (ṣarf) and of syntax (naḥw), that is to say grammar; the two sciences of meanings (maʿānī) and of expression (bayān) - that is to say rhetoric -, and the two sciences of definition (ḥadd) and of argumentation (istidlāl) - that is to say logic. The complexity of the system lies in that syntax (ʿilm al-naḥw) finds its complement (tamām) in semantics (ʿilm al-maʿānī) which in turns finds its complement in logic (ʿilmā al-ḥadd wa-l-istidlāl). An axis ‘syntax-semantics-logic’ is thus drawn which brings logic within the field of linguistics. The ‘systemic’ intersection between rhetoric and grammar, and the ‘meta-systemic’ intersections between rhetoric and literature from one part and that between rhetoric and religious sciences from the other have been a subject of strong interest. However, the same cannot be said for another intersection, ‘systemic’ for Sakkākī: that between rhetoric, namely semantics (ʿilm al-maʿānī), and logic (ʿilmā al-ḥadd wa-l-istidlāl).