Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Al-Ghazali’s argument against the necessary connection between cause and effect is almost exactly the same as the one employed by David Hume

Al-Ghazali lives in a main point of time when truth and reality seekers were lives. He inherited and did the theologian’s (Mutakallimun) way of thinking for the first period...
Al-Ghazali’s Critic against Mutakallimun's Epistemology, Philosophers and Ta’limiyah
Al-Ghazali criticized to all schools, except Ismailiyah, as whom then developing in tradition that he criticized. His mapping of his predecessors into three mainstreams of epistemologies is to criticize them as well. His critic, then, branched to two poles: in one side he criticized since he initiated himself as a part of tradition he criticized, and, in the other, he took his place as who seeks of spiritual knowledge and reality.
This attitude done by Al-Ghazali consciously when he criticized the weakness of Mutakallimun. As a theologian in this stream, he got that Mutakallimun’s reasonable thinking was not yet in optimal. Henceforth, it should be methodologically enriched in order to overcome the weakness, that the group merely borrowed the premises to construct argumentations from its ‘enemy’, viz. philosophers.
It is worsened when the premises, for instance Al-Baqillani’s atomism, not only to support certain religious belief, but used as their essential creeds. For Al-Ghazali, it is indirect searching and the lower level of reality’s searching process. Faith that is source of light even contaminated with false syllogism, which was being veil of darkness (Osman Bakar: 1998).
To philosophers, Al-Ghazali put his critic that philosophy has its justification to explain metaphysical problems. Philosophers, according to Al-Ghazali, not consequently used demonstrative thinking, hence discussing prophetic questions as well as spiritual psychology whereby also applied to others Philosophical methode for Al-Ghazali is not more than human virtue, hence it’s remain subordinated of revelation. Nevertheless, he accept of genuine philosophy that is neutral and not in opposition with religion. Meanwhile, his critic to Ta’limiyah seems more than Al-Ghazali’s sectarian feeling (Osman Bakar: 1998).
In his Sunni position, Al-Ghazali not agree on necessary claim that faith is the only which is knows ta’wil. His religious views that is influenced by Sunni socio-political visions made his argument that ijtihad is always open to anyone, not exlusively to Imam. Diposting oleh Andriansyah Syihabuddin di 14:44:00 Label: ,
To conclude, if anyone is responsible for the downfall of philosophy in the Muslim world, it is not Al-Ghazali, but rather Avicenna and the other Neo-Platonists. They confused, muddled, and distorted philosophy with their irrational ideas to the point that they ultimately defamed the entire thing. They infected philosophy with a poison that spawned an all-encompassing backlash against all its branches, from metaphysics to mathematics to the natural sciences. Their ideas were not just pernicious to Islam, but pernicious to reality. They divorced the intellect from the body, the universal from the concrete, the concept from the subject, and finally philosophy from practicality... Posted by Steven at 9:28 PM
DanielH said, on November 20th, 2007 at 9:53 am Well, I wouldn’t expect to (fully) convince anyone.
I just don’t like the simple portrayal of al-Ghazali as against human thinking. I’m not saying that everything he did influenced Islam or the world in a positive way, but I think his contributions shouldn’t be so easily discounted.
For instance, some historians have argued that arguments like al-Ghazali’s against rationalist metaphysics in the Middle Ages made space for a more empirical worldview to develop, and thus were critical to the development of modern science. It’s an intriguing hypothesis, certainly. I’m sure the reality is more complex than that, but at least it can be said that al-Ghazali’s argument against the necessary connection between cause and effect is almost exactly the same as the one employed by David Hume almost seven centuries later (al-Ghazali anticipated a number of other modern philosophers on certain ideas including Descartes and Pascal).
DanielH said, on November 20th, 2007 at 1:39 pm ...It is my understanding that al-Ghazali did not think the mind alone could reach certainty on matters of moral truth, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t think using one’s mind was necessary in Qur’anic interpretation.
In the introduction to his great work on jurisprudence, the al-Mustasfa min ‘ilm al-isul (On Legal theory of Muslim Jurisprudence — volume one available in pdf here), he wrote:
Yet the noblest knowledge is where Reason and Tradition are coupled, where rational opinion and the Shari’a are in association. This sciences of jurisprudence [fiqh] and its principles [usul] are of this sort, for they take from the choicest part of the Shari’a and Reason. They can be neither manipulated purely by Reason, such that the Shari’a could not accept them, nor based upon blind following, where Reason could not attest to their sanctity or rectitude.
al-Ghazali also thought that moral truth was more accurately perceived by a purified hearth than read in the Qur’an. See The Wonders of the Heart (another pdf) Chapter 21 of his Ihya Ulum al-Din. There is in reality little distinction between this theory and the natural law theory of Aquinas.
DanielH said, on November 21st, 2007 at 9:15 am Well, I hope we can continue the conversation sometime. It is my belief that al-Ghazali made some great intellectual contributions to the world, and that what intellectual and civilization stagnation and decline did occur in the Muslim world cannot be so easily pinned on religious thinkers like him. Happy Thanksgiving, anyway.

DanielH said, on November 21st, 2007 at 1:36 pm Again, I sincerely look forward to continuing the conversation. I do think that al-Ghazali took philosophy seriously (and did a good job at it) when he applied himself to it. For instance, I think his refutation of necessary causality is quite correct in terms of pure logic. Same goes for Hume’s argument, which was essentially the same. Kant moved the ball only by positing that causality is a category of understanding that humans must have already in their minds in order to make sense of the world — in other words, there is no logical proof of causality, but still we must act as if it is the case. I agree with Kant’s move, which however does not mean that al-Ghazali and Hume were wrong as far as their logical argument went.

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