Category Archives: Philosophy

What on Earth is Epistemicide?

Epistemicide: n.

1. “The killing of other knowledge systems.” (cf. ‘Decolonization of knowledge, epitemecide, participatory research and higher education’ by Hall and Tandon (2017)).

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Praxeology and the Trusteeship Paradigm: Abdurrahman Taha’s Ethics

“The point behind singling out this project as a sample of contemporary Islamic philosophy is twofold. First, a number of contemporary scholars, Muslim and non-Muslim, claim that Islamic scholarship never developed a clear theory of ethics, though the sharia worldview is ethical in its entirety. A clear theory of ethics, rationally developed, is lacking in Islamic scholarship, however heavy is the ethical tone in the Quranic text. Scholars who put forward such a claim include Majid Fakhry, Fazlur Rahman, Mohamed Arkoun and Mohamed Abed Aljabri. Two brief notes can be developed as arguments against such a claim: one, there are various ways and disciplines that can embrace ethical teachings, and the first piece makes this point (Islamic philosophy I); two, ethical theories as understood in modern times is a new discipline that has developed after various socio-political and especially philosophical processes in Europe; ethical theories in the modern sense claim to replace classical religions and their rituals; they are part of the rationalization and individualization process of classical religious teachings; so, historically speaking, theories of ethics are a modern product, and the project to be referred to (Abderrahmane´s) is part of modern (Islamic) philosophy.

Second, philosophy has broadly been conceived of as a rational practice; reason is its norm. Not all philosophical traditions would agree on this, but seemingly none has gone so far as to dominantly establish another norm and to make it the strong equivalent, or opponent, of reason in this regard. George Hourani says that Greek and Islamic philosophies might be the two traditions that have discussed ethics most in pre-modern times, but such discussions seem to be marginal, compared to the place of reason within them. In both, ethics seem to come second, as a virtue to have, or a discipline among others, or something spoken about, instead of being the essence of the process of thinking, of philosophizing, or the heart of the matter. Still, Islamic philosophy, which is reconciliatory between reason and revelation, may be said to have prioritized ethics, that is why there is still a discussion about whether there is an Islamic philosophy or not. It has not prioritized reason, over revelation, nor has it elevated revelation and cancelled reason; it has often tried to reconcile them. That is why figures like Ibn Roshd and al-Ghazali seem to be pulled apart by different views.

Abderrahmane´s ethical theory, within the trusteeship paradigm he tries to re-build, brings anew this issue of ethics in Islamic philosophy. Mohamed Iqbal, who might be considered the first modern Muslim philosopher of this age (of modernity), only spoke of ethics in the Quran. His compatriot Fazlur Rahman pushed further the project, from a hermeneutical perspective. Other modern and contemporary projects also speak of ethics, without making of it their groundbreaking project (see Islamic Philosophy II). Abderrahmane appears to be so far the only leading philosopher of ethics in the Islamic tradition in particular, and modern philosophy in general. That is why he is singled out here as a sample of contemporary (Islamic) philosophy that sets ethics as the norms of philosophical practice, instead of reason. (I am putting “Islamic” between brackets because he heavily engages with modern Western philosophy in his construction of “trusteeship paradigm.”) Abderrahmane´s trusteeship paradigm modernizes a classical sharia paradigm, but that does not make it the only paradigm that claims links to the tradition.”

By Mohammed Hashas, LUISS University of Rome LEARN MORE >

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Reading as a Philosopher

“But I had a problem. I did not know how to read philosophy. I did not know how to connect reasons to conclusions, track changes in voice, decipher nuance, evaluate arguments, or use the text to critique my own views. I knew how to read so as to extract information that I might be asked to regurgitate at some later point, but I didn’t know how to read as philosophers read… What follows is a top 10 list of the things I wish I had known when I started reading philosophy.”

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Why Materialism Fails

“Philosopher, Jay Richards, defines materialism, discusses how it has impacted us, explains why it shouldn’t be confused with science, and analyzes why it ultimately fails as an explanation…” (SOURCE: From the blub on the associated YouTube channel)

Jay Richards, PhD, is an Analyic philosopher and the Assistant Professor at The Catholic University of America.

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The Non-Affiliated, Civic, Secular-Modern Deen of Philosophical Liberalism

“Why are we surprised our children become secular-minded after a secular education?” (See 0:27:54)

And so begins Daniel Haqiqatjou, Director of Religion and Scientism for the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research, in his lecture, ‘Decoding the Matrix: Restructuring Muslim Thought for the Modern World’.

“Part of your success as a… student in general in the college system is your ability to internalise certain … conceptual schemes… in the process of analysis [of] different texts… so for example, Islamic studies – as Islam is studied in Western nations, we’re assuming a certain conceptual language and we’re asking… ‘what is Islam?’ ‘what is Islamic?’ ‘how much does Islam respect minority rights?’ ‘how much does Islam respect women rights?’ ‘to what extent does Islam respect freedom, equality, and democracy?’… In asking those questions you’re deploying certain concepts – namely, what is a minority? What is freedom? What is democracy? What is power? What is authority? What is equality? These are the terms that any graduate student will understand intuitively. Those questions, however, are never in question. What’s in question is Islam. What’s in question is the Islamic conceptual universe…

And so my recommendation… is that we need to turn the tables in a sense, that we need to assume, as Muslims devotionally, we need to assume the Qur’anic conceptual landscape and interrogate the modern structures and the modern conceptual landscape in those terms… if we do that and have that kind of prioritisation in mind and exercise a little bit of skepticism and critique, that is going to in shaa Allah help us to live in the modern world succesfully, constructively and peacefully.” (See 0:44:08)

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The Case for Allah’s Existence in the Quran and Sunnah

An Excellent article by Justin Parrott:

In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful

Knowledge of God’s existence is often taken for granted by believers. The authentic religious experience—affirmed again and again in a Muslim’s daily life—makes faith in God feel so natural as to be assumed. But belief in God and the quest for existential truth is not an easy prospect for many people, especially in a social environment in which faith is derided as superstition, wishful thinking, or even as a dangerous fantasy.

In the Islamic tradition, the case for God’s existence is solid in terms of its rational foundations as well as the purpose, meaning, comfort, and guidance that it gives to our lives. The Quran inspires conviction by appealing to the aspects of the inner life of human beings, namely, to the heart and the mind. Intuition and experience work in tandem with logic and reason to arrive at a state of certainty in faith.

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