Jewish learning and thought in Languedoc -- 1250-1300: implications of original philosophic work and the diffusion of philosophic learning in Languedoc -- 1250-1300: Jewish contacts with Christian intellectuals and Jewish thought regarding Christianity -- Meiri's transformation of Talmud study: philosophic spirituality in a halakhic key -- 1300: on the eve of the controversy -- 1300-1304: knowledge and authority in dispute -- 1304-1306: the controversy peaks -- The effects of the expulsion: Jewish philosophic culture in Roussillon and Provence.
The world changes and we are encouraged to change with it, but is all change good? This book asks us to stop and consider whether the higher education we are providing, and engaging in, for ourselves and our societies is what we ought to have, or what commercial interests want us to have. In claiming that there is a place for a higher education of learning, such as the university, amongst our array of tertiary options the book attempts to (...) explore what this might be. Drawing from the existential literature and in particular Heidegger, the book investigates the case for such a form of higher education and settles on existential trust as the ground upon which the community of scholars that ought to be the university can flourish. This book is written for those who are concerned about the trends towards performativity and for those who are not yet so concerned! It offers a controversial and, some might say, idealistic view of what might be but makes no apology for that since the book proposes that higher education is becoming evermore unacceptable for those who value democracy, tolerance and learning. (shrink)
The central debate of natural theology among medieval Muslims and Jews concerned whether or not the world was eternal. Opinions divided sharply on this issue because the outcome bore directly on God's relationship with the world: eternity implies a deity bereft of will, while a world with a beginning leads to the contrasting picture of a deity possessed of will. In this exhaustive study of medieval Islamic and Jewish arguments for eternity, creation, and the existence of God, Herbert Davidson (...) provides a systematic classification of the proofs, analyzes and explains them, and traces their sources in Greek philosophy. Throughout the study, Davidson tries to take into account every argument of a philosophical character, disregarding only those arguments that rest entirely on religious faith or which fall below a minimal level of plausibility. (shrink)
Islam, one of the worlds great faiths, was born as a result of the revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad (c. 570-632) in Arabia. A proper understanding of the Islamic present depends on an accurate knowledge of the way in which Islamic thought developed from medieval times onwards. For instance, Islam evolved a sophisticated theology and set of philosophical systems of its own, which owed something to the impact of Greek thought, but became uniquely Islamic (...) because of the vital presence within that faith of the Quran. Furthermore, Islam soon came into contact with Greek philosophy and science, and a translation movement into Arabic began. The roles of Kason and Revelation, and the primacy that was to be given to one or the other, came to the fore. Problems which had also vexed Christianity such as anthropomorphism, free will and predestination provided intellectual stimulation for Islamic thinkers, while the mystical impulse, articulated in Islamic Sufism, imbued the writings of several of the theologians and philosophers considered in these volumes. Taken together, all of these issues constitute a golden period of Islamic debate and intellectual inquiry, and the articles collected in this fascinating set reflect that Islamic dynamic. (shrink)
In this paper I make a case for a genuine and legitimate role for philosophy in modern Islamic culture. However, I argue that in order to make any progress towards reinstating such philosophical activity, we need to look deep into the nature and essence of modern philosophy. In this paper I aim to do this precisely by challenging modern philosophy’s self conception as an absolute critique (i.e. a critique of everything/anything). I argue that such a conception (...) is not only misconceived, it is also ideological in character. Looking back to its origins, I develop a genealogy of modern philosophy’s self-understanding in order to deconstruct it and disassociate it from other possible alternative conceptions of philosophy. I argue that we should reject the notion of philosophy as absolute critique, as it is ideologically motivated and oppressive. Instead, I argue for a more modest conception of philosophy as a subject which provides tools for developing human powers of reflection. (shrink)
This book is concerned with the rationality and plausibility of the Muslim faith and the Quran, and in particular how they can be interogated and understood through western analytical philosophy. It is also explores how Islam can successfully engage with the challenges posed by secular thinking. The Quran and the Secular Mind will be of interest to students and scholars of Islamicphilosophy, philosophy of religion, Middle East studies, and political Islam.
