Contemporary research, across various disciplines, alludes to notion of complexity. Indeed, the phenomenon has even been accredited for comprising a new “world-view” that not only heralds theory construction but also instigates miscellaneous nifty yet practical avenues. On the other hand, however, the complexityparadigm has frequently been criticized of obscurity, contestation and scope imprecision. In addition, its various mutually incommensurable philosophical implications have lead to much heated debates regarding methodological pluralism and metaphorical applications, within literature. To elaborately discussand resolve these concerns, (...) this paper will be organized in three sections: The first section will build on the idiosyncratic characteristics of complexity that differentiate it from related notions of chaos and complicatedness. The second section will shed light on the philosophical deliberations of individual complexityattributes, toward metaphysics of complexity, through elaborately drawn diagrams. Also, this section will draw attention to several conflicting perspectives encompassing the theological, epistemological and ontological domain of complexity. The third section will trace the origins of such paradoxical debates, in the complexity literature, through a ‘Super-System-Outlook’ (SSO) framework. The framework is likely to be of particular significance as it aims to not only divulge an eradicable joint cause of the disparity governing complexity studies but also to propose a possible assimilation of such deliberations. (shrink)
: In his autobiographical account, the Munqidh min al-Dalāl, al-Ghazālī reflects on his conversion from skepticism to faith. Previous scholarship has interpreted this text as an anticipation of Cartesian positions regarding epistemic certainty. Although the existing similarities between al-Ghazālī and Descartes are striking, the focus of the present essay lies on the different philosophical aims pursued by the two thinkers. It is thus argued that al-Ghazālī operates with a broader notion of the Self than Descartes, because it (...) is inclusive of the body. And it is shown that the two philosophers use completely diverging paradigms. While Descartes models his notion of evidence after mathematical certainty, al-Ghazālī draws his famous 'ilm al-yaqīnī (certain knowledge) from a religious context. (shrink)
Abū Hāmid al-Ghazālī (1058–1111 c.e .) is well known, among other things, for his account, in al-Munqidh min al-ḍalāl (Deliverance from error), of a struggle with philosophical skepticism that bears a striking resemblance to that described by Descartes in the Meditations . This essay aims to give a close comparative analysis of these respective accounts, and will concentrate solely on the processes of invoking or entertaining doubt that al-Ghazālī and Descartes describe, respectively. In the process some subtle differences (...) between them in this regard will be brought to light that are relevant to the comparative issue of the respective solutions at which they arrive. The latter issue will not be touched upon here, although the present discussion is intended as a prelude to a future treatment of that topic. (shrink)
: The "major Islamic philosophers," writes Deborah Black, "produced no works dedicated to aesthetics, although their writings do address issues that contemporary philosophers might study under that heading." The emergent theme in this essay is that classical Islamic philosophy may be studied within a framework of aesthetics. To achieve this goal, the metaphysics of Abu Hamid al-Ghazālī (1058–1111) and the aesthetics of Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860) will be brought together.
: Al-Ghazali on Power, Causation, and 'Acquisition' Edward Omar Moad In Al-Iqtişādfial-I'tiqād (Moderation in belief ), at the end of his chapter on divine power, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali writes, "No created thing comes about through another [created thing]. Rather, all come about through [divine] power." A precise understanding of what al-Ghazali means by this statement requires an understanding of his conception of power. Here, we will articulate this conception of power and show how it renders a distinctive occasionalist thesis that (...) follows from al-Ghazali's doctrine of the pervasiveness of divine power. Second, we will review an argument by al-Ghazali against natural necessity and show that the argument turns on the clear implication that, on empirical grounds, al-Ghazali's conception of power is the only understanding of causation that we have. This follows from an epistemology of power held by al-Ghazali that bears basic similarities to that of John Locke. Third, we will address the tension between such an epistemology of power and the implications of occasionalism with a look at al-Ghazali's discussion of the theory of kash, or 'acquisition.'. (shrink)
Review of Avital Wohlman, Al-Ghazali, Averroës and the Interpretation of the Qur'an: Common Sense and Philosophy in Islam, Translated by David Burrell Content Type Journal Article Pages 637-639 DOI 10.1007/s11841-010-0207-3 Authors Scott Girdner, Western Kentucky University, 1906 college Heights Blvd., Bowling Green, KY 42101, USA Journal Sophia Online ISSN 1873-930X Print ISSN 0038-1527 Journal Volume Volume 49 Journal Issue Volume 49, Number 4.
