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date: 18 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses two books of refutation written by two Muslim theologians, the Ashʿarite al-Ghazālī (d. 505/1111) and the Muʿtazilite Ibn al-Malāḥimī (d. 536/1141). Both books aim at refuting teachings of the Muslim falāsifa, here understood as the Aristotelian tradition in Islam, represented by al-Farābī (d. 339/950–1) and Ibn Sīnā (d. 428/1037). While Ibn al-Malāḥimī in his Tuḥfat al-mutakallimīn aims at a straightforward rejection of most of the teachings of this group and includes arguments in favour of Muʿtazilite positions, al-Ghazālī’s strategy is more complex. In his Tahāfut al-falāsifa he aims to invalidate the falāsifa’s claim of having demonstrated their teachings in metaphysics. Showing that these teachings are not supported by valid demonstrations allows al-Ghazālī to refute them wherever he thinks they violate revelation and adopt them, on basis of the authority of revelation, wherever he thinks they are true.

Keywords: refutation, tahāfut, demonstration, apodeixis, burhān, modalities, alternative worlds, nominalism, eternity of the world, bodily resurrection, knowledge of particulars, moral obligation, taklīf

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