By proposing the Microcosm and Macrocosm analogy for dialogue between IslamicPhilosophy and Occidental Phenomenology, the authors of this volume are reviving the perennial positioning of the human condition in the play of forces within and without the human being. This theme has run from Plato through the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Modernity, and has been ignored by contemporaries. It now acquires a new pertinence and striking significance due to the scientific discoveries into the "infinitely small" in life, (...) on the one hand, and the prodigious technological discoveries of the "infinitely great" on the other. Both open up undreamt-of prospects for the continuing conquest of cosmic forces. The human person – thrown into turmoil by the new approaches to life and needing to acquire new habits of mind, having lost security of all beliefs – desperately seeks a new clarification of the Human Condition within the unity of everything-there-is, of cosmic forces, and of his destiny. The dialogue between IslamicPhilosophy and phenomenology of life can show the way. Papers by: Gholam-Reza A'awani, Mehdi Aminrazavi, Roza Davari Ardakani, Mohammad Azadpur, Gary Backhaus, Marina Banchetti-Robino, William Chittick, Seyed Mostafa Muhaghghegh Damad, Golamhossein Ebrahimi Dinani, Nader El-Bizri, Kathleen Haney, Salahaddin Khalilov, Sayyid Mohammad Khamenei, Mahmoud Khatami, Mieczyslaw Pawel Migon, Nikolay Milkov, Sachiko Murata, Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, Daniela Verducci. (shrink)
In this work, Muhsin Mahdi--widely regarded as the preeminent scholar of Islamic political thought--distills more than four decades of research to offer an authoritative analysis of the work of Alfarabi, the founder of Islamic political philosophy. Mahdi, who also brought to light writings of Alfarabi that had long been presumed lost or were not even known, presents this great thinker as his contemporaries would have seen him: as a philosopher who sought to lay the foundations for a (...) new understanding of revealed religion and its relation to the tradition of political philosophy. Beginning with a survey of Islamicphilosophy and a discussion of its historical background, Mahdi considers the interrelated spheres of philosophy, political thought, theology, and jurisprudence of the time. He then turns to Alfarabi's concept of "the virtuous city," and concludes with an in-depth analysis of the trilogy, Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. This philosophical engagement with the writings of and about Alfarabi will be essential reading for anyone interested in medieval political philosophy. (shrink)
This collection of essays covers the classical heritage and Islamic culture, classical Arabic science and philosophy, and Muslim religious sciences, showing continuation of Greek and Persian thought as well as original Muslim contributions ...
1. The Place of Intellectual Life: The University -- The University as an Institutional Solution to the Problem of Knowledge -- The Alienability of Knowledge in Our So-called Knowledge Society -- The Knowledge Society as Capitalism of the Third Order -- Will the University Survive the Era of Knowledge Management? -- Postmodernism as an Anti-university Movement -- Regaining the University's Critical Edge by Historicizing the Curriculum -- Affirmative Action as a Strategy for Redressing the Balance Between Research and Teaching -- (...) Academics Rediscover Their Soul: The Rebirth of Academic Freedom' -- 2. The Stuff of Intellectual Life: Philosophy -- Epistemology as 'Always Already' Social Epistemology -- From Social Epistemology to the Sociology of Philosophy: The Codification of Professional Prejudices? -- Interlude: Seeds of an Alternative Sociology of Philosophy -- Prolegomena to a Critical Sociology of Twentieth-century Anglophone Philosophy -- Analytic Philosophy's Ambivalence Toward the Empirical Sciences -- Professionalism as Differentiating American and British Philosophy -- Conclusion: Anglophone Philosophy as a Victim of Its Own Success -- 3. The People of Intellectual Life: Intellectuals -- Can Intellectuals Survive if the Academy Is a No-fool Zone? -- How Intellectuals Became an Endangered Species in Our Times: The Trail of Psychologism -- A Genealogy of Anti-intellectualism: From Invisible Hand to Social Contagion -- Re-defining the Intellectual as an Agent of Distributive Justice -- The Critique of Intellectuals in a Time of Pragmatist Captivity -- Pierre Bourdieu: The Academic Sociologist as Public Intellectual -- 4. The Improvisational Nature of Intellectual Life -- Academics Caught Between Plagiarism and Bullshit -- Bullshit: A Disease Whose Cure Is Always Worse -- The Scientific Method as a Search for the (Piled) Higher (and Deeper) Bullshit -- Conclusion: How to Improvize on the World-historic Stage -- Summary of the Argument. (shrink)