Al-Ghazālī's Maqāsid al-falāsifa is an intelligent reworking of Avicenna's Dānesh-name (Book of Science). It was assumed by Latin scholastics that the Maqāsid contained the views of Al-Ghazālī himself. Very well read in Latin translation, it was the basic text from which the Latin authors gained their knowledge of Arabic logic. This article examines the views on the form and matter of the syllogism given in the Maqāsid and considers how they would have been viewed by a Latin reader (...) in the thirteenth century. (shrink)
The explanation of the relationship between God and humans, as portrayed in Islam, is often influenced by the images of God and of human beings which theologians, philosophers and mystics have in mind. The early period of Islam disclose a diversity of interpretations of this relationship. Thinkers from the tenth and eleventh century had the privilege of disclosing different facets of the relationship between humans and the divine. God and Humans in Islamic Thought discusses the view of three different scholars (...) of the time: Abd al-Jabbar, Ibn Sina and Al-Ghazali. The relationships discussed in this work are: divine assistance, lu³f, according to 'Abd al-Jabbar; human love and attraction to the divine, 'ishq, according to Ibn Sina, and finally the mystical annihilation of the self in the divine unity, fana', of al-Ghazali. They introduce three approaches of looking at this relationship. In order to perceive these concepts, their perception of God and of the human nature will also be examined here. The starting-point of this research was the desire to set forth a variety of possible relationships which are all in accordance with Islamic belief, but nevertheless demonstrate diversity in understanding the relationship between the human and the divine which in turn suggests the concept of plurality within one religion. Examining these three concepts, which build firm connections between God and humans, reveals the importance of rational inquiry in medieval Islamic thought, not only because it was a source of logical arguments for Islam against its opponents but mainly because it built different bridges leading to God. God and Humans in Islamic Thought attempts to shed light on an important side of medieval rational thought in demonstrating its significance in forming the basis of an understanding of the nature of God, the nature of human beings and the construction of different bridges between them. (shrink)
The timing of Austriaâ€™s conviction and imprisonment of David Irving for denying the Holocaust could not have been worse. Coming after the deaths of at least 30 people in Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Libya, Nigeria, and other Islamic countries during protests against cartoons ridiculing Muhammad, the Irving verdict makes a mockery of the claim that in democratic countries, freedom of expression is a basic right.
The paper offers a critical examination of Ghazali’s main arguments against the views of the philosophers on causation. The authors argue that Ghazali’s definition of miracles as "departure from the usual course of events" carries at least two meanings, only one of which is in conflict with necessary causal relations. The authors also argue that Ghazali’s desire to uphold the possibility of miracles need not constrain him to repudiate the idea of necessary connection, since he is able to explain miracles (...) in ways that are compatible with belief in causality and necessary connection. The authors conclude by examining some arguments to the effect that Ghazali’s attempt to hold on to both miracles and necessary connection is inherently unstable, and explore directions which Ghazalians may take in order to counter these arguments. (shrink)
The method of doubt has been used in philosophy and theology by both philosophers and theologians, among them al-Ghazālī. Al-Ghazālī’s method conveys the process of how he was cured of his epistemological and existential crisis. This study analyzes each phase of the process in terms of epistemology and logic; it explains the problems and how they appeared to al-Ghazālī.
At the basis of Ghazali's criticisms of Ash'arite kalam is the thesis that its primary function is the defence of traditional Islamic belief, the 'aqida, against the distortions of heretical innovations (al-bida'). Kalam is not an end in itself and it is error to think that the mere engagement in it constitutes the experientially religious. In the I[hdotu]ya' he maintains in effect that when it is pursued as an end in itself, its dogmas can constitute a veil preventive of the (...) attainment of gnosis (ma'rifa). On the other hand, Ash'arite kalam when not pursued as an end in itself can be an aid in the quest after gnosis. This is implicit in his reference (in Kitab al-Arba'in) to his own major work of Ash'arite kalam, the Iqti[sdotu]ad fi al-i'tiqad, where he states that “it goes deeper in ascertaining [the truth] and is closer to knocking at the doors of gnosis than the official discourse encountered in the books of the mutakallimin.” The I[hdotu]ya' abounds with homilies, guides for the pious, particularly for those seeking mystical knowledge. Ash'arism pervades such homilies. Thus in Kitab al-Tawba, Ghazali formulates, analyzes and defends the concept of human choice in Ash'arite terms. He thus argues that each of the ingredients of this concept - knowledge, power, the decisive will, as well as the ensuing choice - is individually the direct creation of God. Not that the argument for this concept yields experiential knowledge of its meaning within the cosmic scheme of things. For Ghazali such knowledge is only attained through mystical vision. But the Ash'arite argument, when not pursued as an end in itself, can be an aid to the seekers of gnosis. It can bring them closer to knocking at its doors. (shrink)
Al-Ghazali is arguably one of the most influential thinkers in the history of Islam, and his writings have received greater scholarly attention in the West than those of any other Muslim scholar. This study explores an important dimension of his thought that has not yet been fully examined, namely, his polemical engagement with the Ismailis of the Fatimid and early Alamut periods. Published in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies.
