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Arabic Sciences and Philosophy, 33 (2023): 83-111 doi:10.1017/S0957423922000108 © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press. This is an Open Ac- cess article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, dis- tribution,andreproductioninanymedium,providedtheoriginalworkisproperlycited. AMAL A. AWAD Darwin College, University of Cambridge Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract. Late in his intellectual life, Faḫr al-Dīn al-Rāzī espoused a dualistic posi- tion on the nature of the soul, denying that the soul is in any sense a material body. This view, which in broad terms concurs with Avicenna’s, sets al-Rāzī in opposition to the theologians’ materialistic stance. To make his position clear, in his last work Al- maṭālib al-Rāzī sets out a comprehensive case for the theologians’ materialism, before critiquing that position. This paper offers a reconstruction of al-Rāzī’s arguments for the theologians’ materialism, providing an insight into arguments in the philosophy of mind during the Islamic Middle Ages. Résumé. Tard dans sa vie intellectuelle, Faḫr al-Dīn al-Rāzī a adopté une position dualiste sur la nature de l’âme, niant que l’âme est en tout sens un corps matériel. Ce point de vue, qui, de manière générale, concorde avec celui d’Avicenne, oppose al-Rāzī à la position matérialiste des théologiens. Pour clarifier sa position, dans son dernier ouvrage,Al-maṭālib,al-Rāzīexposeunargumentapprofondienfaveurdumatérialisme desthéologiens,avantdecritiquercetteposition.Cetarticleoffreunereconstructiondes arguments d’al-Rāzī en faveur du matérialisme des théologiens, offrant une perception des arguments dans la philosophie de l’esprit pendant le Moyen Âge islamique. 84 AMAL A. AWAD 1. INTRODUCTION Faḫr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (1150-1210) is known for his careful expositions and rebuttals of his opponent’s arguments, whereas he generally sets outhisownstanceratherconcisely.Hisadoption,lateinhisintellectual life, of a dualistic position on the nature of the soul, a position which in broadtermsconcurswithAvicenna’s,andhisconsequentrepudiationof the thesis that the soul is in any sense a material body, put al-Rāzī in opposition to the materialistic theologians. Accordingly, in his last work Al-maṭālib we find al-Rāzī setting out a comprehensive case for the the- ologians’materialism,andcritiquingtheirargumentsonebyone,before indicating his own view. Al-Rāzī’s reconstruction of the theologians’ ar- gumentsformaterialismprovidesaninsightintothephilosophyofmind as it was practiced in the Islamic Middle Ages. While many studies of the materialist theologians have drawn on the original sources, none so far has explored al-Rāzī’s presentation of their arguments. Yet the significance of al-Rāzī’s exposition is manifold: it is compendious, seem- inglyencompassingeverythingthatamaterialisttheologianofal-Rāzī’s era might say about the materiality of the soul. Further, it provides in- sights into al-Rāzī’s own intellectual development: his critical scrutiny of materialism in Al-maṭālib has no parallel in any of his earlier theo- See, for example, Ayman Shihadeh, “Classical Ashʿarī anthropology: Body, life and spirit,”TheMuslimWorld,vol.102,no.3-4(2012),p.433-77.OnAšʿarīatomism,see AbdelhamidSabra,“KalāmatomismasanalternativephilosophytoHellenizingfal- safa,” in J. Montgomery (ed.), Arabic Theology, Arabic Philosophy: From the Many to the One: Essays in Celebration of Richard M. Frank (Peeters, 2006), p. 199-272; Richard M. Frank, “The Ashʿarite ontology, I: Primary entities,” Arabic Sciences and Philosophy, vol. 9 (1999), p. 163-23; Richard M. Frank, “Bodies and atoms: The Ashʿarite analysis,” in M. Marmura (ed.), Islamic Theology and Philosophy: Studies in Honor of George F. Hourani (State University of New York Press, 1984), p. 39- 53 and 287-93. See also Majid Fakhry, “The Muʿtazilite view of man,” Recherches d’islamologie: Recueil d’articles offert à Georges C. Anawati et Louis Gradet par leur collègues et amis (Leuven, 1977), p. 107-21; Sophia Vasalou, “Subject and body in Baṣran Muʿtazilism, or: Muʿtazilite Kalām and the fear of triviality,” Arabic Sci- ences and Philosophy, vol. 17, no. 2 (2007), p. 267-98; Alnoor Dhanani, “The physi- cal theory of kalām: Atoms, space and void in Basrian Muʿtazilī Cosmology,” Jour- nal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 116, no. 2 (1996), p. 318; Margaretha T. Heemskerk, “Abd al-Jabbār al-Hamadhani on body, soul and resurrection,” in C. Adang, S. Schimdtke and D. Sklare (ed.), A Common Rationality: Muʿtazilism in Is- lamandJudaism(Wurzburg,2016),p.127-56;WilferdMadelung,“IbnAl-Malāḥimī on the human soul,” The Muslim World, vol. 102, no. 3-4 (2012), p. 426-32. For stud- iesonotherrelevanttraditions,seeH.HugonnardRoche,“Laquestiondel’âmedans e e la tradition philosophique syriaque (VI -IX siècle),” Studia graeco-arabica, vol. 4 (2014). AL-RĀZĪ ON THE THEOLOGIANS’ MATERIALISM 85 logical works, and indicates a substantial departure from the Ašʿarite aﬀiliations of his earlier life. This departure reflects al-Rāzī’s indepen- dence and eclecticism, particularly manifest in Al-maṭālib, even while his treatment of some aspects of the arguments, particularly on the na- ture of the relation between the soul and the body, seems to reflect his own enduring doubts about the viability of dualism. Al-Rāzī’s exposition and rebuttal of the arguments for materialism represents the thesis stage in a dialectical triad he pursues through- out Al-maṭālib; after rebutting the arguments for materialism, he will then turn to the antithesis, this being an exposition and rebuttal of Avi- cenna’s arguments for dualism, before proposing his own version of du- alismasasynthesisdrawingontheprecedingstages.Thepresentpaper is concerned solely with the thesis stage of al-Rāzī’s argument, namely al-Rāzī’s reconstruction of the arguments of the materialist theologians and his own replies; exploration of his synthesis stage, his own argu- ments for the immateriality of the soul, will be the subject of a forth- coming study. It is important to emphasise that his arguments are indeed recon- structions. Al-Rāzī never attributes any of these arguments to a specific scholar, confining himself to remarking that they comprise all the lines ofargumentthatmaterialisttheologianshaveproposed;andforthisrea- son the present paper is not concerned with establishing a relation be- tween the arguments that al-Rāzī attributes to the mutakallimūn and theargumentsfoundinthepre-Rāziankalāmliterature.Adetailedcom- parison of the kalām literature