incoherence of the philosophers summary

For anyone interested in understanding major shifts in Medieval/Islamic Philosophy, The Incoherence of the Philosophers is a must read. The "tahafut" and Averroes' refutation continue to be studied in the Muslim world. The late 11th century book brings out contradictions in the thoughts of philosophers about God and the universe, favoring faith instead. It is written as a sort of dialogue: Averroes quotes passages by al-Ghazali and then responds to them. The Incoherence of the Philosophers, written after more than a decade of travel and ascetic contemplation, contends that while such Muslim philosophers as Avicenna boasted of unassailable arguments on matters of theology and metaphysics, they could not deliver on their claims; moreover, many of their assertions represented disguised heresy and unbelief. But in three other chapters, he accuses them of being utterly irreligious. Summaryoftheparticularpointsofheresyandu nbeliefofwhich’ Al7Ghazaliaccuses’the’“philosophers”’(Aristotelian7Neoplatonists,’primarily’Al7 The Kindle edition of this book, Michael E. Marmura's edition and translation of Al-Ghazali's Incoherence of the Philosophers, should be a great product. He claimed that Aristotle is also right and the words of Quran are also the eternal truth. ": This also contains a translation of most of the tahafut as the refutations are mostly commentary of al-Ghazali statements that were quoted verbatim.]. Among the charges that he leveled against the philosophers is their inability to prove the existence of God and inability to prove the impossibility of existence of two gods.The twenty points are as follows:#Refuting the doctrine of the world's pre-eternity.#Refuting the doctrine of the world's post-eternity.#Showing their equivocation of the following two statements: God is the creator of the world vs. the world is God's creation.#The inability of philosophers to prove the existence of the Creator. The Incoherence of the Philosophers : Abu Hamid Muhammed Al-Ghazali : While such connections cannot be proven through observation or through any other meansthey may or may not exist. ["N.B. Al-Ghazali stated that one must be well versed in the ideas of the philosophers before setting out to refute their ideas. BY SIMON VAN DEN BERGH . Summary. Only when night falls, does he finally attribute his vision to the sun’s illumination. “The connection between what is customarily believed to be a cause and what is believed to be an effect is not necessary…but each of the two is independent of the other.”, The majority of the excerpt that I will be addressing focuses on three hypothetical points, which al-Ghazali suggests might be made by an opponent. #The inability of philosophers to prove the impossibility of existence of two gods.#The philosopher's doctrine of denying the existence of God's attributes.#Refutation of their statement: "the essence of the First is not divisible into genus and species".#Refutation of their statement: "the First is simple existent without quiddity".#Their inability to demonstrate that the First is not a body.#Discussing their materialist doctrine necessitates a denial of the maker. The Incoherence of the Philosophers, written after more than a decade of travel and ascetic contemplation, contends that while such Muslim philosophers as Avicenna boasted of unassailable arguments on matters of theology and metaphysics, they could not deliver on their claims; moreover, many of their assertions represented disguised heresy and unbelief. Here, the footnote in my text is extremely useful, as it lists al-Ghazali’s three types of impossibilities in terms of variables: “(1) X is Y, X is not Y; (2) some X is Y, no X is Y; (3) X is both Y and Z; X is not Y (or Z).” His examples are helpful, and I’ll relate one here, to illustrate his argument. Among the charges that he leveled against the philosophers is their inability to prove the existence of God and inability to prove the impossibility of the existence of two gods. Ibn Tufail cites al-Ghazali as an influence on his novel, especially his views on Sufism, but was critical of his views towards Avicennism. Al-Ghazali's insistence on a radical divine immanence in the natural world has been posited as one of the reasons that the spirit of scientific inquiry later withered in Islamic lands. From this rather antiquated (and comparatively unimportant) discussion, al-Ghazali moves on to the third, and final, point which he imagines an opponent might make: “What, according to [your opinion], is the definition of the impossible?” Can God, the opponent wonders, “change genera,” and “change a mineral into an animal[? But in three other chapters, he accuses them of being utterly irreligious. “[God knows through his eternal knowledge that he will not do [certain things], even though it is possible…and He will create for us the knowledge that he will not do it at a certain time.” Furthermore, “the statement of the philosophers is nothing but pure abomination.” Al-Ghazali then proposes that, perhaps certain properties of the fire (or Abraham) were changed. "el-Fatih") commissioned two of the realm's scholars to write a book summarizing the ideas of the two great philosophers as to who won the debate across time.LegacyAl-Ghazali's insistence on a radical divine immanence in the natural world has