To date, the genre of al-Ashʿarī’s Adab al-jadal as a document of Islamic argumentation theory remains unclear. Modern scholars paid little attention to this important document preserved in Ibn Fūrak ’s Mujarrad maqālāt al-Ashʿarī. Scholars disagree on whether the main constituent elements of al-Ashʿarī’s Adab al-jadal are they theological or philosophical. Based on the terminology, the procedure and the purpose of dialectical questions and answers in al-Ashʿarī’s Adab al-jadal, I argue that this document borrows its method to juridical dialectics.
In a seminal modern work of uṣūl al-fiqh, al-Ākhund al-Khurāsānī argues that the two terms ṭalab and irāda are coined to refer to a single concept. Within the argument he implies that the Ashʿarīs, and some modern Twelver Shīʿa who lean towards their position, fall foul of a linguistic fallacy when they assert that ṭalab and irāda are distinct. For al-Khurāsānī, both ṭalab and irāda may be used in two distinct modes, a real mode or an initiating mode. The former (...) denotes a real seeking or willing within the essence of an actor, whereas the latter simply seeks to initiate the meaning of seeking or willing. Accordingly, an initiating ṭalab may be distinct from a real irāda, and a real ṭalab may be distinct from an initiating irāda, without undermining the position that ṭalab and irāda are conceptually identical. Analysis of al-Khurāsānī’s arguments, and some criticisms of it by later modern and contemporary scholars of uṣūl al-fiqh, will aim to broaden our understanding of the category of inshāʾ in Arabic, hitherto analysed through the lens of J. L. Austin’s notion of performatives. More generally, the paper takes the treatment of this linguistic issue as an example affirming the continued importance of modern and contemporary uṣūl al-fiqh for engaging with Arabic philosophy of language and argument. (shrink)
This article examines the development and critique of analogical arguments in the kalām tradition. There are two basic positions on analogical arguments: one holds that if analogical arguments yield certainty, then they are analyzable as deductive inferences, rendering the analogy itself redundant. Proponents of this view thus hold that if the analogy is useful at all, it will never yield the certainty demanded in the rational sciences; another holds that the analogy remains useful even when the argument is deductively sound, (...) either because the universal premise is epistemically dependent on the source case, or, because the source case is useful in dialectical contexts. The exploration of these themes will center around Juwaynī’s formalization and subsequent critique of analogical arguments in the kalām tradition. (shrink)
Ḥanafī jurist Burhān al-Dīn al-Nasafī is one of the most prominent names in the history of the ʿilm al-naẓar’ particularly due to his seminal work entitled al-Fuṣūl. We have located a manuscript which we will call an Opponent-al-Fuṣūl written by a Shāfiʿī scholar. This manuscript is titled al-Risāla fī qawāʿid ʿilm al-naẓar and it highlights the importance of al-Nasafī’s al-Fuṣūl. The scribe of the manuscript attributes this Opponent-al-Fuṣūl to the famous logician Najm al-Dīn al-Kātibī. Although no mention of such a (...) book belonging to al-Kātibī has been discovered thus far, in this article we will try to demonstrate that the book does indeed belong to him. In addition, we will undertake a comparison of both works, al-Fuṣūl and the Opponent-al-Fuṣūl, with a particular focus on the concepts of talāzum, tanāfī and dawarān. A critical edition of the Opponent-al-Fuṣūl is appended to the article. (shrink)
Qiyās, or “correlational inference”, comprises a primary set of methodological tools recognized by a majority of premodern Sunnī jurists. Its elements, valid modes, and proper applications were the focus of continual argument and refinement. A particular area of debate was the methodology of determining or justifying the ʿilla: the legal cause giving rise to a ruling in God’s Law. This was most often discussed under the rubric of “the modes of causal justification”. Among these modes was the much debated test (...) of dawarān. In brief, proponents of dawarān employed it to justify claims that a property occasioned the ruling in an authoritative source-case. In concert with other considerations, the demonstrated co-presence and co-absence of property and ruling—that is, their concomitance “in existence” and “in nonexistence” — was taken as an indication that the property was the ruling’s ʿilla. Delving further into dawarān and causation, the current study interprets “in existence” and “in nonexistence” not as a kind of metaphor for true and false, but as an accurate terminology vis-à-vis the meaning of causality statements, fully compatible with dominant Islamicate views on causal agency. In brief, a deeper logical and linguistic analysis of the different existential modes of dawarān strongly suggests that we should distinguish property and ruling as types as opposed to tokens. Our reading of dawarān as shaped by a finer-grained structure not only allows us to identify the efficient occasioning process as a function which takes some particular token of the ʿilla and renders a token of the general ruling type, but it allows us to elucidate the role of taʿlīl in shaping an epistemological theory of argument to the best explanation: a sophisticated, premodern manifestation of abductive reasoning. (shrink)
The domain of Islamic thought and intellectual history boasts an important body of studies relevant to the Arabic philosophy of language, as well as a growing interest in Islamicate argumentation theory and practice. There remains, however, a dearth of volumes which pool research from both areas and examine them together. Filling this gap is more critical than ever. In our time, significant work is being conducted in argumentation theory, but little of it draws from, or relates to, the rich i...
