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Un- doubtedly, such a concept is sought after, although it is not necessary that the individual meaning be sought. Ibn Taymiyya’s critique may then be characterized as a set of arguments whose ultimate goal is to undermine the validity of the philosophical, and consequently mystical, postulates making up, and deriving from, logic. Indeed, even the conclusion amounts to little more than a particular emphasis upon the major, universal premiss.

Closely related to, if not part of, this criticism is an argument urged against the famous logical doctrine, first stated by Aristotle, that the premisses of the syllogism must ultimately originate in truths that are necessary and indemonstrable. Uwe Vagelpohl – – Vivarium 48 The uniqueness of the individual simply precludes the universal, which is common to many, from existing externally.

Charles Adams read the Introduction and the entire translation. However, separable accidental attributes, such as the poverty of Jacob or the sitting position of Abraham, are not permanent.

Burrell, ‘Essence and Existence’, 6 1 – 3and see n. Also the causes of its existence are other than the causes of its quiddity.

Ibn Taymiyya Against the Greek Logicians – Oxford Scholarship

As a critic he no doubt excelled, but he was no systematic and organized writer. The Aristotelian syllogism, Sanchez maintained, does not lead to the understanding of reality, and it is artificially and excessively occupied with verbal subtlety. Since self-evident knowledge enters the mind without inference, and thus without definition, it is possible to increase the amount of taymitya in the mind without resorting to definition.

The introduction of Greek philosophy into the Muslim world left an indelible mark on Islamic intellectual history. See an expanded but somewhat convoluted version of the argument in his al-Radd, 7 0 – 1.


Wael B. Hallaq (ed.), Ibn Taymiyya Against the Greek Logicians – PhilPapers

The second principle, which has no truth in it, is the distinction between what is a necessary concomitant to quiddity and what is essential to it. On his admission that primary concepts cannot be defined at all, rgeek Davidson, Proofs, Ibn Taymiyya’s Refutation xxi universality, which is an accident that exists only in the mind, must be added to it once the mind abstracts the essence from extramental particulars.

They argue that quiddity has a permanent reality, other than its own existence, subsisting outside the mind. I say ‘in part’ because the chief reason for resorting to the rational, non-religious argument al-dalil al-‘aqli was the position— adopted by the great majority of Muslim intellectuals—that the best weapon against rational arguments must come from reason, not revelation, and Greek logic was, in the final analysis, a product of reason see Translation, par.

Thus, establishing the universal character of the major premiss is equivalent to verifying that whenever there is a cause there is a judgement; and in the final al-Radd, ; Jahd, Translation, par. An incomplete definition falls short of encompassing the entirety of essential attributes, and is limited to the immediate greej alone or to this difference coupled with the mediate genus al-jins al-ba’id ‘, for example, ‘man is that which is rational’, or ‘man is a rational body’.

Ibn Taymiyya against the Greek Logicians

The concept formed is not only of the meaning but also of the name assigned to that meaning. The difference between them, however, is that ‘the name defines the meaning of the thing and its quiddity in a general, not greel specific and succinct manner. In the translation I have redivided the text into consecutively num- bered paragraphs His argument is grounded in an empirical approach that in many respects prefigures the philosophies of the British empiricists.

As van Ess has aptly remarked, not only were the names of famous old Sceptics unknown to Muslims, but Scepticism as a whole appeared in Islam ‘as an isolated flash of thought and as a rhetorical bluff’. Khurram Solangi teh it really liked it May 18, By ‘definition’ they mean the statement indicating the quiddity of the definiendum, 1 for it details what the name indicates in general.


Indeed, it should prove to be of equal interest to all the critics, Muslims or otherwise, of modern science. A more advanced stage of maturity will render them tamr.

When Ibn Taymiyya spoke of the identical natures of analogy logiciaans the categorical syllogism, he was speaking of an analogy whose cause is established by methods which presuppose an inductive survey of all relevant particulars. Islamic juristic theory had already developed a variety of methods and procedures through which the cause of the judgement in the original case is established.

In these inferences, whatever the form, our conclusion will be probable if the relationship of concomitance grwek A and B is less than certain. I am immeasurably indebted to Michael Marmura, of the University of Toronto, for his penetrating remarks on difficult parts of the text treating of metaphysics.

The hearer may or may not know the truthfulness of this proposition before hearing it. The doctrine puts forth two postulates that emerge as salient wgainst of the basic distinction between essence and accident. The natural universal kulli tabi’i is commonly defined as the nature or quiddity as it is in itself, that is, when it is neither a universal nor a particular, neither existent nor non-existent, neither one nor many, etc.

But even logcians we suppose, Ibn Taymiyya maintains, that such a premiss is indeed universal, the categorical syllogism remains none the less useless. Convinced, t o othat the wise m a n loicians free from every deceptive infatuation, and that doubt, for the purpose of refuting which logic had been invented, can be more easily o v e r c o m e by a healthy tone of mind than by argument, he felt n o particular necessity for logic.

See also al-Radd, 6 1 – 2.