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Ghazali and Demonstrative Science
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Ghazali and Demonstrative Science
Michael E. Marmura
University of Toronto


1. Texts frequently referred to in the notes will be abbreviated as follows:


Ibn Sīnā, Al-Shifāɔ; Logic V.; Demonstration, ed. A. E. Affifi, revised by I. Madkur (Cairo, 1956).


Al-Ghazāli, Al-Iqlisād Fi-l-Ictiqād (Cairo: no date).


Ibn Sīnā, Al-Shifāɔ: al-Ilāhlyāt (Metaphysics), ed. C. C. Anawati, S. Dunya, and S. Zayd, revised by I. Madkur (2 vols.; Cairo, 1960).


Al-Ghazāli, Micyār al-cIlm, ed. S. Dunya (Cairo, 1961).


Al-Ghazālī, Tahāfut al-Falāsifa, ed. M. Bouyges (Beirut, 1927).


Ibn Rushd (Averroes), Tahāfut al-Tahāfut, ed. M. Bouyges, Beirut, 1930).

2. TF., pp. 15-17.

3. TT., p. 522.

4. Demonstration, pp. 299, 319-320.

5. Ibid. Metaphysics, II, pp. 276-278; MI., p. 293. This is a metaphysical condition that must be understood in terms of Avicenna's theory that every existent, other than God, is in its own essence only possible, but necessary through the essence of another (actual) existent. Avicenna also emphasizes the point that the efficient cause is the cause for making the potential actual, but is not the cause of a thing's non-actual existence, its potentiality. Demonstration, p. 297; Metaphysics, II, 260.

6. Demonstration, p. 298.

7. Ibid., p. 96; Metaphysics, I, 180.

8. Demonstration, pp. 322-324.

9. Ibid., pp. 181, 321.

10. Ibid., pp. 322-323.

11. Metaphysics, II, 257.

12. Demonstration, p. 140.

13. Metaphysics, II, 271-272.

14. Metaphysics, I, 166-167.

15. Metaphysics, II, 259.

16. Metaphysics, I, 164-169; Metaphysics, II, 264 ff.

17. TF., pp. 96-97, 214-215, 221-222, et passim.

18. Ibid., p. 271 ff; Iqtisād, p. 111.

19. See note 17.

20. Thus Ghazali writes: "All temporal things, whether substances or accidents, those events that occur in both the animate and the inanimate, come into existence through the power of God, the Exalted. He alone creates them ex nihilo (ikhtirācan). No created thing comes into existence through another; rather, all come into existence through divine power." Iqtiṣād, p. 47.

In answer to the objection that if human acts are the direct creation of God, then there would be no difference between involuntary acts such as spasmodic movements and the deliberate acts, al-Ashcarī, and following him Ghazali, answer that in the case of the first type of act, the act is created without the qudra whereas in the case of the second type, it is created with this qudra. The difference between these two types of acts is something we actually experience. Ghazali adds that the knowledge of this difference is likewise created in us by God. Al-Ashcarī, Kitāb al-Lumac (The Theology of al-Ashcarī, ed. and trans. R. J. McCarthy, Beirut, 1953), pp. 41-42 (in Arabic text), pp. 59-60 (in English translation); TF, pp. 295-296.

The doctrine of the created qudra was an attempt to answer the problem of human responsibility, reward and punishment. Critics of Ashcarism argued that it evades the problem. See, for example, Averroes, Kitāh al-Kashf can Manāhij al-Adilla, ed., M. J. Muller, in Philosophie und Theologies von Averroes (Munich, 1859), p. 105. See also Averroes' criticism of the Ashcarite definition of act, TT, p. 158.

21. TF, pp. 37, 39-41.

22. Ibid., pp. 26-31.

23. Ibid., pp. 277-278. Some English translations give a different interpretation of the syntax and meaning of the second key sentence below that begins : "But in the case of two things. . . ." See S. A. Kamali's translation of al-Ghazālī's Tahāfut al-Falāsifa (Lahore, 1957), p. 185, and S. Van Den Bergh's, Averroes' Incoherence of the Incoherence (London, 1954), p. 316. Kamali translates kullu shayɔ>ayn laysa hādhā dhāka wa lā dhāka hādhā as follows: "Take any two things. This is not That; nor can That be This." Van Den...