with al-Rāzī’s reconstructions, as well as further exploration of his corresponding discussion of the arguments foundintheAšʿariteandMuʿtaziliteliterature,wouldbeofgreatinter- est, but must also be postponed to future work. Al-Rāzī’s treatment of the materialist theologians’ arguments is con- tainedinthefirstandsecondarticlesofbook7of Al-maṭālib. Theargu- AninsightfulstudycontainingalistofAšʿariteworkstreatingthesubjectmatterof theontologyofman(ḥaqīqatal-insān)isShihadeh,“ClassicalAšʿarīanthropology.” It is worth remarking that al-Rāzī alludes to the materialistic stance of the the- ologians in his other works, setting out some of their arguments for materialism rather briefly before going on to reject them. In Al-mabāḥiṯ al-mašriqiyya, for ex- ample,herejectsthetheologians’materialismandpresentstwoargumentstoprove that it is fallacious, based on (1) his own version of the Flying Man argument, and (2) the persistence of identity over time: see Al-mabāḥiṯ al-mašriqiyya fī ʿilm al- ilāhiyyāt wa-l-tabīʿiyyāt, ed. Muḥammad al-Muʿtaṣim bi-l-llāh al-Baġdādī (Tehrān: Ḏawī al-Qurbā, 2007), p. 238-39. In Nihāyat al-ʿuqūl he writes: “No rational per- son holds that the true nature of man is the mere body:” see Nihāyat al-ʿuqūl fī dirāyat al-uṣūl, ed. Saʿīd Fūdah (Beirut: Dār al-Ḏaḫāʾir, 2015), vol. 4, ch. 1, p. 77. 86 AMAL A. AWAD mentscanbedividedintofourheadingswithonesubdivisionasfollows: • Ontological Arguments (OA), namely arguments which appeal to ontological considerations in order to deny the existence of immaterial substancestoutcourt.Theseargumentsappealtoaworldviewwhichaf- firmsthatallthatexistsinthetemporallyoriginatedworldisultimately material. Inreplyingtotheseargumentsal-Rāzīisseekingtoestablish thepositivethesisthatimmaterialsubstancesdoexistandthattheyare causally effective; although we shall briefly mention his positive argu- ments,thefocuswillbeonhisexpositionandrebuttalofthetheologians’ position. • Epistemological Arguments (EA), which appeal to the self-evident knowledge(al-ʿilmal-badīhī) eachpersonissaidtopossessinorderei- therto prove thatthe soul is a material substance (positivearguments), ortocritiquetheclaimthatthesoulisimmaterial(negativearguments). Thiscategorysubdividesnaturallyintoargumentsbasedonself-evident knowledge we are said to have either of our own agency (EA1) or of our own self (EA2). • Arguments based on the Agency of the Body (AA), which aim to prove that the true agent of the person’s actions is the body; hence, the person is said to be equivalent to the body and nothing more. In Al-muḥaṣṣal, Al-arbaʿīn and Maʿālim uṣūl al-dīn he explicitly rejects the theolo- gians’ notion that the soul is the body frame: see Muḥaṣṣal afkār al-mutaqaddimīn wa-l-mutaʾaḫḫirīnminal-ʿulamāʾwa-l-ḥukamāʾwa-l-mutakallimīn,ed.ṬāhāʿAbd al-Raʾūf (Cairo: Maktabat al-Kulliyāt al-Azhariya, 1905), p. 223; Al-arbaʿīn fī uṣūl al-dīn,ed.MaḥmūdʿAbdal-ʿAzīzMaḥmūd(Beirut:Dāral-Kutubal-ʿIlmiyya2009), p. 259 and Maʿālim uṣūl al-dīn, ed. Nizār Ḥammādī (Kuwait: Dār al-Ḍiyāʾ, 2012), p.133.Interestingly,innoneofhisworksdoesal-Rāzīmentionorrefertoanyspecific scholar who espouses materialism: he merely states that this notion is embraced by the majority of the theologians. Book7of Al-maṭālibconsistsoffivearticles( maqālāt,sg.maqāla),thefirstofwhich is entitled “On the preliminary principles” (fī al-muqaddimāt) and is devoted to ex- ploringtheontologicalunderpinningsofhisphilosophyofmind.Thesecondandthe third articles, which are composed of 7 and 23 sections respectively, comprise the subject matter of his philosophy of mind. The fourth and the fifth, which study the souls of jinn, devils, spheres and plants, are not of great relevance for the present discussion. Al-Rāzī was at one point among the adherents of this viewpoint. He writes in Ki- tāb al-išāra: “Know that in the chapter on the temporal origination of the world (fī bāb ḥudūṯ al-ʿālam) we have established that the [only existing contingent beings] (inḥiṣār al-mumkināt) are bodies and what inheres in them (al-aǧrām wa-l-qāʾim bi-l-aǧrām) (Al-Rāzī, Al-išāra fī ʿilm al-kalām, ed. Hānī Muḥammad Ḥāmid [Cairo: al-Maktaba al-Azhariyya li-l-Turāṯ, 2009], p. 376).” The term al-ʿilm al-badīhī may be translated either as “self-evident knowledge” or “primitive knowledge;” I use the former translation throughout the paper. AL-RĀZĪ ON THE THEOLOGIANS’ MATERIALISM 87 • Arguments based on critiquing the possibility of body-soul Causal Relations (CRA), which concern the diﬀiculties which arise from sup- posing that the soul and the body, posited as two utterly different sub- stances, can causally interact. Chapter 3 of article 1, entitled “On the preliminary principles” (fī al- muqaddimāt), contains three arguments (OA1-OA3) based on ontologi- cal considerations. OA1 and OA3 turn on the uniqueness of God, while OA2 turns on the suﬀiciency of God’s causality. Chapter 2 of article 2, entitled“Ontheexpositionoftheproofsadvancedbythosewhosaythat the soul must be a material substance” (fī ḥikāyat dalāʾil al-qāʾilīn bi- anna al-nafs yaǧibu an takūna ǧawharan ǧismāniyyan), contains ten arguments (A1-A10) for the theologians’ materialism. Arguments A1, A6, A9 and A10 are epistemological, and subdivide as follows: A1 con- cernsself-evidentknowledgeofourownagency(EA1),whileA6,A9and A10 concern self-evident knowledge of our own self (EA2). Arguments A2, A4, A7 and A8 are concerned with the agency of the body (AA). Ar- gumentsA3andA5areconcernedwithcausalrelations(CRA).(Table 1 summarises.)Isetouttheontologicalargumentsinsection 2,epistemo- logical arguments in section 3, arguments concerning the agency of the body in section 4, and causal relations in section 5. 2. ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENTS (OA) The majority of Muslim theologians, al-Rāzī remarks, claim that the existence of a contingent being that is neither space-occupying (mutaḥayyiz), nor inherent in a space-occupying substrate (ḥāll bi-l- mutaḥayyiz), is impossible, and he sets out three arguments that the theologians have proposed in support of their claim. The thrust of these arguments is that the existence of immaterial substances – whether Al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib al-ʿāliya min al-ʿilm al-ilāhī, ed. M. ʿAbd al-Salām Šahīn (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿilmiyya, 1999), vol. 3, book 7, p. 26-34. The speculative theologians (al-mutakallimūn) reject the notion that the soul is an immaterial substance. Although they admit that accidents are by definition not space-occupying entities (lā yataḥayyaz ʿind al-wuǧūd), they reject the existence of immaterial substances. Marmura remarks that the vast majority of the mu- takallimūnwereatomists,upholdingamaterialistconceptionofthesoul.Therewere exceptions and variations: the Muʿtazilite al-Naẓẓām (d. 845), for example, rejected atomism, maintaining that the soul is a subtle material substance that is diffused throughout the body, rendering it animate. For this reason, many Islamic theolo- gians found materialism an intuitively coherent position on the nature of the soul and personal identity. See Michael Marmura, “Avicenna’s Flying Man in context,” The Monist, vol. 69 (1986), p. 383-95. 