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date: 08 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Zaki Najib Mahmud (1905–1993) occupies a unique position in the development of twentieth-century Arab thought, as a follower of logical empiricism and the emerging analytic school of philosophy. The task of explicating and promoting the philosophical ideas of logical empiricism to an Arab audience dominated his early work. However, in his later work, he addressed some of the issues that preoccupied other Arab thinkers of his era, notably the possibility of reconciling tradition and modernity, the compatibility of Islamic religious thought with liberalism and democracy, and general questions of progress, secularism, and the state of Arab and Egyptian society. This chapter focuses on Naḥwa Falsafah ʿ–Ilmiyya (Toward a Scientific Philosophy), first published in 1958, which propounds and defends logical empiricism, engaging with its principal arguments and relate it to the work of others. The chapter concludes with an assessment of Mahmud’s work and its place in twentieth-century Arab thought.

Keywords: logical positivism, logical empiricism, analytic philosophy, verificationism, conceptual analysis, tradition, modernity

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