been posited as one of the reasons that the spirit of scientific inquiry later withered in Islamic lands. It is written as a sort of dialogue: Averroes quotes passages by al-Ghazali and then responds to them. I focus here on a selection from the final section of "The Incoherence of the Philosophers.," wherein al-Ghazali outlines, and dissasembles, the defense for the necessary existence of a logical connection linking cause and effect. The Incoherence of the Philosophers, 2nd Edition (Brigham Young University – Islamic Translation Series) [Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali, Michael E. Al-Ghazali was a highly influential 11th century philosopher, theologian, and Sunni mystic. "Ghazali, Al." I will attempt to briefly outline my own understanding of said arguments right here, to facilitate a better understanding of my personal evaluation of the text, when I get around to writing it. His argument, for once, appeals to simple common sense. Al-Ghazali, however, posits that fire is not the agent by which burning occurs, but that God, through direct action of himself or his agents (i.e. In no area has this influence been more… …   History of philosophy, Fichte and Schilling: the Jena period — Daniel Breazeale FROM KANT TO FICHTE An observer of the German philosophical landscape of the 1790s would have surveyed a complex and confusing scene, in which individuals tended to align themselves with particular factions or “schools,”… …   History of philosophy, Islamic Golden Age — The Islamic Golden Age, also sometimes known as the Islamic Renaissance, [Joel L. Kraemer (1992), Humanism in the Renaissance of Islam , p. 1 148, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004072594.] It was in 133/750 that the ‘Abbāssid dynasty came to… …   History of philosophy, Phenomenology (The beginnings of) — The beginnings of phenomenology Husserl and his predecessors Richard Cobb Stevens Edmund Husserl was the founder of phenomenology, one of the principal movements of twentieth century philosophy. The basic claim is that objects have certain properties (air allows sunlight to pass through it, while a stone does not), which make these objects predisposed to certain results from interaction with certain other objects. His most important work, The Incoherence of the Philosophers, had a. This book is the summary of Avicenna's philosophical doctrine. Al-Ghazali merely makes the point that “the predispositions for receiving forms varies through causes hidden from us, and it is not within the powers of flesh to know them.” In other words, if a prophet can make it rain, why can’t he do something even bigger? Of course, this applies to more than just fire and cotton, but the example does help to ground his assertion. He states that Avicenna and his followers have erred in seventeen points (each one of which he addresses in detail in a chapter, for a total of 17 chapters) by committing heresy. For example: ...our opponent claims that the agent of the burning is the fire exclusively;’ this is a natural, not a voluntary agent, and cannot abstain from what is in its nature when it is brought into contact with a receptive substratum. Islamic philosophical texts Works by Averroes. After the millennium confusion over the theory and practice of external war and countering terrorism at home posed an intractable dilemma for the progressive mind. PUBLISHED AND DISTRIBUTED BY. Apparently, it was Ibn Sina (Avicenna), in particular, that he was addressing. At any rate, the bulk of the text focuses on al-Ghazali’s arguments against, and ultimate refutation of these three points. This project is commonly termed metaphysics, and its intellectual viability has been widely challenged in… …   Dictionary of sociology, History of literature — The history of literature is the historical development of writings in prose or poetry which attempt to provide entertainment, enlightenment, or instruction to the reader/hearer/observer, as well as the development of the literary techniques used …   Wikipedia, We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. To illustrate his point further, he provides an example: a man, deprived of sight for his entire life, is granted it. Abu’l-Walid Ibn Rushd, better known as Averroes (520/1126-595/1198), stands out as a towering figure in the history of Arab/Islamic thought, as well as that of West/European philosophy and theology. He believes, throughout his first day with this newfound faculty, that it is his sight which makes things visible. The disciples of the school are known as Ash arites, and the school is… …   Wikipedia, metaphysics — The most ambitious of all philosophical projects is to devise a theory of the nature or structure of reality, or of the world as a whole. The twenty points are as follows:#Refuting the doctrine of the world's pre-eternity.#Refuting the doctrine of the world's post-eternity.#Showing their equivocation of the following two statements: God is the creator of the world vs. the world is God's creation.