88 AMAL A. AWAD TAB. 1: Al-Rāzī’s reconstruction of the theologians’ arguments in vol. 3, book 7 of Al-maṭālib Category Principal claim OA1 No created being could share in Ch. 3, Ontological constitutive property of God Art. 1 arguments OA2 Suﬀiciency of God’s causality OA3 Absurdity of positing a unity between God and any being Epistemological A1 Self-evident knowledge of our own argument (EA1) agency A6 Self-evident knowledge of our own self Epistemological A9 Self-evident knowledge of our own self arguments (EA2) Ch. 2, A10 Self-evident knowledge of our own self Art. 2 A2 Agency of the body A4 Agency of the body (AA) A7 Agency of the body A8 Agency of the body A3 Body-soul causal relations (CRA) A5 Body-soul causal relations these be souls, intellects, etc. – would infringe either God’s uniqueness, or the explanatory suﬀiciency of God’s causality. Arguments OA1 and OA3 address God’s uniqueness, while OA2 pertains to the suﬀiciency of God’s causality. 2.1. The uniqueness of God Argument (OA1) is intended to establish the absurdity of aﬀirming theexistence of a beingwhichcould sharein theproperty thatis consti- tutive of God (al-ṣifa al-muqawwima li-l-ḏāt or al-ṣifa al-kāšifa ʿan al- ḥaqīqa), and thus aims to reject the existence of immaterial substances toutcourt.Argument(OA3)seekstoestablishtheabsurdityofpositinga unity between God and any being, and thus aims to reject the existence of intellects and souls per se. 2.1.1. The rejection of immaterial substances (OA1) [The theologians] say that it is established by proof that the God of the world (ilāh al-ʿālam) can be neither space-occupying nor inhering in a space-occupying substrate. Thus, if we suppose another existent with this AL-RĀZĪ ON THE THEOLOGIANS’ MATERIALISM 89 attribute, then this existent would be equal to God Almighty, in that it is neither space-occupying nor inhering in a space-occupying substrate. And an equivalence in assigning this [attribute] (wa-l-istiwāʾ fī hāḏā al-ḥukm) entails the equivalence in quiddity (yūǧib al-istiwāʾ fī al-māhiyya). The proof is that if we wanted (bi-dalīl annā) to mention an attribute in God in virtueofwhichHisessenceisdifferentiatedfromothers’essences,wecould do no more than mention this attribute, namely, that He is an Essence which is neither space-occupying nor inhering in any space-occupying substrate. And if this attribute is [of the kind] that unveils the truth [about the nature of the essence] (kāšifa ʿan al-ḥaqīqa) then sharing in it entails sharinginthetruth[ofthedivineessence].Thus,itisproventhatifsuchan existent does exist, then it would be equivalent to God. And two equivalent beings (al-miṯlān) must be equal in all concomitants (yaǧib istiwāʾuhumā fī ǧamīʿ al-lawāzim). This entails either that both are necessary Gods, or that both are contingent slaves. Insofar as both options are absurd, then the aﬀirmation of the existence of such an existent is impossible. The argument which al-Rāzī sets out in the above passage rests on two assumptions: (i) that the constitutive attribute of God (al-ṣifa al- kāšifa ʿan ḥaqīqat ḏātih) is His being neither space-occupying nor in- herent in a space-occupying substrate; and (ii) that this attribute is a positive attribute (ṣifa ṯubūtiyya). In response, al-Rāzī rejects both (i) and (ii). Against (i) he argues that the constitutive attribute of God has nothing to do with space- occupation; rather, it is His necessity in Himself (al-wuǧūb bi-l-ḏāt) which is constitutive. As such, the existence of self-subsisting im- material substances would neither interfere with nor diminish God’s particular nature and uniqueness. If this is the case then the theolo- gians’ rejection of the existence of immaterial substances based on the assumption that they would share with God the constitutive character of His essence has no force. Against (ii) al-Rāzī asserts that being neither space-occupying nor inherent in aspace-occupyingsubstrateis a negativeattribute(ṣifa sal- biyya), by which he means that it merely negates a claim regarding the occupation of space: it provides no basis from which to prove that any positive attribute may be shared by two entities. Al-Rāzī gives this propositionsubstantialweightinseveralplacesinbook7.Hemaintains that an equation in negation never entails an equation in quiddity: it is not inconceivable for two distinct realities to share the negation of other realities – in fact, it is quite reasonable that they should share such a negation. To illustrate, consider that red and green share the Al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib, vol. 3, book 7, p. 15. 90 AMAL A. AWAD fact that both of them are not white or yellow; in fact there are myri- adsofattributeswithwhichredandgreensharethefactof“non-being;” however,despitethissharingofcountlessnegations,noonewouldargue that red and green are identical in terms of their per se quiddity. From the two premises “red is not white” and “green is not white” no equality betweenredandgreencanbededuced.Similarly,thetwopremises“God is not a space-occupying entity” and “the immaterial substance is not a space-occupyingentity”providenogroundstoinferanequalitybetween God and the immaterial substance. 