This paper endeavors to look into the physiognomical syllogism as occurring in Avicenna’s different summae and to tentatively discuss possible reasons for its select occurrence in some of them and not others, as well as possible implications of this selectiveness. These occurrences are in principle reducible to two different textual versions. Further, it will be argued that the inclusion of this syllogism might be connected with a certain nearness of the respective works to Aristotle, due to an assumed personal disfavoring (...) of this syllogism by Avicenna. However, there is also some evidence for Avicenna’s usage of the ps.-Aristotelian Physiognomics. (shrink)
Al-Abharī’s Isagoge is an introductory primer in logic which has received numerous commentaries, each geared towards students of various levels of familiarity with this instrumental science. Al-Fanārī’s advanced commentary on the Isagoge, called al-Fawāʾid al-Fanāriyya, has confounded students of logic for centuries due to its terse and dense style as well as the presumption that the reader knows well the science of disputation along with the subtle interpretive disagreements discussed in other texts and commentaries. Sājaqlīzādah’s primer on disputation entitled al-Waladiyya, (...) written nearly 300 years after al-Fanārī’s commentary, provides useful examples of the possible claims, objections, and defenses available to one making scholarly claims in the form of definitions, classifications, and propositional assents or syllogistic reasoning. In this article, I explore several instances of al-Fanārī’s use of the terms and methods of disputation in order to defend definitions or classifications found al-Abharī’s Isagoge. I aim to identify the specific disputational moves used by al-Fanārī, drawing from those described by Sājaqlīzādah. In doing so, I demonstrate that this important advanced commentary on a popular logic primer is best understood through the lens of disputation. I also argue that Sājaqlīzādah’s suggested methods of making claims, objections, and defenses can be transposed in whole or in part from one category of claim—definitions, classifications, assents—to another, indicating a greater complexity of disputational possibilities than his introductory handbook provides. (shrink)
The post-classical genre of the “protocols for dialectical inquiry and disputation” has its more proximate origins in the famed Risāla of Shams al-Dīn al-Samarqandī. The greater part of his conceptions and methodology, however, consists in a streamlining and universalizing of the more strictly juristic dialectic of his teacher Burhān al-Dīn al-Nasafī ; and this in turn draws on the highly logicized dialectic of Rukn al-Dīn al-ʿAmīdī and his teacher Raḍī al-Dīn al-Nīsābūrī. At the heart of methods in this lineage, and (...) carried forward by al-Samarqandī into the universal ādāb al-baḥth, are three truth-preserving logical relationships critical to the truth-seeking enterprise of dialectic: entailment, mutual negation or exclusion, and causal concomitance. The practical elaboration of these relations reveals a logic in action—a premodern dialogical logic for living disputation praxis. In fact, so critical were these to the dialectical enterprise that al-Samarqandī devoted a specialized treatise entirely to summarizing their defining features and rules, aptly naming it the ʿAyn al-Naẓar, or “Wellspring of Rational Investigation.” In this article, and drawing upon a recently published digital critical edition, I will present an analytical outline of these core logical relations as presented in the ʿAyn al-Naẓar. Then I will address a number of points of interest in this text, grouped under six themes: the potential for cross-disciplinary advancement; notions in discursive development; significant or uniquely contributive formulations; peculiarities of content; signs of an evolving, universalist agenda; and evidence that the ʿAyn al-Naẓar was designed as an aide-mémoire for the active disputant. (shrink)