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100 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY Studies in Muslim Philosophy. By M. Saeed Sheikh. (Lahore, Pakistan: Ashraf Press, 1969. Pp. xii + 248. Rs. 12.50) Professor Sheikh's second edition of his book Studies in Muslim Philosophy contains fewer changes than the first edition which appeared in 1962. The changes are primarily procedural in that this edition incorporated the footnotes in the main text instead of being appended at the end of the text. Also there is an up-dated comprehensive bibliography, one that might be of help to the interested reader who may want to pursue further topics in Islamic Philosophy. Sheikh's book contains thirteen chapters. But actually there are two main divisions to the book. In the first division, he presents a concise, though lucid, account of four main philosophical movements of the formative years of the Islamic medieval period. These movements are : Mu'tazilism, Ash'arism, Sulism, and the lkhwan al-Sa/& In the second division one finds a detailed account of nine main Islamic philosophers during the Islamic medieval period. The nine philosophers are: al-Kindi (803--c.873), al-R~zi (8647-924), al-Ffirfibi (870-950), Ibn S~n~ (980-1037), al-GhazfiH (1058-1111), Ibn Bfijjah (11061138 ), Ibn Tufayl (11107-1185), Ibn Rushd (1126-1198), and Ibn KhaldOn (1332-1406). In order to indicate the significance of this book, I will deal succinctly with the philosophic significance of Mu'tazilism and al-Ghaz~li. One of the fundamental issues which occupied the Mu'tazilites was the problem of free will versus determinism. The Mu'tazilites, advocates of the free will doctrine, rejected the deterministic perspective of the orthodox Muslim theologians (i. e., the sunnis). The Mu'tazilites contended that one is responsible only for those acts which stem from the inward domain of volition; and for those acts which are not within one's control, one is not to be held responsible for his actions. Thus, with respect to the metaphysical issue of free will versus determinism, one encounters in the early development of the intellectual history of Islam a school of thought that is similar to some of the West. I have in mind here the Roman Stoics, who attempted a reconciliation of freedom with determinism. Epictetus, for instance, contended that acts that are in our power are done freely, and thus one is to be held responsible for the consequences of his actions; however, those acts that lie outside one's power are acts over which one has no control, and consequently one is not to be held responsible for the consequences of his actions (see The Manual of Epictetus, I). In addition to this metaphysical problem, the Mu'azilites focused their attention on two main issues: divine justice (al-adl) and divine unity (al-tawh[d).With respect to the first issue, the Mu'tazilites subsumed the concept of God under that of human justice, thus making morality independent of religion as well as emphasizing that moral judgments are "apprehended by and distinguished through the faculty of reasoning" (p. 15). With respect to the latter issue, the Mu'tazilites, in order to safeguard the unity of God, rejected the view of the orthodox Muslim theologians that GOd possesses any attributes that are distinct from his essence (cf. pp. 9-15). In his chapter on al-Ghaz~li (pp. 125-173), Professor Sheikh indicates at length the philosophical thoughts of al-Gha~li as well as his influence on western philosophers. In his critical work Tah~lut al-Fatasilah ("The Incoherence of the Philosophers"), al-Ghaz~li demonstrates his philosophical acumen by launching a severe attack against Greek philosophy , as well as against the Muslim followers of the Peripatetic tradition. In the last section of Tahalut, al-Ghaz,~li embarked, among other things, on the task of refuting those philosophers who advocated the concept of a necessary causal nexus in natural events. His attack amounted to denying that there is any necessary connection between cause and effect in nature, contending that of two things which invariably follow each other, nothing can prove or demonstrate that one is the cause of the other. Thus, with respect to alGhazR1rs analysis of causation, one encounters the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 100-101
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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