Tag Archives: ethics

Logic is Not the Truth

Don’t religiously follow the dictates of logic (like a blind faith) because we have more sense than that. Be more reason-able.

Look at the example below.

The statement below is false.
The statement above is true.

Each sentence by themselves appear plausible and true-sounding. Each is logical by themselves. But next to each other suddenly we encounter a paradox.

Paradox definition:

  • a seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true.

    SOURCE

  • a statement or proposition which, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems logically unacceptable or self-contradictory.

    SOURCE

Dictionaries sometimes give the ‘Liar paradox’ as an example of a paradox (albeit of the second definition variety). Indeed, this paradox was something that hounded the Ancient Greeks a long time ago – and it’s original form was known as the ‘Epimenides Paradox’. What is it? Much like the example above, it takes the form of something like this:

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Thinking Morbidly or Thinking Morgudly?

Morbid

Characterized by or appealing to an abnormal and unhealthy interest in disturbing and unpleasant subjects, esp. death and disease.

Adjective

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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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Reforming Modernity: the Project of Abdurrahman Taha

Reforming Modernity is a sweeping intellectual history and philosophical reflection built around the work of the Morocco-based philosopher Abdurrahman Taha, one of the most significant philosophers in the Islamic world since the colonial era. Wael B. Hallaq contends that Taha is at the forefront of forging a new, non-Western-centric philosophical tradition. He explores how Taha’s philosophical project sheds light on recent intellectual currents in the Islamic world and puts forth a formidable critique of Western and Islamic modernities. Hallaq argues that Taha’s project departs from-but leaves behind-the epistemological grounds in which most modern Muslim intellectuals have anchored their programs. Taha systematically rejects the modes of thought that have dominated the Muslim intellectual scene since the beginning of the twentieth century-nationalism, Marxism, secularism, political Islamism, and liberalism. Instead, he provides alternative ways of thinking, forcefully and virtuosically developing an ethical system with a view toward reforming existing modernities. Hallaq analyzes the ethical thread that runs throughout Taha’s oeuvre, illuminating how Taha weaves it into a discursive engagement with the central questions that plague modernity in both the West and the Muslim world. The first introduction to Taha’s ethical philosophy for Western audiences, Reforming Modernity presents his complex thought in an accessible way while engaging with it critically. Hallaq’s conversation with Taha’s work both proffers a cogent critique of modernity and points toward answers for its endemic and seemingly insoluble problems.”

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Identity Politics

who-are-you

When reading Adam Deen’s post on ‘Muslim-Tribalism‘, which I enjoyed – and felt there was much truth to what was said – it immediately reminded me of two things:

1.

There was a brief extract about ‘Identity Politics’ in Tariq Ramadan’s ‘Islam, the West and the Challenges of Modernity’ (2001), and I’d like to quote it here and add my own thought-additions in square brackets:

“The West which we [Muslims – but also possibly others as well] are still confusing with the universe of Christianity [good point – but this point might deserve its own post to unpack], finds no favour in the statements of some Muslim theologians and thinkers [and indeed with some Muslims, generally] who assert their Muslim identity in opposition to the United States and Europe. They are Muslims against the West, and all their reflection is fed by this cast of mind. Continue reading

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The Last Sermon of the Prophet

the-last-sermon

Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) delivered his last sermon (Khutbah) on the ninth of Dhul Hijjah (12th and last month of the Islamic year), 10 years after Hijrah (migration from Makkah to Madinah) in the Uranah Valley of mount Arafat. His words were quite clear and concise and were directed to the entire human race:

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From Humanism to Nihilism: The Eclipse of Secular Ethics (Truth 3 of 5)

eclipse

 

” ‘The question is no longer as Dostoyevsky put it “can civilized man believe?” Rather: can unbelieving man be civilized?’ Philip Rieff

In order to deepen our understanding of the place of Islam in the contemporary world, it is useful to contrast Islamic and secular ethics. Continue reading

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