A1 Journal article (refereed)
The Possibility of the Nobler (imkān al-ashraf) in Ṣadrā’s Philosophy and Its Historical Origins (2022)

Erdt, A. (2022). The Possibility of the Nobler (imkān al-ashraf) in Ṣadrā’s Philosophy and Its Historical Origins. Oriens, 50(1-2), 173-205. https://doi.org/10.1163/18778372-12340011

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsErdt, Agnieszka

Journal or seriesOriens



Publication year2022

Publication date06/05/2022


Issue number1-2

Pages range173-205


Publication countryNetherlands

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOther way freely accessible online

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel


The principle known as the possibility of the nobler (qāʿidat imkān al-ashraf) is arguably one of the most often employed principles in later Islamic philosophy. In its standard formulation it states that if something baser exists, a nobler thing must have existed prior to it. A similar argument from the degrees of perfections has had a long career in the history of Western philosophy as well, with its beginnings reaching Stoicism. In Christian theology and philosophy it serves most importantly as a proof for the existence of God in the so-called henological argument of Aquinas. In Islamic philosophy it directly derives from the ex uno non fit nisi unum principle. Since the formulation of its standard version by al-Suhrawardī, the validity of the principle has been conditioned on that it is only applicable to the intelligible beings, hence its main objective is to offer a proof for the existence of the intellects. The article analyzes the application of the principle in Ṣadrā’s philosophy and enquires about its historical roots.

KeywordsIslamtheologyphilosophical theologyAristotelianismontology (philosophy)existenceGod

Free keywordsṢadrā; al-Suhrawardī; possibility of the nobler; imkān al-ashraf; Theologia Aristotelis

Fields of science:

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 19:06