Following Aristotle's description of youth and brief discussion about indoctrination and parrhesia, the article historicizes Socrates' trial as the intersection of philosophy, education and a teacher's influence on youth. It explores the historic-political context and how contemporary Athenians might have viewed Socrates and his student's actions, whereby his teachings were implicated in three coups led by his former students against Athenian democracy, for which he accepted little or no responsibility. Socrates appears subversively anti-democratic. This provides grounds that challenge the (...) dominant and standard philosophical account of Socrates as one of the great teachers, perhaps the greatest in the Western tradition, and critiques the way philosophy so often presents a de-contextualized and ahistorical picture. Concerns about the influence of education, teachers and indoctrination on youth have existed since ancient times. Currently, many states, especially, but not only, democracies, are concerned about Islamic fundamentalist teachings potentially leading to terrorism. The article presents contemporary exemplars from four countries: Austria, Kenya, the UK and Saudi Arabia. The crucial question remains: to what extent is it reasonable to hold a teacher responsible for a student's subsequent actions? (shrink)
The scholar and his public in the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance.--Thomism and the Italian thought of the Renaissance.--The contribution of religious orders to Renaissance thought and learning.--Bibliography (p. -120).
: A central assumption in this essay, in terms of both historical development and methodological approach, is that later Islamicphilosophy is characterized by a shift from a substance-based metaphysics to a processoriented metaphysics. Defenders of substance metaphysics often focus on the nature of causation to attack process metaphysics. If there is no substance or substratum for process, then how can events have any causal nature? If neither cause nor the caused are somehow stable in terms of their (...) essence and essential features, then how can one be said to act upon the other? After considering the function of causation in other metaphysical systems and certain skeptical denials of causation, its role in the mystical thought and onto-theology of the Iranian philosopher Mullā Sadrā (d. 1641) is examined. (shrink)
This paper addresses the unconscious dimension as articulated in Carl Jung's depth psychology and in Gilles Deleuze's philosophy. Jung's theory of the archetypes and Deleuze's pedagogy of the concept are two complementary resources that posit individuation as the goal of human development and self-education in practice. The paper asserts that educational theory should explore the role of the unconscious in learning, especially with regard to adult education in the process of learning from life-experiences. The integration of the (...) unconscious into consciousness becomes a constitutive part of subject-formation and self-knowledge, which in turn serves as a basis for experiential self-education. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore different ways of picturing language learning in philosophy, all of them inspired by Wittgenstein and all of them concerned about scepticism of meaning. I start by outlining the two pictures of children and language learning that emerge from Kripke's famous reading of Wittgenstein. Next, I explore how social-pragmatic readings, represented by Meredith Williams, attempt to answer the sceptical anxieties. Finally, drawing somewhat on Stanley Cavell, I try to resolve these issues by investigating (...) what characteristically happens to our view of language learning when we do philosophy. The focus throughout is on the relation between the individual (the learning child) and the community (usually represented by the parents), and how that relation is deformed when we operate with a certain philosophical notion of ground. (shrink)
An oft-quoted Hadith purports that it is incumbent upon every Muslim to seek knowledge, even if it is to be found as far away as China.1 However, the plethora of knowledge that was discovered there generally has yet to be unraveled by Western academics. If the intellectual tradition of Chinese Muslims may appear to be of minor consequence to the larger field of Islamic studies, this is in part because of our failure to assess their influence. The abundant resources (...) for understanding the Islamic sciences in China have barely been grazed and are awaiting our thorough analytical peregrination. This essay attempts to evaluate (1) the most recent work that explores this intellectual tradition, The Sage Learning of Liu .. (shrink)
The philosophy of religion and theology are related to the culture in which they have developed. These disciplines provide a source of values and vision to the cultures of which they are part, while at the same time they are delimited and defined by their cultures. This book compares the ideas of two contemporary philosophers, John Hick and Seyyed Hossein Nasr, on the issues of religion, religions, the concept of the ultimate reality, and the notion of sacred knowledge. On (...) a broader level, it compares two world-views: the one formed by Western Christian culture, which is religious in intention but secular in essence; the other Islamic, formed through the assimilation of traditional wisdom, which is turned against the norms of secular culture and is thus religious both in intention and essence. (shrink)
Hellenistic philosophers and scholars laid the foundations upon which Western tradition developed analytical grammar, linguistics, philosophy of language and other disciplines. Building on the pioneering work of Plato, Aristotle and earlier thinkers, they developed a wide range of theories about the nature and origin of language. Ten essays explore the ancient theories, their philosophical adequacy, and their impact on later thinkers from Augustine through the Middle Ages.