In the 17th Discussion of his Tahafut al-Falasifah (“Incoherence of the Philosophers”), Ghazali presents two theories of causation which, he claims, accommodate belief in the possibility of miracles. The first of these, which is usually taken to represent Ghazali’s own position, is a form of occasionalism. In this paper I argue that Ghazali fails to prove that this theory is compatible with belief in the possibility of miracles.
There are two ways in which Ghazali contributes to the discussion of whether God exists: by arguing for the existence of God, and by arguing against certain views which, in his opinion, stand in the way of truly believing that God exists. In this paper I examine Ghazali’s argument from creation and his refutation or the philosophers’ second proof for the eternity or the world. My purpose will be to argue that: firstly, Ghazali’s argument and his refutation are based on (...) incompatible views of time, and cannot, therefore, both be maintained. Secondly, Ghazali fails to establish the one interesting premiss which he employs in his argument from creation. (shrink)
I will in this paper attempt to extract a positive doctrine on the substantiality of the human soul from Ghazali"s critique of the Aristotelian philosophical tradition. Rather than reflecting on the possibilities and limitations of intercultural dialogue, my aim is to directly engage in such dialogue. Accordingly, I will not suppose that we need to develop and apply external standards according to which one of the two philosophical traditions addressed here, Western and Islamic, may turn out to be superior. Up (...) to a certain point, Western and Islamic philosophy are virtually indistinguishable regarding their style, the main topics, and the arguments discussed, which both take over from Aristotle and the Neoplatonists. Further, at least up to Ghazali, no Islamic philosopher actually employs standards of rationality that would differ from the standards also accepted in the West. Ghazali himself would certainly be at least as disturbed by a valid philosophical objection to his claims as any other serious philosopher. He does not pursue another kind of project, but submits to the same standards of truth and validity, as far as philosophical argument reaches. His point is, of course, that these standards do not reach as far as some philosophers suppose. But this, again, is not a particularly "Islamicâ€? insight. (shrink)
While some philosophers suggest that mystical experience may provide evidence for belief in God, skeptics doubt that there is adequate warrant for even accepting the claim of a mystical experience as evidence for anything, except perhaps for some kind of mental instability. Drawing from the work of Gabriel Marcel, I argue that the pervasive philosophical skepticism about the evidential status of mystical experiences is misguided because it rests on too narrow a view about ways of knowing and about what can (...) count as evidence for belief in the divine. I illustrate the advantages of Marcel’s approach by applying it to the respective spiritual journeys of Augustine of Hippo and Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali. I then argue that Marcel’s framework improves on contemporary analytic approaches because it captures more accurately the kind of knowledge that mystical experiences convey as reported by the subjects who claim to have them. (shrink)
Ghazālī’s The Incoherence of the Philosophers is an unusual philosophical work for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the author’s explicit disavowalof any of the conclusions contained within it. The present essay examines some of the hermeneutical challenges that face readers of the work and offers anexegetical account of the much-neglected Third Discussion, which examines a key point of Neoplatonic metaphysics. The paper argues that Ghazālī’s maintaining of the incompatibility of metaphysical creationism and Neoplatonic (...) emanationism should not be viewed as simply a rhetorical or dialectical argument, but rather is best understood, to use Ghazālī’s words, as a philosophical “proof.” Essential to this proof in the solution to the argument of the Third Discussion is an implicit theory of metaphorical predication that can be pieced together from several of Ghazālī’s remarks as well as a reductio ad absurdum argument about the very possibility of ethical discourse. (shrink)
Abu Hamid al Ghazali, one of the most famous intellectuals in the history of Islam, developed a definition of Unbelief (kufr) to serve as the basis for determining who, in theological terms, should be considered a Muslim and who should not. Jackson's annotated translation is preceded by an introduction that reconstructs the historical and theoretical context of the Faysal and discusses its relevance for contemporary thought and practice.
Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, a Muslim jurist-theologian and polymath who lived from the mid-eleventh to the early twelfth century in present-day Iran, is a figure equivalent in stature to Maimonides in Judaism and Thomas Aquinas in Christianity. He is best known for his work in philosophy, ethics, law, and mysticism. In an engaged re-reading of the ideas of this preeminent Muslim thinker, Ebrahim Moosa argues that Ghazali's work has lasting relevance today as a model for a critical encounter with the Muslim (...) intellectual tradition in a modern and postmodern context. Moosa employs the theme of the threshold, or dihliz , the space from which Ghazali himself engaged the different currents of thought in his day, and proposes that contemporary Muslims who wish to place their own traditions in conversation with modern traditions consider the same vantage point. Moosa argues that by incorporating elements of Islamic theology, neoplatonic mysticism, and Aristotelian philosophy, Ghazali's work epitomizes the idea that the answers to life's complex realities do not reside in a single culture or intellectual tradition. Ghazali's emphasis on poiesis--creativity, imagination, and freedom of thought--provides a sorely needed model for a cosmopolitan intellectual renewal among Muslims, Moosa argues. Such a creative and critical inheritance, he concludes, ought to be heeded by those who seek to cultivate Muslim intellectual traditions in today's tumultuous world. (shrink)
Named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most important innovators of the century, Tariq Ramadan is a leading Muslim scholar, with a large following especially among young European and American Muslims. Now, in his first book written for a wide audience, he offers a marvelous biography of the Prophet Muhammad, one that highlights the spiritual and ethical teachings of one of the most influential figures in human history. Here is a fresh and perceptive look at Muhammad, capturing a (...) life that was often eventful, gripping, and highly charged. Ramadan provides both an intimate portrait of a man who was shy, kind, but determined, as well as a dramatic chronicle of a leader who launched a great religion and inspired a vast empire. More important, Ramadan presents the main events of the Prophet's life in a way that highlights his spiritual and ethical teachings. The book underscores the significance of the Prophet's example for some of today's most controversial issues, such as the treatment of the poor, the role of women, Islamic criminal punishments, war, racism, and relations with other religions. Selecting those facts and stories from which we can draw a profound and vivid spiritual picture, the author asks how can the Prophet's life remain--or become again--an example, a model, and an inspiration? And how can Muslims move from formalism--a fixation on ritual--toward a committed spiritual and social presence? In this thoughtful and engaging biography, Ramadan offers Muslims a new understanding of Muhammad's life and he introduces non-Muslims not just to the story of the Prophet, but to the spiritual and ethical riches of Islam. (shrink)
Many scholars of modern philosophy link the discussion of the necessary nature of causality inexorably with the name of the David Hume. Yet, long before Hume, the issue of necessary causality had been taken up by the Medieval Islamic philosopher Al-Ghazali. The purpose of this paper will be to examine Al-Ghazali’s views concerning the necessary nature of causality in his work ’The Incoherence of the Philosophers’ with particular reference to the issue of whether there is a complete rejection of causality, (...) and whether Ghazali’s rejection of necessary causality entails that he holds to some sort of occasionalism. (shrink)
Journeys of Ghazali and Averroes to their diverse conceptions of the role of reason -- From the chimera of philosophy to the evidence of "the just balance" -- The decisive criterion of the distinction between islam and hypocrisy (zandaqa) -- Averroes, philospher-reader of the precious book -- Reorganization of the world according to Aristotle in the light of Qurʼanic revelation by Averroes -- Ghazali and Averroes in Muslim society.
The Sulwan al-Muta' is an 800 year-old handbook for statesmen written by a Sicilian Arab who addressed this advice for a "just prince" based on Islamic morality, European realism and a broad-ranging knowledge of different cultures. The work is explicated using straight philosophical discourse as well as the narrative whirl of fables-within-fables so beloved of ancient and mediaeval Oriental literature. This is a work of practical political philosophy that combines penetrating contemporary analysis, the entertainment value of The Thousand and One (...) Nights , and the deep insight of Sun Tzu. (shrink)