Author: Mohd Zaidi Ismail
Publisher: International Institute of Islamic Thought (2002)
Pages: 75 Binding: Paperback
Description from the publisher:
In traditional logic, into which the system of logic as developed by al-Farabi and Ibn Sina may be grouped, the doctrine of definition constitutes a fundamental part due to the foundationalistic character of its theory of knowledge. In the Islamic world, the criticisms of this doctrine, as well as other doctrines in logic, came from those who developed one or other kinds of philosophical systems---in its broadest sense---such as Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (philosophical theology) and Suhrawardi (“dhawqi philosophy” or hikmat, as he calls his system), but also from those who tried to refute logic as a discipline, and philosophy as a whole for that matter, because of religious reasons. This thesis studies the latter group’s criticisms of the philosophers’ doctrine of definition as represented by Abu al-Naja al-Farid and Ibn Taimiyyah, from a theoretical point of view.
In the case of al-Farid, who might be just another theologian involved in the wave of rejection of “ancient sciences” in the early centuries of Islam, while the criticisms themselves seem to be not substantial and the style of argumentation is awkward, they stimulate a deeper discussion of some aspects of Islamic logic, in particular that controversial area which borders logic and language. The biggest problem here concerns the alternatives of name and definition; this problem has accompanied logic throughout its development up to the present day. His treatise, Kasr al-Mantiq, is translated here as an appendix.
Ibn Taimiyyah’s criticisms are much more substantial, in the sense of his being very argumentative and analytical. Some of his criticisms are raised from the linguistic, epistemological and metaphysical points of view, while the others concern the consistency of logical doctrines themselves. Many of his criticisms are, indeed, well-grounded and shared by others, such as the theologian al-Razi. Theoretically, at least, though he might have not refuted logic, the criticisms should have forced the philosophers to make more modest claims.