2.1.2. The rejection of intellects and souls (OA3) Expanding on his objection to argument OA1, al-Rāzī adds that even if A and B do share some attributes, this would not entail that A and B are equal in quiddity. The fact that red and green share the attribute of being colours does not entail that red and green are identical; and the fact that the immaterial substance shares with God the attribute of be- ingneitherspace-occupyingnorinherentinaspace-occupyingsubstrate does not entail that they are equivalent. Al-Rāzī employs this latter ar- gument to rebut (OA3), which he expounds as follows: [Thisargument]concernsdenyingthe[existence]ofintellectsandsouls. They [theologians] said that these intellects and souls which philosophers claim are eternal, are not distinct from God’s essence in virtue of time and place or of existence and privation. [This is because] insofar as [they regard them as eternal], it becomes impossible to differentiate each one from the other [that is, God and intellects] in virtue of the way things really are (im- tanaʿ imtiyāz baʿḍihā ʿan baʿḍ fī nafs al-amr), which entails the identity of the two (itiḥād al-iṯnayn) which is absurd. In reply to the argument expressed in this passage al-Rāzī asserts that it is not inconceivable that two distinct entities/realities should ex- istinthesametimeandplaceandyetpreservetheirdistinctiveidentity. For instance, knowledge and power (al-ʿilm wa-l-qudra) are in the way they really are (fī nafs al-amr) two distinct accidents, yet they could oc- cur in the same place (inhere in the same substrate) at the same time. The fact that they share the same space-time coordinates does not pre- vent their being distinct in themselves. This applies to the argument in the extract above, in that although God and intellects are (accord- ing to philosophers) indiscriminable in respect of being non-spatial and Al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib, vol. 3, book 7, p. 16. Al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib, vol. 3, book 7, p. 15. AL-RĀZĪ ON THE THEOLOGIANS’ MATERIALISM 91 eternal, they are still distinct in their per se identity. As such, the the- ologians’ rejection of the existence of intellects and souls on the ground of their being indiscriminable from God is invalid. 2.2. The suﬀiciency of God’s causality (OA2) Sense perception indicates the existence of both space-occupying [enti- ties] and the properties which subsist in them. But the [existence] of the thirddivision,[thatwhichisnotspace-occupying,]canonlybeprovenifone of the other two divisions is [causally] reliant on it (illā li-ʾaǧl iftiqār aḥad hāḏayn al-qismayn ilayh). This is because, if knowledge of the existence of a given thing is not self-evident, a path to its proof is only permissible if the mind judges that that which is known to exist needs [the existence of the thing to be proved] to exist (illā iḏā qaḍā l-ʿaql bi-ḥtiyāǧ mā ʿulima wuǧūduh ilayh). Yet, since we admit that God Almighty is neither space- occupyingnorinheresinaspace-occupyingsubstrate,Hisexistencemustbe suﬀicient to account for the existence of these space-occupying substances (al-mutaḥayyizāt)andoftheaccidentssubsistinginthem.Ifthisisthecase [that is, that God’s existence explains all space-occupying entities and the accidentssubsistinginthem],thenthereremainsno prooffortheexistence of any other non-space-occupying entities. The attempt to establish the ex- istence ofthatfor whichthereis fundamentallyno proof, leadstoa number of ignorant claims (mūǧiban li-l-ǧahālāt). This passage implicitly expresses the Ašʿarite theory of causation, namely occasionalism, which ascribes causality exclusively to God. Oc- casionalism, according to Ulrich Rudolph, “emphasizes God’s absolute Al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib, vol. 3, book 7, p. 15. The problem of causation in Islamic philosophy and theology has generated a sub- stantial corpus of modern scholarship. For further details, see Richard M. Frank, “ThestructureofcreatedcausalityaccordingtoAl-Ashʿari:Ananalysisofthe‘Kitab al-lumaʿ’, Sections 82-164,” Studia Islamica, no. 25 (1966), p. 13; Blake D. Dutton, “Al-Ghazālī on possibility and the critique of causality,” Medieval Philosophy and Theology,vol.10,no.1(2001),p.23-46;JonMcGinnis,“Occasionalism,naturalcau- sation and science in al-Ghazālī,” in Montgomery (ed.), Arabic theology, Arabic phi- losophy, p. 441-63; Alnoor Dhanani, The Physical Theory of Kalām: Atoms, Space, and Void in Basrian Muʿtazilī (Brill, 1994); Amos Bertolacci, “The doctrine of ma- terial and formal causality in the ‘Ilāhiyyāt’ of Avicenna’s ‘Kitāb al-šifā’,” Quaestio, vol. 2 (2002), p. 125-54; Michael Marmura, “The metaphysics of eﬀicient causality in Avicenna (Ibn Sīnā),” in Marmura (ed.), Islamic theology and philosophy, p. 172- 87; Kara Richardson, “Avicenna’s conception of the eﬀicient cause,” British Journal for the History of Philosophy, vol. 21, no. 2 (2013), p. 220-39; and Robert Wisnovsky, “FinalandeﬀicientcausalityinAvicenna’scosmologyandtheology,” Quaestio,vol.2 (2002), p. 97-124; Frank Griffel, Al-Ghazali’s Philosophical Theology (Oxford Univ. Press, 2009), and Frank Griffel, The formation of post-classical philosophy in Islam (Oxford Univ. Press, 2021). 92 AMAL A. AWAD power by negating natural causality and attributing every causal effect intheworldimmediatelytoHim.” Thetheologians’endorsementofoc- casionalism,theviewthatGodistheonlytruecause,emerges,asMajid Fakhry puts it, from “the vindication of the absolute omnipotence and sovereignty of God and the utter powerlessness of the creature without Him.” In the above extract al-Rāzī attributes to the theologians an empiricist account according to which they place restrictions on claims abouttheexistenceofobjectswhichareinaccessibletosensation: since theprimarysourceofknowledgeissensoryexperience,knowledgeofthe existence of the corporeal substances which are accessible to sensation alongwiththeaccidentssubsistinginthemisself-evident.Ontheother hand, the existence of objects which are inaccessible to sensation (im- material substances) is speculative (inferred), that is to say attainable only through reflection and investigation. According to the theologians, any argument concerning the existence of beings outside the material realmissoundifandonlyiftheexistenceofmaterialsubstances(whose existence is primitive) is reliant on them, or in other words if they are the cause of something in the material world. This is because there is atightconnectionbetweenknowingathingandknowingthecauseofit: in fact, to know a thing is to grasp the “why” of it, which is to grasp its Ulrich Rudolph, “Occasionalism,” in Sabine Schmidtke (ed.), The Oxford handbook of Islamic theology (Oxford Univ. Press, 2016), p. 1. See also, Dominik Perler and UlrichRudolph,Occasionalismus:Theoriender Kausalitätimarabisch-islamischen und im europäischen Denken (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2000). SeeMajid Fakhry, Islamic Occasionalism and theCritique byAverroesandAquinas (London: George Allen, 1958). There are many variations of Islamic occasionalism, but to discuss them would take us far beyond the scope of this paper. Itshouldbenotedthatthetheologiansadmittheexistenceofmetaphysicalcreatures such as angels and jinn, although they are inaccessible to sensation, basing their belief on the divine text which explicitly mentions their existence. However, there is no text that says explicitly that the nature of the human soul is an immaterial substance. Therefore, they limit their acceptance