The relationship between machine learning and the philosophy of science can be classed as a dynamic interaction: a mutually beneficial connection between two autonomous fields that changes direction over time. I discuss the nature of this interaction and give a case study highlighting interactions between research on Bayesian networks in machine learning and research on causality and probability in the philosophy of science.
Since educators are always looking for ways to improve their practice, and since empirical science is now accepted in our worldview as the final arbiter of truth, it is no surprise they have been lured toward cognitive neuroscience in hopes that discovering how the brain learns will provide a nutshell explanation for student learning in general. I argue that identifying the person with the brain is scientism (not science), that the brain is not the person, and that it is (...) the person who learns. In fact the brain only responds to the learning of embodied experience within the extra-neural network of intersubjective communications. Learning is a dynamic, cultural activity, not a neural program. Brain-based learning is unnecessary for educators and may be dangerous in that a culturally narrow ontology is taken for granted, thus restricting our creativity and imagination, and narrowing the human community. (shrink)
Formal learning theory is an approach to the study of inductive inference that has been developed by computer scientists. In this paper, I discuss the relevance of formal learning theory to such standard topics in the philosophy of science as underdetermination, realism, scientific progress, methodology, bounded rationality, the problem of induction, the logic of discovery, the theory of knowledge, the philosophy of artificial intelligence, and the philosophy of psychology.
Understanding causal structure is a central task of human cognition. Causal learning underpins the development of our concepts and categories, our intuitive theories, and our capacities for planning, imagination and inference. During the last few years, there has been an interdisciplinary revolution in our understanding of learning and reasoning: Researchers in philosophy, psychology, and computation have discovered new mechanisms for learning the causal structure of the world. This new work provides a rigorous, formal basis for theory (...) theories of concepts and cognitive development, and moreover, the causal learning mechanisms it has uncovered go dramatically beyond the traditional mechanisms of both nativist theories, such as modularity theories, and empiricist ones, such as association or connectionism. (shrink)
This paper places formal learning theory in a broader philosophical context and provides a glimpse of what the philosophy of induction looks like from a learning-theoretic point of view. Formal learning theory is compared with other standard approaches to the philosophy of induction. Thereafter, we present some results and examples indicating its unique character and philosophical interest, with special attention to its unified perspective on inductive uncertainty and uncomputability.
Ex-Jew, eternal Jew: early representations of the Jewish Spinoza -- Refining Spinoza: Moses Mendelssohn's response to the Amsterdam heretic -- The first modern Jew: Berthold Auerbach's Spinoza and the beginnings of an image -- A rebel against the past, a revealer of secrets: Salomon Rubin and the east European Maskilic Spinoza -- From the heights of Mount Scopus: Yosef Klausner and the Zionist rehabilitation of Spinoza -- Farewell, Spinoza: I. B. Singer and the tragicomedy of the Jewish Spinozist.