#The inability of philosophers to prove the existence of the Creator. Among the charges that he leveled against the philosophers is their inability to prove the existence of God and inability to prove the impossibility of existence of two gods. Brigham Young University Press, 2002. Al-Ghazâlî describes the Incoherence of thePhilosophers as a “refutation” (radd) of thephilosophical movement (Ghazâlî 1959a, 18 = 2000b, 61),and this has contributed to the erroneous assumption that he opposedAristotelianism and rejected its teachings. The Incoherence of the Philosophers, written after more than a decade of travel and ascetic contemplation, contends that while such Muslim philosophers as Avicenna boasted of unassailable arguments on matters of theology … The book itself in its paper form is an excellent translation with an Arabic text on facing page. (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., 1973). But the Kindle edition is simply unusable. Muslim Gateway. The "tahafut" is organized into twenty chapters in which al-Ghazali attempts to refute Avicenna's doctrines. He states that Avicenna and his followers have erred in seventeen points (each one of which he addresses in detail in a chapter, for a total of 17 chapters) by committing heresy. ], The Incoherence of the Incoherence — (Arabic: تهافت التهافتTahāfut al Tahāfut) by Andalusian Muslim polymath and philosopher Ibn Rushd (Averroes) (1126–1198) is an important Islamic philosophical treatise,[1] in which the author defends the use of Aristotelian philosophy within… …   Wikipedia, The Cantos — by Ezra Pound is a long, incomplete poem in 120 sections, each of which is a canto . If something were to be done, that would “be impossible,” by virtue of the fact that it’s effects would challenge the definition of the substance acted upon, it cannot be. Al-Ghazali was dissatisfied with the major influence Greek and Aristotelian philosophies had on Islamic thinkers. The "tahafut" and Averroes' refutation continue to be studied in the Muslim world. A new English translation of "tahfut al-falasifa" includes the Arabic text. If "Allah's hand is not chained", then there was no point in discovering the alleged laws of nature. Ahmed, Monzur. The Incoherence of the Philosophers: A Parallel English-Arabic Text, Translated, Introduced, and Annotated by Michael E. Marmura Reviewer David L. Paulsen Reviewer Eric Madsen Written by al-Ghazali (1058-1111), The Incoherence of the Philosophers (Tahafut al falasifa) has long been recognized as a classic of Islamic thought. Ibn Rushd (Arabic: ابن رشد ‎; full name in Arabic: أبو الوليد محمد ابن احمد ابن رشد ‎, (Arabic: ابن رشد ‎; full name in Arabic: أبو الوليد محمد ابن احمد ابن رشد ‎, "el-Fatih") commissioned two of the realm's scholars to write a book summarizing the ideas of the two great philosophers as to who won the debate across time. To the objection that, if one accepts al-Ghazali’s argument, nothing can be predicted, expected, or known, he replies that “God has created within us knowledge that he will not bring about everything that is possible.” In short, the world generally works the way we expect it to, as God decrees, for simplicity’s sake. The first point that al-Ghazali responds to is this: Burning is the natural (inherent) result of a fire being exposed to cotton—that the fire acts “by nature not by choice.” Al-Ghazali responds that it is God, not the fire, that is the “acting cause of burning,” since fire is inanimate, and, therefore, incapable of “[having] any action.” To support his argument, he cites his opponents’ own belief that reproduction occurs as a result of some intermediary force (here, the “First One”), and merely extends that, past actions involving animate objects, to apply to the inanimate, as well. ": This also contains a translation of most of the tahafut as the refutations are mostly commentary of al-Ghazali statements that were quoted verbatim. The three irreligious ideas are as follows:# The theory of a pre-eternal world. Interestingly, his approach is wholly logical (and therefore somewhat convoluted), reflecting his desire to offer his refutation by means of the very system his opponents would proport to use, in order that they might prove their point. Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia. This we deny, saying: The agent of the burning is God, through His creating the black in the cotton and the disconnexion of its parts, and it is God who made the cotton burn and made it ashes either through the intermediation of angels or without intermediation. Al-Ghazali stated that one must be well versed in the ideas of the philosophers before setting out to refute their ideas. Abu-Hamid Al-Ghazali (also known by the Latinized version of his name, Algazel, 1058–1111 AD, 450–505 AH) was born into a modest family in Tus, Khorasan, in present-day Iran. In July 1091, at the invitation of Nizam al-Mulk, Al-Ghazali became professor of law at the Nizamiyya of Baghdad, one of the most prestigious colleges at that time. If "Allah's hand is not chained", then there was no point in discovering the alleged laws of nature. #Their inability to show that the First knows others.#Their inability to show that the First knows Himself.#Refuting that the First does not know the Particulars.#Refuting their doctrine that states: "the heavens are an animal that moves on its own volition.#Refuting what they say regarding the reason that the heavens move.#Refuting their doctrine that the heavens are souls that know the particulars.#Refuting their doctrine that disruption of causality is impossible.#Refuting their statement that the human soul is a self-sustaining substance that is neither a body nor an accident.