of objects that are inaccessible to sensation to those that are clearly mentioned in the text, and those for which there is a causal need that justifies searching for their existence. Strikingly,modernphysicalismrelies,interalia,uponthecausalclosureofthephys- icalworldtodenytheexistenceofimmaterialsubstance,thatis,thesoul/mind.How- ever, the principle on which physicalists rely is the opposite of that utilized by the theologians. While physicalists aﬀirm physical causation in nature, full-blown occa- sionalismvehementlyrejectsit.Theformerproclaimsthatthecausalcircleisclosed byappealingtophysicallaws,whilethelatterbasesitsclaimontheexistenceofGod as the exclusive eﬀicient cause. Whilst occasionalism and physical causation are di- ametrically opposed, they both share the idea that the causal circle is closed in the sense that it does not permit the existence of a cause inaccessible to senses: the immaterial substances (mind, intellect, soul). AL-RĀZĪ ON THE THEOLOGIANS’ MATERIALISM 93 primary cause. In the theologians’ conception of causation, the causal circle encompasses only God; therefore His existence is suﬀicient to ex- plain the existence of the material world, and seeking knowledge of the existenceofotherimmaterialsubstancesisnotonlysuperfluousbutalso a sign of ignorance. Inrespondingtothisargument,thusreconstructed,al-Rāzīseemsto departsubstantiallyfromtheAšʿariteconceptionofcausality.Whilethe latter leaves no room for causal power outside the divine circle, al-Rāzī permits the causal circle to encompass God, intellects and the soul, in addition to natural causation. However, we must differentiate here be- tween three kinds of causal eﬀicacies to which al-Rāzī implicitly refers: (1) causality with respect to existence itself, that is, bringing to life or creating ex nihilo; (2) natural causality; and (3) the causality of gov- ernance and conduct. As regards (1), al-Rāzī is clear that this kind of causation is exclusive to God. For him, God is the sole creator of all con- tingent beings, and hence he rejects the philosophers’ “emanation the- ory” by which they permit a mediating role in the creation process to be ascribed to the intellects. As regards (2), al-Rāzī seems to accept that there are natural causal relations between the interactions of physical effects and the natural phenomenon which result from this interaction, supportingthisstancebyreferencetothetraditionalexampleoffireand burning. Asregards(3),al-Rāzīaﬀirmsthatimmaterialsoulisrelated to the material body by way of conduct and governance (ʿalā sabīl al- taṣarruf wa-l-tadbīr). This latter kind of causation will be central to the discussion in section 4. 2.3. Al-Rāzī’s positive critique of the ontological arguments Al-Rāzī’s strategy in critiquing the theologians’ ontological argu- ments has a negative and a positive aspect. The negative aspect is that he proves that the arguments are fallacious, as we have seen above; for the positive, he follows two methods: (1) establishing the existence of immaterial substances, and (2) establishing their causal eﬀicacy. Hav- ing explored the negative aspect of his reply, we now turn to explicate the positive. Formoredetailsabouttheargumentfromignorance(argumentumadignorantiam), seeAymanShihadeh,“TheargumentfromignoranceanditscriticsinmedievalAra- bic thought,” Arabic Sciences and Philosophy, vol. 23, no. 2 (2013), p. 171-220. See al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib, vol. 3, book 7, p. 10. 94 AMAL A. AWAD The Existents Contingent Existents Necessary Existent (God) (the world) Subsisting in a substrate Self-subsisting (Accidents) (Substances) Non space-occupying Inhering in Inhering in a (immaterial substances) space-occupying substance non space-occupying substance (qāʾim bi-l-mutaḥayyiz) (qāʾim bi-ghayr al-mutaḥayyiz) Space-occupying (Material substances) Related to bodies Not related to bodies (taʿalluqʿalā sabīl al-taṣarruf wa-l- (al-mufāriqāt) tadbīr) Pure intellects (al-ʿuqūl al-maḥḍa) Elementary: earthly bodies (al- Spherical bodies (al-ajsām ajsām al-ʿunṣuriyya) al-falakiyya) Govern elementary bodies Govern spherical bodies (mudabbira li-l-ajsām al- (mudabbira li-l-ajsām al- ʿunṣuriyya) falakiyya) Human soul (al-nafs al- insāniyya) Animal soul (al-nafs al- ḥaywāniyya) Plant soul (al-nafs al- nabātiyya) FIG. 1: Al-Rāzī’s taxonomy of being 2.3.1. Proofs of the existence of immaterial substances Al-Rāzī pursues two routes to prove that immaterial substances do exist. First, he presents a classification of existents based on their essence.Iillustrateal-Rāzī’staxonomyofbeinginthefollowingdiagram (figure 1), which shows that he includes immaterial substances as an integral part of the created (existing) world: they are a subdivision of the self-subsisting things (substances), which are in turn a subset of contingent existents (the world, as opposed to God). Second, he offers three examples of existing immaterial substances, namely time, space and Platonic forms. He first proves that time qua time, space qua space and Platonic forms are immaterial substances, and then argues that they do exist in reality. Insofar as these three im- materialsubstancesdoexist,thenitisnotinconceivablethattheimma- AL-RĀZĪ ON THE THEOLOGIANS’ MATERIALISM 95 terial substance exists. Concerning time (al-mudda), al-Rāzī argues that it is an existent (mawǧūdminal-mawǧūdāt)whichisnotsupervenientonmotion;rather it is a self-subsisting substance independent of motion and its concomi- tants. He adds that this substance is not a body, for if it were a body then it would have spatial relations with other bodies, and hence if it were a body it would not be able to keep the same distance in relation to other bodies; but time relates to all material bodies in the same way. Sincenomaterialbodycanactinsuchaway,timethereforeisnotama- terial substance. But it is a substance, hence it must be an immaterial substance which exists in reality. And this is what is sought. Concerningplace,al-Rāzīdefinesthevoid( al-ḫalāʾ)asself-subsisting immaterial extension (al-buʿd al-muǧarrad al-qāʾim bi-l-nafs). This extension (al-buʿd) is not a material body, for a material body is a sub- stance which moves from one point in space to another. But extension itself cannot move, therefore it is an immaterial substance. Third,al-Rāzīpositsthatthereareimmaterialindivisiblesubstances that exist in reality. These substances represent the quiddities, or the universalmeanings, instantiated byparticulars thatshare these mean- ings. He argues that these universal meanings are tantamount to the Platonic forms. Al-Rāzī remarks that the proof of the substantiality and immateriality of