Beginning in the Southern Sung, one Confucian sect gradually came to dominate literati culture and, by the Ming dynasty, was canonized as state orthodoxy. This book is a historical and textual critique of the process by which claims to exclusive possession of the truth came to serve power. The author analyzes the formation of the Confucian canon and its role in the civil service examinations, the enshrinement of worthies in the Confucian temple, and the emergence of the Confucian anthology, activities (...) that canonized one conception of the Confucian tradition as orthodox by selecting among persons who shaped the tradition. This lineage became 'the genealogy of the way'. The author draws on contemporary cultural and literary theory to help situate Confucian anthologies in ritual, institutional, sectarian, and ideological contexts. (shrink)
Power is everywhere. But what is it and how does it infuse personal and institutional relationships in higher education? Power, Knowledge and the Academy: The Institutional is Political takes a close-up and critical look at both the elusive and blatant workings and consequences of power in a range of everyday sites in universities. Chapters focus on specific locations in which power shapes personal and institutional knowledge including student-supervisor relationships, research teams, networking, the Research Assessment Exercise in the UK, and literature (...) reviews. (shrink)
In spite of orientation of philosophy in the western philosophy after renaissance when the relation between religion and philosophy was weakened and broken, in the Islamic world in particular Iranian society the strong relation appeared between religion and philosophy. However this relationship alleviated diversity and audaciousness of philosophical thought, but it deepened and widened religious thoughts. In fact, entrance of philosophical discussions in the realm of religion causes the rational interpretation of religion and lessens fanaticism (...) and dogmatism and it excludes superstition from religious thoughts. Philosophers like Averroes, Avicenna and Mulla Sadra have discussed the interaction of religion and philosophy. Islamicphilosophy is completely an intellectual knowledgewhich differs from theology is based on revelatory texts. The title of Islamicphilosophy displays the relationship between religion and philosophy. (shrink)
Ramon Llull (1232-1316), born on Majorca, was one of the most remarkable lay intellectuals of the thirteenth century. He devoted much of his life to promoting missions among unbelievers, the reform of Western Christian society, and personal spiritual perfection. He wrote over 200 philosophical and theological works in Catalan, Latin, and Arabic. Many of these expound on his "Great Universal Art of Finding Truth," an idiosyncratic dialectical system that he thought capable of proving Catholic beliefs to non-believers. This study offers (...) the first full-length analysis of his theories about rhetoric and preaching, which were central to his evangelizing activities. It explains how Llull attempted to synthesize commonplace advice about courtly speech and techniques of popular sermons into a single program for secular and sacred eloquence that would necessarily promote love of God and neighbor. Llull's work is remarkable testimony to the diffusion of clerical culture among educated lay-people of his era, and to their enthusiasm for applying that knowledge in the pursuit of learning and piety. This book should find a place on the shelf of every scholar of medieval history, religion, and rhetoric. (shrink)
In this chapter I discuss connections between machine learning and the philosophy of science. First I consider the relationship between the two disciplines. There is a clear analogy between hypothesis choice in science and model selection in machine learning. While this analogy has been invoked to argue that the two disciplines are essentially doing the same thing and should merge, I maintain that the disciplines are distinct but related and that there is a dynamic interaction operating between (...) the two: a series of mutually beneficial interactions that changes over time. I will introduce some particularly fruitful interactions, in particular the consequences of automated scientific discovery for the debate on inductivism versus falsificationism in the philosophy of science, and the importance of philosophical work on Bayesian epistemology and causality for contemporary machine learning. I will close by suggesting the locus of a possible future interaction: evidence integration. (shrink)
The Islamic philosophical tradition was the privileged site for the study and continuation of the Classical philosophical tradition in the Middle Ages. An initial chapter on the history of Islamicphilosophy sets the stage for sixteen articles on issues across the Islamic, Jewish and Christian traditions. The goal is to see the Islamic tradition in its own richness and complexity as the context of much Jewish intellectual work. Taken together, these two traditions provide the wider (...) context to which Latin Christian intellectuals would turn. The articles are grouped under six topics relevant both to the period and to current philosophical interest: the Islamic philosophical context, the nature of philosophy in the Middle Ages, Neoplatonism and the activity of the soul, creation, virtue, and the Latin reception. Since the nineteenth century Islamic and Jewish philosophy have been neglected in the standard histories of medieval philosophy. The time is right to begin to write a more balanced history of medieval philosophy. In order to begin to write this history, this book focuses on the Islamic, Jewish, and Christian use of - and reaction to - Classical philosophy during the Middle Ages. (shrink)
