The Ethics of al-Razi (865-925?)
Medieval Philosophy and Theology, vol. 6, no. 1 (1997)
Among al-Razi’s few surviving philosophical works, two, The Spiritual Medicine and The Philosophic Life, are clearly ethical. For this reason al-Razi’s ethics has attracted more attention than his unusual conception of the soul. The ethics, however, still has not been carefully studied. Meir M. Bar-Asher, who rightly pointed to Galen’s enormous influence on al-Razi’s ethics, even argues that his ethical views are inconsistent since in The Spiritual Medicine the criteria for moral judgment are temporal pleasure and self-interest, whereas in The Philosophic Life, they are the imitation of God and a concern for life after the separation from the body.
Moreover, The Spiήtual Medicine advocates a rather stern asceticism absent and even criticized in The Philosophic Life. To these points I would like to add that The Spiήtual Medicine sharply distinguishes human beings from animals, but The Philosophic Life, on the other hand, downplays that difference and develops an ethics of protection of animals.