time and space which he presents here is concise. He refers to a full account in book 2 of Al-maṭālib, “On the glorification of Allah the Almighty” ( Tanzīh Allāh taʿāla), and book 5, “On time and place” (Fī al-zamān wa-l-makān). Al-Rāzīemploysplace(makān),space(faḍāʾ),extension(buʿd)andlocation(ḥayyiz) as synonyms. Itwouldtakeustoofarafieldtodwellonal-Rāzī’saccountoftimeandplace;weonly glance at his discussion of this subject insofar as it meets the need of this section. For further details on al-Rāzī’s treatment of place, see Peter Adamson, “Fakhr al- Dīnal-Rāzīonplace,”ArabicSciencesandPhilosophy,vol.27,no.2(2017),p.205-36, and Peter Adamson, “Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī on void,” in Abdelkader Al Ghouz (ed.), Islamic Philosophy from the 12th to the 14th Century (Göttingen: Bonn University Press, 2018), p. 307-24. For his discussion of time, see Peter Adamson and A. Lam- mer, “Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī’s Platonist Account of the Essence of Time,” in Ayman Shihadeh and Jan Thiele (ed.), Philosophical Theology in Islam (Brill, 2020), p. 95- 122, and Peter Adamson, “The existence of time in Faḫr al-Dīn al-Rāzī’s Al-maṭālib al-ʿāliya,”inDagNikolausHasseandAmosBertolacci(ed.), TheArabic,Hebrewand Latin Reception of Avicenna’s Physics and Cosmology (De Gruyter, 2018), p. 65-100. Al-Rāzī discusses the extra-mental existence of the quiddities and the universal meaningspartakenofbyparticularsinAl-maṭālib,book2,p.8-13,andbook7,p.17- It is worth noting that al-Rāzī shows an inclination towards Platonism in his treat- ment of universals. In book 2, p. 7-15 of Al-maṭālib he establishes a significant cri- 96 AMAL A. AWAD 2.3.2. Immaterial substances can be causally eﬀicacious In respect of their causal eﬀicacy (ability to affect and to be affected), al-Rāzī classifies existents into the following categories: (i) That which affects but is not affected ( allaḏī yuʾaṯṯir wa-lā yataʾaṯṯar): God. (ii) Thosewhichneverexertanyeffectandarealwaysaffected:prime matter. (iii) Those which have both been affected and exert effect: souls and intellects. (iv) Thosewhichhaveneverbeenaffectednordotheyaffect:nothing, because no existent escapes the omni-causal power of God, namely that of bringing to existence. Al-Rāzī focuses on category (iii), offering a lengthy discussion of the plausibility of ascribing causal power to immaterial substances (intel- lects and souls). He first advances three arguments to invalidate the ascription of the power of creation to anything but God, and then he concentrates on physical causation, noting that the majority of schol- ars aﬀirm it. He then maintains that souls are related to bodies by way of conduct and governance (taʿalluqʿalā sabīl al-taṣarruf wa-l-tadbīr). Basedonthisconclusionheoffersahierarchalarrangementoftheworld of intellects and souls on the basis of their causal relations to bodies. tique of nominalism byarguing that universal meaningsas wellas abstractentities do exist in reality. These findings are significant if one seeks to trace the further development of Platonism in Islamic philosophy in the centuries after his death. It isworthmentioningalsothatal-Rāzī’sstanceregardingthePlatonicformschanged throughout the course of his intellectual life. For instance, in Al-mabāḥiṯ and Ni- hāyat al-ʿuqūl he denies the existence of Platonic forms and aﬀirms that univer- sals exist only mentally. However, in his Al-mulaḫḫaṣ he not only denies mental existence and asserts that universals exist as immaterial substance in reality, but also he confirms that he supports Platonic forms. He writes: “The forms which are copied(al-manqūla)fromPlato:thattheremustbeanimmortal,persistentandeter- nal (bāqi, abadī, sarmadī) being in every qualitative nature (ṭabīʿa nawʿiyya), and we have endorsed this notion in ontology.” He also writes: “Those who aﬀirm the mental forms aﬀirm them as imprinted in mind ( munṭabiʿa fī al-ḏihn). But we af- firm them as self-subsisting forms just like what the Great Plato says.” See al-Rāzī, Al-mulaḫḫaṣ fī al-ḥikma wa-l-manṭiq,MS BerlinStaatsbibliothekOr.Oct. 629. See alsoMuḥammadṢāliḥal-Zarkān,Faḫral-Dīnal-Rāzīwa-ārāʾuhual-kalāmiyyawa- l-falsafiyya (Cairo: Dār al-Fikr, 1963), p. 501-9. See al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib, vol. 3, book 7, p. 8-14, and Faḫr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, Kitāb al- nafs wa’l-rūḥ wa šarḥ quwāhuma, ed. Mohamad Ṣaġīr Ḥasan al-Ma’ṣūmī (Cairo: Maktabat al-Thaqāfah a-l-Dīniyyah, 2009), p. 31-37. In other words, he gives three arguments to prove that only God can exercise the power of bringing to existence or the act of creation ex nihilo. AL-RĀZĪ ON THE THEOLOGIANS’ MATERIALISM 97 In this hierarchy, the more lofty the immaterial being is, the more dis- tant is its relation to bodies. In a similar vein, the loftier the soul is, the higher-ranked is the body it governs. As such, the pure intellects (al-ʿuqūlal-maḥḍa),accordingtothephilosophers’nomenclature(oral- malāʾika al-muqarrabūn, according to al-Rāzī’s), have no relation with any body whatsoever. However, the power they possess is manifested by the emanation of the light of knowledge to the intellect below it in the hierarchy and so on. After the pure intellects come the practical angels (al-malāʾika al-ʿamaliyyūn), or what the philosophers term the souls(al-nufūs).Theroleofsoulsistogoverntheworldofbodies(tadbīr ʿālam al-aǧsām). At the bottom of this arrangement come the human souls which govern the human body, then the animal souls, and finally vegetative souls. Unliketheontologicalarguments,forwhichAl-Rāzīpresentsadirect refutation, he simply leaves the remainder of the arguments for mate- rialism to stand without offering a refutation. Notably, as we will see, some of the arguments which al-Rāzī puts in the mouths of the theolo- gians comprise logical fallacies, some of which, as in A1, might go unno- ticed,while others,suchasin A6,are explicit.Perhapsal-Rāzīintended the fallacious formulations to demonstrate their weaknesses. For the purposes of this paper I simply underline the fallacies in the arguments ashe presentsthem,leavingtherefutationsofA1-A10foranotherocca- sion, as they fall within al-Rāzī’s positive account of theory of the soul. 3. EPISTEMOLOGICAL ARGUMENTS (EA) The materialist theologians’ epistemological arguments (EA), as al- Rāzī expounds them, divide into two sets: argument EA1, in which ap- peal is made to the self-evident knowledge each of us is said to have of own agency to argue that the agent of our actions is our material body; andEA2,whichappealtotheself-evidentknowledgewearesaidtohave of our self to argue that the true nature of man is the material body. Prior to framing these arguments, al-Rāzī lays the ground by empha- sising the significance of self-evident knowledge ( al-ʿilm al-badīhī). He defines self-evident knowledge as pre-reflective knowledge: that which is immediately accepted by the untrained mind without any need for further reflection or demonstration. He maintains that there must be self-evidentknowledge,otherwisetherecouldbenoacquiredknowledge As shown in table 1, EA1 comprises one argument A1 according to al-Rāzī’s listing, while EA2 comprises three arguments A6, A9 and A10. 