Justin E.H. Smith at berfrois:
If philosophy questions everything, surely it must also question the periodization of its own history. Professional historians themselves tend to agree that the imposition of periods on the past –premodern, Renaissance, early modern, and so on– is always to some degree arbitrary, even if it is also impossible to imagine how we could describe the past without any periodization at all. The bounding off of temporal regions in this way is made all the more problematic if we wish to consider the past from a global perspective, rather than simply focusing on a single region, since the rationale for periodization in one place might not apply in another. However artificial the notion of the ‘medieval’ period is, we may nonetheless say with certainty that this notion is more usefully applied to Europe than to, say, South America: there is nothing ‘medieval’ about the 10th century in Peru (nor, strictly speaking, is there any meaningful sense in which Peruvians can be said to have experienced the 10th century). There is also nothing medieval about what we often call ‘medieval Islamic philosophy’. Whether or not we may see the period between the 8th and the 12th centuries as a ‘Golden Age’, a term that implies a subsequent decline, it is in any case a mistake to see the period of flourishing of ibn Rushd in Iberia, or of ibn Sina in Central Asia, as a relative void between antiquity and modernity. It was certainly not experienced by the people who lived it as ‘between two ages’, and nor, within the context of Islamic history, is there any interesting sense in which this period was a transitional one.