•  9
    Islamic Wittgensteinian Fideism?
    European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 18 (2). 2022.
    This paper examines recent deployments of Wittgenstein’s thought, by Mustafa (2018) and Asad (2020), in defense of the Islamic “traditionalism” of Ibn Taymiyyah and the Hanbali school. I will briefly summarize the key features of Wittgenstein’s thought crucial to this, and then examine their ramifications. I argue that Wittgenstein’s position actually undermines any claim to interpretive authority, whether of the “rationalist” or salafi “traditionalist” sort. Secondly, the approach to religious …Read more
  •  87
    Moral Dilemmas
    In Vibha Chaturvedi & Pragati Sahni (eds.), Understanding Ethics. pp. 304-314. 2013.
  •  377
    The object of this paper is not arguments from contingency in general, but specifically Aquinas’s ‘Third Way’ as it appears in his Summa Theologica. I will raise three objections to this argument. First, the argument depends on the premise, that if everything were contingent, then there would have been a time during which nothing exists, but this is not self-evident and no argument is given for it here. Secondly, Aquinas tells us that a key premise in this argument, that an infinite order of t…Read more
  •  6182
    The Jinn and the Shayatin
    In Benjamin McCraw & Robert Arp (eds.), Philosophical Approaches to Demonology. pp. 137-155. 2017.
    If by “demon” one understands an evil occult being, then its equivalent in the Islamic narrative is the intersection of the category jinn with that of the shayātīn: a demon is a shaytān from among the jinn. The literature in the Islamic tradition on these subjects is vast. In what follows, we will select some key elements from it to provide a brief summary: first on the nature of the jinn, their nature, and their relationship to God and human beings; second, on the origin, nature, and role of …Read more
  •  268
    Ibn Khaldun and Occasionalism
    In Nazif Muhtaroglu (ed.), Occasionalism Revisited. pp. 61-82. 2017.
    Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) is said to be the first scholar to make history and society the direct objects of a systematic science. This paper will examine the role of occasionalism in his thought. This question is interesting because a perennial objection to occasionalism has been that it denies any real natural order, and therefore precludes the possibility of any systematic natural science. If Ibn Khaldun was an occasionalist, then it would mean that one of the earliest pioneers in attempting …Read more
  •  69
    Occasionalism and Contemporary Analyses of Causation
    Philosophy and Theology 30 (2): 361-381. 2018.
    This paper will survey the most prominent contemporary analyses of causation, and evaluate their compatibility, or otherwise, with the doctrine of Occasionalism, with the ultimate aim of formulating an occasionalist analysis of causation. Though reductive analyses of causation are incompatible with Occasionalism, it seems that the denial of reductionism is as well. I will suggest a solution to the problem, involving an analysis of causation as the relation of extensional identity, between God’s …Read more
  •  27
    General principles and moral judgment
    Southwest Philosophy Review 18 (2): 45-53. 2002.
  •  110
    Al-Ghazali’s Occasionalism and the Natures of Creatures
    International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 58 (2). 2005.
    Occasionalism is the doctrine that God is the sole immediate cause of all events, to the exclusion of any causal participation on the part of creatures. While this doctrine clearly has interesting implications with regard to causation and the philosophy of natural science, few have noticed that it also seems to entail, not only that creatures have no causal power whatsoever, but that they are completely devoid of intrinsic natures, conceived as intrinsic dispositional properties. In this paper…Read more
  •  81
    Reasons, resultance and moral particularism
    Philosophical Quarterly 57 (226): 112-116. 2007.
    According to Jonathan Dancy's moral particularism, the way in which a given moral reason functions as a reason for or against an action can vary from case to case. Dancy also asserts that reasons are resultance bases. But a reason why something ought to be done is that in virtue of which it is something that ought to be done. If the function of a reason can vary, then resultance bases cannot be reasons. Perhaps the particularist might conceive a reason not as a resultance base, but as a specific…Read more
  •  318
    A path to the Oasis: Sharī‘ah and reason in Islamic moral epistemology
    International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 62 (3). 2007.
    I propose a framework for comparative Islamic—Western ethics in which the Islamic categories "Islam, Iman," and "Ihsan" are juxtaposed with the concepts of obligation, value, and virtue, respectively. I argue that "shari'a" refers to both the obligation component and the entire structure of the Islamic ethic; suggesting a suspension of the understanding of "shari'a" as simply Islamic "law," and an alternative understanding of "usul al-fiqh" as a moral epistemology of obligation. I will test this…Read more
  •  49
    Between Divine Simplicity and the Eternity of the World
    Philosophy and Theology 27 (1): 55-73. 2015.
    In the Incoherence of the Philosophers, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali leveled a critique against twenty propositions of the Muslim peripatetic philosophers, represented chiefly by al-Farabi and Ibn Sina. In the Fourth Discussion of this work, he rejects their claim to having proven the existence of God. The proof to which he objects is none other than the famous ‘argument from contingency.’ So why did the eminent theologian of Islamic orthodoxy reject an argument for God’s existence that ultimately becam…Read more
  •  69
    Mythological language is sometimes understood as a way of representing, by concrete imagery, more abstract notions. In this paper, we will pose some metaphysical questions about the possibility of such a representation. These questions will serve to motivate a brief tour of Mishkāt al-Anwār (Niche of Lights)—Abu Hamid al-Ghazali’s commentary on the famous ayat al-nur (“verse of light”) of the Qur’an—wherein is discussed, among other things, how symbolic imagery is possible, and “the respect in w…Read more
  •  467
    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 pro…Read more
  •  90
    Michael Dummett, in ‘Truth,’ mounted an objection to the redundancy theory of truth on the grounds that it neglects to account for the normative features he claimed are part of the concept of truth. Paul Horwich, in ‘The Minimalist Conception of Truth’, notes that the same objection could be leveled against minimalism. He defends minimalism against Dummett’s objection by offering a sketch of an instrumental account of the desirability of truth that is compatible with the minimalist thesis. In th…Read more
  • Hindu Ethics on the Moral Question of Abortion
    Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 14 (4): 149-150. 2004.
  •  86
    In the Incoherence of the Philosophers, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali raised objections against the doctrine of the ‘philosophers’ on 20 specific points. In the first, and longest discussion, he examines and rebuts four of their proofs of the pre-eternity of the world—that is, that the universe as a whole had no beginning but extends perpetually into the past. Al-Ghazali rejects that doctrine. But his own position on the issue does not become clear until he discusses the philosophers’ ‘second proof.’ In …Read more
  •  37
    Mulla Sadra by Ibrahim Kalin (review)
    Philosophy East and West 68 (2): 1-3. 2018.
    This introduction to the life and thought of Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Yahya Qawami al-Shirazi, is part of the Makers of Islamic Civilization series, conceived by the Oxford Centre for Islamic studies, edited by Farhan Nizami, and published by Oxford University Press. The self-described aim of the series is to provide a set of introductory texts on outstanding figures in the history of Islamic civilization. This volume represents an important contribution to the literature on a neglected period o…Read more
  •  132
    Robert Adams characterizes actualism regarding possible worlds as «the view that if there are any true statements in which there are said to be nonactual possible worlds, they must be reducible to statements in which the only things there are said to be are things which there are in the actual world, and which are not identical with nonactual possibles.» In this paper, I will briefly explain actualism about possible worlds, showing that an essential pillar of the theory is the claim that truth i…Read more