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Theori of knowledge

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Theori of knowledge Empty Theori of knowledge

Post by keroncong on Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:19 am

All approaches and studies, except empiricism, to either knowledge or truth claims that are emerged in history seems have been referred in history of Islamic philosophy. The fact that Islam can accept any concepts, either from inside or outside, has proved an adaptive manner of the religion, even it is almost tend to be permissive. It is understandable when all Muslim agree to the principle that is important to take as well as to learn to hikmah from any places. The wave of Hellenism that consists of heritage of Greek thought is not to prohibit, hence to be neglected. Many Muslims continues this tradition and to be authoritative of it. The tradition, certainly, at last has been luxurious. Nevertheless, it is not to be gained without hard effort. The tradition still exist hitherto, although the sound seems has merely vague.

A lot of observers claimed that Al-Ghazali is the thinker that is to be responsible for the situation. The question: is it fair the claim above? To answer the question, we have to study the philosophical exploration of Al-Ghazali, until he reached his epistemological standpoint. The favorite discourse in this theme is how human being can reach the truth? Or, are both religion and philosophy voiced a same truth? And what kind of way that is to be routed to reach the truth?

Some Epistemologies Before Al-Ghazali
Al-Ghazali lives in a main point of time when truth and reality seekers were lives. He inherited and did the theologian’s (Mutakallimun) way of thinking for the first period. The Mutakallimun known as master of intellectual speculation and group who used free reason (ahl al-ra’y wa al-nazhr). Textual explicit proofs that are elaborated faith deliberated according to logical measurement (rationalization); hence the faith problems could be explained. In certain level, position of the party (Mutakallimun) is beyond of faith of averages, which believe with taqlid (follow without reserved). Although all implications of knowledge and belief level remains based on faith commitment. The method is secure enough for kalam follower reaching knowledge and certainty. In perceiving this, Al-Ghazali not delivers the detail differences in Kalam schools, because he not concerns on doctrinal variants in the schools. The reference is theologian methodology (Osman Bakar: 1998).

Another heritage that is also important is from truth seeker tradition through philosophical method. Al-Ghazali inherited, at least, three philosophical traditions: First, peripatetic tradition, motored by Al-Farabi and Ibn Sina who were based on logic and burhan to know everything; second, follower of Pythagoras tradition and Nicomachus in Ikhwan Shafa (community of holy brotherhood); and, the last, philosophy of Ismailiyah that is follow Pythagorean hermeneutical tradition. Those all sourced from outside of Islam, viz. Greek.

Generally, Al-Ghazali identified these schools of philosophy as party who relied merely on reason to know everything. The method that is used in philosophical thought, especially Peripatetic school is to follow the syllogistic-logic rules to know all unknown based on the known one thing. Firstly, putting forward known major premise so united with the minor that also has known. From both premises one can reach conclusion, which is new premise (truth) (Osman Bakar: 1998).

Continually process of natural fact can results general concepts those are able to construct material objects which can be connected to abstract ideas through imagination sight. In the last, those ideas would be united in intelligences. Those are, which by philosopher called as active reason (contained free concepts from material trap) or agent of intellectual (al-‘aql fa’al), a quality that is enabled disclosing of veil to perfect nature. Knowledge just actualized when active intellect emanated to theoretical intellect that are summed up similar ideas with the existing. This achievement often assumed most ideal since it can gain a truth through its instruments (Oliver Leaman: 2001).

Beside of method of two schools above, Ta’limiyah is party who contribute in searching Al-Ghazali’s epistemological tabulation. This school more popular as esoteric. It carries out Shiite group, especially sect of Ismailiyah. The group believes an authority of ma’sum as cadre of prophetic spirituality. The cadre can knows essence of knowledge through interpreting verses of Qur’an that, for them, contained knowledge about the true reality of everything. In Shiite theology, Imam is the only who can interpret meaning of Qur’an essence; henceforth it is only him who has the authority to teach spirituality (Osman Bakar: 1998). Then the group subordinated exoteric reality of the esoteric. In this dimension Ismailiyah build up their religious community.

Al-Ghazali’s Critic against
Mutakallimun's Epistemology, Philosophers and Ta’limiyah
Al-Ghazali criticized to all schools, except Ismailiyah, as whom then developing in tradition that he criticized. His mapping of his predecessors into three mainstreams of epistemologies is to criticize them as well. His critic, then, branched to two poles: in one side he criticized since he initiated himself as a part of tradition he criticized, and, in the other, he took his place as who seeks of spiritual knowledge and reality.

This attitude done by Al-Ghazali consciously when he criticized the weakness of Mutakallimun. As a theologian in this stream, he got that Mutakallimun’s reasonable thinking was not yet in optimal. Henceforth, it should be methodologically enriched in order to overcome the weakness, that the group merely borrowed the premises to construct argumentations from its ‘enemy’, viz. philosophers.

It is worsened when the premises, for instance Al-Baqillani’s atomism, not only to support certain religious belief, but used as their essential creeds. For Al-Ghazali, it is indirect searching and the lower level of reality’s searching process. Faith that is source of light even contaminated with false syllogism, which was being veil of darkness (Osman Bakar: 1998).

To philosophers, Al-Ghazali put his critic that philosophy has its justification to explain metaphysical problems. Philosophers, according to Al-Ghazali, not consequently used demonstrative thinking, hence discussing prophetic questions as well as spiritual psychology whereby also applied to others Philosophical methode for Al-Ghazali is not more than human virtue, hence it’s remain subordinated of revelation. Nevertheless, he accept of genuine philosophy that is neutral and not in opposition with religion. Meanwhile, his critic to Ta’limiyah seems more than Al-Ghazali’s sectarian feeling (Osman Bakar: 1998).

In his Sunni position, Al-Ghazali not agree on necessary claim that faith is the only which is knows ta’wil. His religious views that is influenced by Sunni socio-political visions made his argument that ijtihad is always open to anyone, not exlusively to Imam.


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