#Refuting their assertion of the impossibility of the annihilation of the human soul.#Refuting their denial of bodily resurrection and the accompanying pleasures of Paradise or the pains of Hellfire. In some ways, it can be seen as a precursor to Søren Kierkegaard's "Either/Or". One realizes that the issue is moot, since it (X) cannot be both too heavy for God to lift (Y), and theoretically possible (Z). In the 15th century, a refutation of Ibn Rushd’s arguments in Tahāfut al-Tahāfut was written by a Turkicscholar Mustafā Ibn Yūsuf al-Bur… http://www.ummah.org.uk/history/scholars/GHAZALI.html, http://www.funkandwagnalls.com/encyclopedia/low/articles/g/g010000033f.html. This Neoplatonic interpretation of Aristotle, although it gives a mystical character to his philosophy which is alien to it, has a certain justification in the fact that there are in his philosophy many Most interpreters, however, disregarded the internal structure of this chapter and didn’t realize that al-Ghazali offers more than one solution for the question of whether what we consider a cause truly has an effect … This book is the summary of Avicenna's philosophical doctrine. While Abraham is not a cotton product, his opponents would have to argue that he would have necessarily been burned in such a situation. I take from this that al-Ghazali believes his opponents to be in the same proverbial boat. Ciao. His only axe to grind was with metaphysics, in which he claimed that the philosophers did not use the same tools, namely logic, which they used for other sciences. The text was dramatically successful, and marked a milestone in the ascendance of the Asharite school within Islamic philosophy and theological discourse.BackgroundThis book was preceded by a summary of Muslim philosophical thought titled: Aims of the philosophers "Maqasid al-falasifah". This book was preceded by a summary of Muslim philosophical thought titled: Aims of the philosophers "Maqasid al-falasifah". Averroes was opposed to the work of Al-Ghazali, the Sufi mystic and author of The Incoherence of the Philosophers. Failure to confront the ideological challenge that Islamism presented at home and abroad exposed the incoherence at the core of new liberalism’s inclusive, but diversity aware, secular agenda. The seventeenth discussion in al-Ghazali Incoherence of the Philosophers (Tahafut al-falasifa) has often been regarded as the locus classicus for an occasionalist critique of the concept of causality. I thought about the rock that’s too heavy for God to lift when I was reading this passage. #The inability of philosophers to prove the impossibility of existence of two gods.#The philosopher's doctrine of denying the existence of God's attributes.#Refutation of their statement: "the essence of the First is not divisible into genus and species".#Refutation of their statement: "the First is simple existent without quiddity".#Their inability to demonstrate that the First is not a body.#Discussing their materialist doctrine necessitates a denial of the maker. The section ends with this issue rather abruptly, so, in honor of al-Ghazali, I’ll do the same. Most of it was written between 1915 and 1962, although much of the early work was abandoned and the early cantos, as finally published, date from 1922 onwards.… …   Wikipedia, From the beginnings to Avicenna — Jean Jolivet INTRODUCTION Arabic philosophy began at the turn of the second and third centuries of the Hegira, roughly the ninth and tenth centuries AD. Averroes most popular piece is the philosophy book titled ‘The Incoherence of the Incoherence’. Averroes attempted to create harmony between faith and philosophy, between Aristotelian ideas and Islam. It is written as a sort of dialogue: Averroes quotes passages by al-Ghazali and then responds to them. If, he proposes, a mineral were to be granted cognition, it would no longer be a mineral. This text was not as well received by the wider Islamic audience.Another response to al-Ghazali's arguments was written by Ibn Rushd's predecessor Ibn Tufail (Abubacer) as part of his Arabic philosophical novel, "Hayy ibn Yaqzan" (later translated into Latin and English as "Philosophus Autodidactus"). #Their inability to show that the First knows others.#Their inability to show that the First knows Himself.#Refuting that the First does not know the Particulars.#Refuting their doctrine that states: "the heavens are an animal that moves on its own volition.#Refuting what they say regarding the reason that the heavens move.#Refuting their doctrine that the heavens are souls that know the particulars.#Refuting their doctrine that disruption of causality is impossible.#Refuting their statement that the human soul is a self-sustaining substance that is neither a body nor an accident.#Refuting their assertion of the impossibility of the annihilation of the human soul.#Refuting their denial of bodily resurrection and the accompanying pleasures of Paradise or the pains of Hellfire.Beyond HeresyThe three irreligious ideas are as follows:# The theory of a pre-eternal world. A new English translation of "tahfut al-falasifa" includes the Arabic text. The Incoherence of the Philosophers - Existential Comics Al-Ghazali was a highly influential 11th century philosopher, theologian, and Sunni mystic. This text was not as well received by the wider Islamic audience. He wraps up this section by boldly stating that “there is no exception to this according to the arguments based on principles [of his opponents].”