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Coherence of the Incoherence

Between Al-Ghazali and Ibn Rushd on Nature and the Cosmos


The debate recorded in al-Ghazālī’s Incoherence of the Philosophers, and Ibn Rushd’s response in Incoherence of the Incoherence, is one of the most philosophically interesting events in the history of classical Islamic thought. Here, the cutting edge of Ghazālī’s searching critique meets the depth of Ibn Rushd’s philosophical insight in a clash over the innovative synthesis of Aristotelian and Neo-Platonic thought represented chiefly by Ibn Sīnā. This critical commentary closely analyses and evaluates the arguments deployed by all three parties in the debate, wherein are raised questions about the origin of the universe and the reality of time, possibility, causality, and nature. Where opportunities arise, it actively engages in the discussion by suggesting alternative arguments and philosophical directions. It goes beyond the cliché construal of the Incoherence debate as simply a conflict between faith and reason, exposing it as a genuinely philosophical enterprise and a potential source of fresh perspectives on contemporary discussions in metaphysics and analytic theology.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-4497-2
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Publication Status: In Print
Publication Date: Aug 23,2023
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 391
Languages: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4497-2
$114.95
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The debate recorded in al-Ghazālī’s Incoherence of the Philosophers, and Ibn Rushd’s response in Incoherence of the Incoherence, is one of the most philosophically interesting events in the history of classical Islamic thought. Here, the cutting edge of Ghazālī’s searching critique meets the depth of Ibn Rushd’s philosophical insight in a clash over the innovative synthesis of Aristotelian and Neo-Platonic thought represented chiefly by Ibn Sīnā. This critical commentary closely analyses and evaluates the arguments deployed by all three parties in the debate, wherein are raised questions about the origin of the universe and the reality of time, possibility, causality, and nature. Where opportunities arise, it actively engages in the discussion by suggesting alternative arguments and philosophical directions. It goes beyond the cliché construal of the Incoherence debate as simply a conflict between faith and reason, exposing it as a genuinely philosophical enterprise and a potential source of fresh perspectives on contemporary discussions in metaphysics and analytic theology.

 

Anyone interested in the al-Ghazali/Ibn Rushd confrontation will find this book indispensable. Balanced, analytical and well-argued throughout, Moad has made an important contribution to the area. 

 Oliver Leaman, Professor of Philosophy, University of Kentucky 

The debate recorded in al-Ghazālī’s Incoherence of the Philosophers, and Ibn Rushd’s response in Incoherence of the Incoherence, is one of the most philosophically interesting events in the history of classical Islamic thought. Here, the cutting edge of Ghazālī’s searching critique meets the depth of Ibn Rushd’s philosophical insight in a clash over the innovative synthesis of Aristotelian and Neo-Platonic thought represented chiefly by Ibn Sīnā. This critical commentary closely analyses and evaluates the arguments deployed by all three parties in the debate, wherein are raised questions about the origin of the universe and the reality of time, possibility, causality, and nature. Where opportunities arise, it actively engages in the discussion by suggesting alternative arguments and philosophical directions. It goes beyond the cliché construal of the Incoherence debate as simply a conflict between faith and reason, exposing it as a genuinely philosophical enterprise and a potential source of fresh perspectives on contemporary discussions in metaphysics and analytic theology.

 

Anyone interested in the al-Ghazali/Ibn Rushd confrontation will find this book indispensable. Balanced, analytical and well-argued throughout, Moad has made an important contribution to the area. 

 Oliver Leaman, Professor of Philosophy, University of Kentucky 

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ContributorBiography

EdwardMoad

Edward Moad is Professor of Philosophy at Qatar University and has published widely in Islamic Philosophy, Metaphysics, and Comparative Moral Epistemology.

Table of Contents (vii)
Acknowledgments (xi)
Introduction (xiii)
Chapter One. Introductions (1)
   Section 1.1. Taqlīd of the posers (3)
   Section 1.2. Ghazālī’s method and parameters (17)
   Section 1.3. An ‘imperfect refutation’ (24)
   Section 1.4. Ibn Rushd’s rationale, disclaimers, and methods (30)
Discussion 1
Chapter Two. Basic cosmological concepts (43)
   Section 2.1. Agents and causes (44)
   Section 2.2. First proof of cosmic pre-eternity: Possibilities and eternities (50)
Chapter Three. Second proof of cosmic pre-eternity (59)
   Section 3.1. Time and eternity in the second proof (60)
   Section 3.2. Time, eternity, and the wahm (68)
   Section 3.3. A ‘naïve’ philosophical position (72)
Chapter Four. Imaging creation: Ghazālī’s first objection to the first proof (79)
   Section 4.1. Ibn Rushd vs. Ghazālī on ‘eternal will’ (82)
   Section 4.2. The efficient cause of a no-fault divorce (84)
   Section 4.3. The has-been that could be forever (92)
   Section 4.4. On Divine Will and blind dates (108)
   Section 4.5. Under a different heaven (119)
   Section 4.6. Roundabout (130)
Chapter Five. Time, space, and the imagination (133)
   Section 5.1. Two models of time (134)
   Section 5.2. Space-time analogy (140)
   Section 5.3. The direction of time (144)
   Section 5.4. Some interesting implications (147)
   Section 5.5. Time and possible worlds (153)
Chapter Six. The ontological argument for cosmic pre-eternity (163)
   Section 6.1. Third proof of cosmic pre-eternity (163)
   Section 6.2. Possibility as potency (168)
   Section 6.3. Possibility in itself (172)
   Section 6.4. Equivocating between possibilities (176)
Chapter Seven. The matter of possibility (183)
   Section 7.1. Fourth proof of cosmic pre-eternity (184)
   Section 7.2. Possibility and intellect (189)
   Section 7.3. Argument from impossibility and accidents (192)
   Section 7.4. Argument from the possibility of souls (198)
Discussion 2
Chapter Eight. Cosmic post-eternity (205)
   Section 8.1. Revisiting the eternal past (208)
   Section 8.2. The identity of indiscernible eternal recurrences (214)
   Section 8.3. Ibn Rushd’s faith-based science (215)
   Section 8.4. The substance of annihilation (218)
Discussion 3
Chapter Nine. The act and the agent (227)
   Section 9.1. The act: a stirring analogy (or: the substance of annihilation, part 2) (228)
   Section 9.2. The agent: semantics and responsibility (236)
Discussion 17
Chapter Ten. The nature of nature (247)
   Section 10.1. Miracles, resurrection, and natural science (248)
   Section 10.2. Necessity, causation, and agency (254)
   Section 10.3. Induction (259)
   Section 10.4. Beyond naturalism (264)
   Section 10.5. Nature, necessity, and the conditions of being (270)
Chapter Eleven. Two approaches (281)
   Section 11.1. The first approach (282)
   Section 11.2. The second approach (290)
   Section 11.3. Mission impossible (298)
   Section 11.4. Multiple realizability (304)
Discussion 3
Chapter Twelve. Between the agent and the act (313)
   Section 12.1. One from one (315)
   Section 12.2. Emanation and its discontents (318)
   Section 12.3. The true one and its possibility (324)
   Section 12.4. The true one and its knowledge (332)
   Section 12.5. Some plausible premises (336)
Conclusion (345)
Bibliography (355)
Index (363)

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