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Ibn Taymiyya against the Greek Logicians

Ibn Taymiyya conceived the syllogism as an inference that may deal either with mental concepts or with things in the real, objective world. Ibn Taymiyya’s Refutation xxix which is to be proven, is already found or at least implicit in the premisses.

He who closely examines this matter will see its truth, and will believe what mankind was told about the invisible world—e. And so I undertook this task and have entitled the work Jahd al-Qariha f i Tajrid al-Nasiha,4 and God is the guide to that which is right. God’s knowledge of these things, which Ibn A r a b!

In these psuedo-universals, whenever a new particular arises, the universal is no more helpful in deducing an attribute found in that particular than is the particular in lending credibility to the universal.

We define tables, for instance, mainly on the basis of our interest in them and the function they have in our lives, without any regard to their colours.

A person who has rounded knowledge of both the transmitters and the circumstances under which they have narrated a particular prophetic tradition will be in a better position to believe or disbelieve the veracity of such tradition than another who lacks such circumstantial and contextual knowledge. Furthermore, doing away with the Dictum also enabled him to question another crucial requirement in the categorical syllogism, namely, that every syllogism must contain no more and no less than two premisses.

The difference, if any, between analogical and syllogistic verification is that in the latter the universal subject and predicate are completely abstracted from the particulars, while in the former the predicate is affirmed of the subject in so far as one actual case particular is concerned, though such an affirmation is possible only through an examination of a certain number of other relevant cases. Qadi remembered with pride that it was he who had first permitted an intelligent and learned man like Ibn Taimiyah to give Fatwa.

Unlike Ghazali, who rejected philosophical metaphysics but embraced logic, Ibn Taymiyya considered the two inextricably connected. The fruits growing on palm trees and commonly known in the English language as dates, regardless of whether they are ripe or not, are called in Arabic by several specialized terms, each coined to characterize a particular stage of maturity.

The first mode is that of divine and angelic minds where they exist ‘prior to multiplicity’ qabl al-kathra – thereafter, they exist ‘in multiplicity’ f i al-kathrawhen they are individuated in the sublunar world of generation and corruption. He was a sceptic whose points of departure in such criticism shared no common ground with Ibn Taymiyya’s basic assumptions. Secondary sources include the following: Table of contents Part 1 Introduction: Ancient, To C Western Philosophy: Log In Sign Up. In the same vein, the grounds on which the causality in a judgement may be refuted are identical with those on which the universality of the premiss of a syllogism may be questioned.


And it is through an examination of this theory, which belongs squarely to the sphere of logic, that Ibn Taymiyya attempts to show how involved logic is in metaphysics.

This is obvious, for if it is said: As we have seen, he deems a truly universal premiss sufficient to yield a conclusion. History of Western Philosophy. It is then quite clear that what is at stake in adopting a realist theory logicianns universals is no less than an entire metaphysic.

For the intellect may be unheedful of an object, but when it hears its name and definition, tayjiyya attends to the object that was pointed out through the name and definition, thus forming a concept of that object.

In the simple concept ‘man’, the part ‘ma’, for example, has no meaning whatsoever since the term ‘man’ is indivisible. The sterility of the syllogism for studying natura rerum is then to be attributed to a logicoans inherent, not in the formal structure of the argument, but rather in the epistemic value of the premiss which is claimed to be universal.

They have divided the essential into what is necessary for quiddity and what is necessary for its existence. To sum up, on the basis of the meagre evidence available to us, we tentatively conclude that Ibn Taymiyya clearly owes a debt to his Greek and Muslim predecessors.

Ibn Taymiyya Against the Greek Logicians – Oxford Scholarship

Admittedly, the latter were indebted to the tayimyya of Pythagoras and Nichomachus, particularly in their treatment of the metaphysics of number. Unfortunately, our data about writings critical of logic are so scant that we shall be able to draw no more than a general and tentative outline of this fascinating history. Atainst arguments were intended to create an aggregate effect; no single argument in the work could, or was expected to, deal a coup de grace to logic.

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’.

Third, we maintain that if a definition gives a concept of the definiendum, the concept will not be formed until the validity of the definition is established, because the definition is the evidence of the concept and the means by which it is formed taymijya brought to light.

Ibn Taymiyya Against the Greek Logicians : Ibn Taymiyyah :

The attacks against Aristotelian logic in Islam continued after Ibn Taymiyya, though they were not conducted with the extra- ordinary energy, vigour, and creativity demonstrated by Ibn Taymiyya.


They also mixed it with other taymigya, such as medicine, grammar, etc. Another categorization may issue from the content of arguments, not their form.

If we change the colour of a table from black to green, the change will be considered accidental and thus will not effect a change in our real definition of it. While perhaps agreeing with this, Ibn Taymiyya does not accept ‘blackness’ as a necessary accidental attribute, for when one sees a black object, blackness will be more strongly affirmed in the mind than the so-called essence agaimst ‘colour’.

Real essences require the use of a language that precisely describes, and corresponds to, the quiddity of a thing. They are vreek elliptic and vague. By ‘constitutive’ I do not mean the predicate which the subject requires for the realization of its existence, such as the fact that a human being is begotten, created or made to exist, and that black is an accident. The claim that definitions lead to forming a concept of things is that of loggicians Greek logicians, the followers of Aristotle, as well as of agxinst Muslims and others who have followed their path by imitating them.

Ibn Taymiyya’s Refutation xvii although they are neither constitutive nor a part of quiddity.

Rahman, ‘Essence and Existence’, 3 ff. His methodology and epistemology—which partly derived from the then prevalent theological and legal doctrines, but See Sections 3 and 4 of Part I, above. Oxford Scholarship Online This book is available as part of Oxford Scholarship Online – view abstracts and keywords at book and chapter level. I will only argue that one way out of this dilemma might lie in establishing a chronology for Ibn Taymiyya’s relevant works.

Ghada Bathish-Hallaq has subjected my work to thorough criticism, and painstakingly compared the translation with the Arabic text.

That Ibn Taymiyya rejected this established taymyya of discourse should come as no surprise. When he was thirty, he was offered the office of Chief Justice, but refused, as he could not persuade himself to follow the limitations imposed by the authorities. Sixth, is to say that what leads to forming a concept of reality is, in their view, the complete definition, which consists of essences, not accidents.

First, as stated in Aristotle’s definition of the syllogism given earlier, all syllogistic arguments of the categorical type must ibj new knowledge, or as he elsewhere stated, a syllogism ‘makes use of old knowledge to impart new’.

Instead of the definition of man as ‘a rational gerek, a description would be ‘a laughing animal’, ‘laughing’ being an accidental attribute.