This dissertation is an analysis of the development of dialectic and argumentation theory in post-classical Islamic intellectual history. The central concerns of the thesis are; treatises on the theoretical understanding of the concept of dialectic and argumentation theory, and how, in practice, the concept of dialectic, as expressed in the Greek classical tradition, was received and used by five communities in the Islamic intellectual camp. It shows how dialectic as an argumentative discourse diffused into five communities (theologicians, poets, (...) grammarians, philosophers and jurists) and how these local dialectics that the individual communities developed fused into a single system to form a general argumentation theory (adab al-bahth) applicable to all fields. I evaluate a treatise by Shams al-Din Samarqandi (d.702/1302), the founder of this general theory, and the treatises that were written after him as a result of his work. I concentrate specifically on work by 'Ad}ud al-Din al-Iji (d.756/1355), Sayyid Sharif al-Jurjani (d.816/1413), Taşköprüzâde (d.968/1561), Saçaklızâde (d.1150/1737) and Gelenbevî (d.1205/1791) and analyze how each writer (from Samarqandi to Gelenbevî) altered the shape of argumentative discourse and how later intellectuals in the post-classical Islamic world responded to that discourse bequeathed by their predecessors. What is striking about the period that this dissertation investigates (from 1300-1800) is the persistence of what could be called the linguistic turn in argumentation theory. After a centuries-long run, the jadal-based dialectic of the classical period was displaced by a new argumentation theory, which was dominantly linguistic in character. This linguistic turn in argumentation dates from the final quarter of the fourteenth century in Iji's impressively prescient work on 'ilm al-wad'. This idea, which finally surfaced in the post-classical period, that argumentation is about definition and that, therefore, defining is the business of language—even perhaps, that language is the only available medium for understanding and being understood—affected the way that argumentation theory was processed throughout most of the period in question.The argumentative discourse that started with Ibn al-Rawandi in the third/ninth century left a permanent imprint on Islamic intellectual history, which was then full of concepts, terminology and objectives from this discourse up until the late nineteenth century. From this perspective, Islamic intellectual history can be read as the tension between two languages: the "language of dialectic" (jadal) and the "language of demonstration" (burhan), each of which refer not only to a significant feature of that history, but also to a feature that could dramatically alter the interpretation of that history. (shrink)
In all the current alienating discourse on Islam as a source of extremism and fanatic violence this new publication takes a timely and refreshing look at the traditions of Islamic mysticism, philosophy and intellectual debate in a series of diverse and stimulating approaches. It tackles the major figures of Islamic thought as well as shedding light on hitherto unconsidered aspects of Islam utilizing new source material. The contributors are impressive list of scholars and experts.
This paper suggests that young people can explore moral philosophy in ways that will help them both think and act in ways that are consistent with good moral reasoning. It describes several games and exercises that allow children to explore various moral principles in their behavior toward others. Participating in activities that give children practice in making moral decisions helps them to appreciate the role of principles in moral reasoning. The author contends that it is important for young people (...) to examine ethical dilemmas from the “inside out”; that is, not by listening to the wisdom of philosophers telling them how to approach these issues, but by facing them head on themselves. (shrink)
Although John Dewey has had the most profound effect on education, less is known about the philosophy of education of the original founder of pragmatism, Charles Peirce. Using Peirce's theory of formal rhetoric, I try to show that Peirce's philosophy of education, when fully understood, is aligned with Dewey's pedagogy of experiential learning, and can provide a justification for the promotion of active learning in the classroom. Peirce's rhetoric, as one part of his logical or semiotic (...) theory, argues that reasoning alone is not sufficient to gain knowledge, but that it must be embedded within a community of inquiry, of a certain sort. Applying this to the classroom, I argue that we, as teachers, should endeavor to create the features of a proper community of inquiry in the classroom, one that emphasizes engagement of the students in doing research rather than passively receiving information about its results. (shrink)