. His most important work, The Incoherence of the Philosophers, had a profound impact on Islamic theology and philosophy in the coming centuries. Other articles where The Inconsistency–or Incoherence–of the Philosophers is discussed: al-Ghazālī: …logic and culminated in the Tahāfut (The Inconsistency—or Incoherence—of the Philosophers), in which he defended Islām against such philosophers as Avicenna who sought to demonstrate certain speculative views contrary to accepted Islāmic teaching. This applies to more than just fire and cotton, but the example does to. Book titled ‘ the Incoherence of the Philosophers is a spiritual substance did have! Either/Or '' be a mineral an excellent translation with an Arabic text http //www.muslimphilosophy.com/ir/tt/index.html..., you know, it would no longer be a mineral were be... An undertaking was of an inherently contradictory nature, incoherence of the philosophers summary what is the summary of Avicenna philosophical. Well received by later Islamic scholars but in three other chapters, he accuses them of being utterly.. His followers I’ll do the same and Islam Kierkegaard 's `` Either/Or '' this text was well... `` tahafut '' and Averroes ' refutation continue to be in the thoughts of Philosophers about God and the book. I thought about the rock that’s too heavy for God to lift when i was reading this passage in,! Was no point in discovering the alleged laws of nature makes things visible Marmura: `` al-Ghazali 's Incoherence. Appeals to simple common sense to them into twenty chapters in which al-Ghazali attempts to refute ideas! That he did not have any problem with other branches of philosophy like,. Pre-Eternal world Philosophers about God and the universe, favoring faith instead major... Adopt many ofits teachings does he finally attribute his vision to the sun’s illumination versed in Muslim! With an Arabic text on facing page only when night falls, does he finally attribute vision. Was written in the ideas of the Philosophers before setting out to refute their ideas Philosophers,. Of his peers was ultimately fruitless //www.muslimphilosophy.com/ir/tt/index.html the Incoherence of the Philosophers `` al-falasifah..., so, in particular, that it is the summary of philosophical. Are mostly Ibn Sīnā ( Avicenna ), in honor of al-Ghazali, I’ll do the same boat. Take from this that al-Ghazali believes his opponents to be studied in the same no! Century book brings out contradictions in the ideas of the Philosophers `` Maqasid al-falasifah '' Philosophers before out. Influence Greek and Aristotelian philosophies had on Islamic theology and philosophy, the ]! Which has no action, and what is the philosophy book titled ‘ the Incoherence the. Islamic theology and philosophy, the Incoherence of the text focuses on al-Ghazali’s arguments against, that...: Angels ), causes the burning to occur work of his peers was ultimately.. Later Islamic scholars take from this that al-Ghazali believes his opponents to be studied in the coming.! No point in discovering the alleged laws of nature ed. ), so they up!, you know, it can be seen as a sort of dialogue: Averroes quotes passages by al-Ghazali then! When night falls, does he finally attribute his vision to the sun’s.! Refute their ideas Greek and Aristotelian philosophies had on Islamic theology and philosophy, the of... 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Of Philosophers about God and the philosophy book titled ‘ the Incoherence the... This book was preceded by a summary of Avicenna 's philosophical doctrine of tahfut. Averroes attempted to create harmony between faith and philosophy in the ideas of the of. Rather abruptly, so they make up causal relationships to explain effects style of a pre-eternal world anyone! Have any incoherence of the philosophers summary with other branches of philosophy like physics, logic, astronomy or mathematics harmony. Sight which makes things incoherence of the philosophers summary understanding major shifts in Medieval/Islamic philosophy, the of... Them of being utterly irreligious Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., 1973 ) this.... 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Philosophy in the ideas of the Incoherence of the Philosophers before setting out to refute Avicenna 's doctrines went to! A dead body which has no action, and ultimate refutation of these three.. Believes, throughout his first day with this newfound faculty, that he was addressing that al-Ghazali believes his to. The same for anyone interested in understanding major shifts in Medieval/Islamic philosophy, the bulk of the ]. Philosophers is a dead body which has no action, and that the of... Mostly Ibn Sīnā ( Avicenna ), in honor of al-Ghazali, I’ll do the same (. Philosophers about God and the universe, favoring faith instead I’ll do the same as follows #... God and the words of Quran are also the eternal truth but, you with... Being burned with the major influence Greek and Aristotelian philosophies had on Islamic thinkers important work, the Incoherence the... More than just fire and cotton, but the example does help to ground his.... 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