98 AMAL A. AWAD (al-ʿilm al-kasbī), since the former is the basis for the latter. The cer- tainty of self-evident knowledge plays a key role in al-Rāzī’s exposition of the epistemological arguments. 3.1. Epistemological Argument (EA1) As noted in the introduction, only a single argument for materialism (A1) is posited based on our self-evident knowledge of our own agency. Al-Rāzī formulates the argument in a syllogistic form, and then elabo- rateseachpremise.Hewrites:“Whatindicatesthatthesoulisaspecific body is that the knowledge of the properties of the self is self-evident (badīhī); if so, then the knowledge of the self (al-ʿilm bi-l-ḏāt) is self- evident. This entails that our knowledge of our specific self ( ḏātunā al- maḫṣūṣa)isself-evidenttoo.Ifthisisestablished,thenourownselfmust be a body.” The syllogism may be set out as follows: (A1-1) Knowledge of the properties of the self is self-evident (badīhī) (A1-2) If the knowledge of the properties of the self is self-evident, then the knowledge of the self is self-evident From which he will conclude: The self must be this body I now explicate each premise of (A1) according to al-Rāzī’s own expo- sition. (A1-1) Knowledge of the properties of the self is self-evident Ourknowledgeofthepropertiesofourselvesisself-evident(ʿilmbadīhī). This is because I necessarily know that I see, hear, say, know, think, de- sire, rage, enter a house, leave, travel to a certain country and return from there[andsoon].Thosewhodisputethatthesekindsofknowledgeareself- evidentwouldbedisputingthemostobviousandsturdyself-evidentknowl- edges.Hence,itisproventhatone’sknowledgeofthepropertiesofone’sself is self-evident. See al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib, vol. 3, book 7, p. 26. See al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib, vol. 3, book 7, p. 26. Al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib, vol. 3, book 7, p. 26. AL-RĀZĪ ON THE THEOLOGIANS’ MATERIALISM 99 In defending this premise, al-Rāzī argues that we all possess a sub- jective awareness of our agency over our own actions, or in other words we have pre-reflective knowledge that it is we who initiate, execute and control our own volitional actions. This sense of agency is tightly inte- grated with the sense of ownership, which is the implicit sense that we are the owners of our own actions. Al-Rāzī describes the actions carried out by the agent as being properties of that agent or the marks of one’s character. Al-Rāzī considers that this establishes that the attribution of one’s action to one’s self, or, as he puts it, the knowledge of the properties of the self, is self-evident knowledge (ʿilm badīhī). This concludes his reasoning in favour of premise (A1-1). (A1-2) If the knowledge of the properties of the self is self-evident, then the knowledge of the self is self-evident Here a problem arises. We may quote al-Rāzī’s exposition of premise (A1-2), underlining the statements which appear most problematic. The second premise states that: if the knowledge of the properties of the self is self-evident then the  knowledge of the self [as distinct entity] (al- ʿilmbi-ḏātal-nafs)mustbeself-evidenttoo.Theproofisthatmyknowledge thatIsee,hear,reasonandreflect,isajudgmentonmyselfthattheseprop- erties are positively attributed to it [my self] (ḥukmun ʿalā nafsī bi-ṯubūt hāḏihal-ṣifātla-hā).Andtheonewhoattributessomethingtoanotherthing must first know both parts [properties and self]. Thus, if my knowledge of  the existence of my self (ʿilmī bi-wuǧūd nafsī) is acquired, then I must have been doubtful of the existence of my self before acquiring this knowl- edge. He who doubts the existence of the self would never know the specific properties attributed to it (al-ṣifāt al-maḫṣūṣa bi-hā). As we have estab- lished [in premise (A1-1)] that this [the knowledge of the properties of the self] is self-evident, then the knowledge of  the existence of the self must be self-evident too (waǧab ann yakūn al-ʿilm bi-wuǧūd al-nafs badīhī). Themajorpremise (A1-2) is intended to be the bridgeto establishing that the attribution of our actions to ourselves is a case of self-evident knowledge.Theargumentforthispremiseisbasedonimplicitappealto Formoredetailsonal-Rāzī’stheoryofaction,seeAymanShihadeh, TheTeleological Ethics of Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (Brill, 2006). Al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib, vol. 3, book 7, p. 27. Here is a summary of the ambiguity in this passage: (i) Al-Rāzī promises to establish that  knowledge of the self is self- evident (l. 1-2). (ii) He then switches to  the knowledge of the existence of my self in the argument, treating it as if it were identical to  (l. 7-8). (iii) The conclusion establishes : that the existence of the self is self-evident (l. 9-10). 100 AMAL A. AWAD a principle I call Logical Rule 1 (LR1): knowing the relation between x and y presupposes prior knowledge of both x and y. Based on this prin- ciple, the argument underpinning (A1-2) then runs that insofar as the attribution of actions to the self comprises a case of self-evident knowl- edge, thenprior to thisattribution one mustpossess self-evident knowl- edge of both the actions and the self. Hence, the knowledge of the self is self-evident, and (A1-2) is established. We should note, however, that in the way al-Rāzī formulates it, (A1-2) contains an ambiguity. It is artic- ulated in a way that invites the reader to understand it as referring to the knowledge of the self (al-ʿilm bi-ḏāt al-nafs), which is the thesis al- Rāzī intends to establish, whereas what is established by this premise is in fact the knowledge of the existence of the self. But the knowledge of existence of the self does not appear in (A1) as a premise, nor does he seek to prove it. It is a foreign thesis. Hence in the first lines of the extract above al-Rāzī promises to prove : that the knowledge of the self is self-evident, then he interpolates a foreign proposition about the knowledge of existence of the self, ending up concluding : that the knowledge of the existence of the self is self- evident.Thesetwopropositionsandarebynomeansinterchange- able:thereisquiteadifferencebetweenoursayingthatoneknows xand thatoneknowsthatxexists,theformerentailingfurtherknowledge(the perception of something as a distinct or discrete entity) that knowledge of mere existence need not include. Surprisingly, although the premise (A1-2) concludes  that “the knowledge of the existence of the self is self-evident” as shown in the text, al-Rāzī overlooks this and uses  that the knowledge of the self is self-evident’ as if it were the consequent of the major premise (A1-2). Then he applies it in deriving the conclusion of argument A1 (explained below). Conclusion of A1: The self must be this body As we have seen, although the second premise above does not estab- lishthatknowledgetheself isself-evident,thisclaimneverthelessplays an essential part in drawing the conclusion to A1. The argumentation underlying the conclusion can be formulated as follows. Insofarastheknowledgeoftheselfisself-evident,thentheselfmust bethisbody.Thisisbecauseprovingtheexistenceofathingwhichisnei- therabodynorapartofabodyisnotself-evident;suchproofsdependon reflection and demonstration. In other words, the thesis that the self is an immaterial substance is not self-evident, whereas the claim that the AL-RĀZĪ ON THE THEOLOGIANS’ MATERIALISM 101 self is a body can be established on self-evident grounds. Consequently, the self must be this body and nothing beyond it. 3.2. Epistemological Arguments (EA2) EA2 encompasses A6, A9 and A10, which are based on self-evident knowledgeofone’sself;ofthese,A6philosophicallyspeakingisthemost interesting. 3.2.1. Argument A6 The overall structure of A6 is as follows: Self-knowledge is the most fundamental and certain kind of knowledge. Hence, knowledge of anything else other than one’s own self is corollary to self-knowledge (tābiʿun li-ʿilmī bi-nafsī). Therefore, if the true nature of the self were that it is an immaterial substance, then necessarily one would know (yaʿlam bi-l-ḍarūra) that it is so. Yet no one possesses necessary knowl- edge(ʿilmḍarūrī)thatheisanimmaterialsubstance.Thus,theoriginal assumption, that the self is immaterial substance, is absurd. In formulating argument A6, al-Rāzī aﬀirms that the awareness of one’sselfispeculiarlydirect,inbothanepistemicsenseandametaphys- ical sense. It is epistemically direct in that one is not aware of one’s self by being aware of something else. It is metaphysically direct in that no event or process mediates between one’s awareness and one’s own self. Hence, unlike A1, which attempts to deduce the self-evident nature of self-knowledge from our primitive awareness of our agency over our ac- tions,argumentA6simplyallowsthatself-knowledgeisthemostfunda- mentalandimmediatekindofknowledge,whichcannotbeinferredfrom anymoreimmediateknowledge,andisinasenseinfallibleandimmune tothekindsoferrorthatarebroughtaboutbymisidentificationorflawed deduction. Evidently, the presupposition which aﬀirms the immediacy and fundamentality of self-knowledge in A6 is philosophically plausi- ble per se; however, it transpires that in the argument it is fallaciously employed. This is because the argument commits a category mistake: it interprets self-knowledge as though it were equivalent to knowledge of the self, yet the former corresponds to the direct first-person knowl- edge of one’s self which is self-evident, whereas the latter corresponds totheknowledgeoftheessenceoftheselfwhichisattainableonlybyre- flection and demonstration. The direct epistemic first-person access to Al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib, vol. 3, book 7, p. 29-30. See also, al-Rāzī, Al-išāra, p. 376. 102 AMAL A. AWAD the self is neither identical with, nor tells us anything about, the onto- logical status of the self; for the former belongs to the epistemological realm while the latter pertains to the ontological realm. The unjustifi- ablejumpthatA6commitsbetweenthesetwodistinctrealmsmakesthe argument fallacious. Interestingly, al-Rāzī, so it seems, grounds A6 on suchalogicalfallacyintentionally,sincethishastheeffectofweakening the theologians’ materialist argument internally. That al-Rāzī was not himselffooledbythisfallacyisevidentfromelsewhereinhisAl-maṭālib wherehegivesaclearaccountofthedistinctionbetweenself-knowledge and the knowledge of the essence of the self. 3.2.2. Argument A9 Argument A9 is based on the philosophers’ definition of man ( ḥadd al-ʾinsān). According to this definition, man is a material substance (ǧawhar ǧismānī) that possesses six properties: nourishing (muġtaḏī), growing (nāmī), reproducing (muwallid), perceiving (ḥassās), volitional movement(mutaḥarikbi-l-irāda)andrationality(nāṭiq).Theargument then posits that these properties, according to the philosophers’ defini- tion, are descriptive of a material body, not an immaterial substance. As such, man is the material body that possesses these properties. Ac- cordingly,thephilosophers’proposalthatmanisnotamaterialbodybut rather an immaterial substance will contradict their original definition of the man as stated above. Al-Rāzī then considers a reply (on behalf of the philosophers) as follows: Suppose we accept the assumption that man is this material body that possesses these properties; still, though, we need to know whether there is an immaterial substance which governs this body. Al-Rāzī replies (on behalf of the theologians) that what this reply posits is a governor of this body, which takes us far afield from the original in- quiry (the nature of man per se). Notwithstanding, even if we accept the Al-Rāzī makes this distinction in a response to a hypothetical contender who raises thefollowingquestion:ifself-knowledgeisthemostimmediateandself-evidentkind of knowledge, then why is the designation of the essence of the self subject to such massive debate? Al-Rāzī replies first by an elaborate explication of the immediacy and infallibility of self-knowledge. Second, he aﬀirms that this kind of knowledge is self-evident, therefore it is not sought for by demonstration. And third, he indicates that what is sought for by demonstration is not the aforementioned kind of self- knowledge, rather, it is the knowledge of the essence of the self (that it is an imma- terialsubstancewhichisneitherspace-occupyingnorinherentinaspace-occupying entity). See al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib, vol. 3, book 7, p. 22-5. Al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib, vol. 3, book 7, p 33. AL-RĀZĪ ON THE THEOLOGIANS’ MATERIALISM 103 philosophers’ reply, and turn instead to investigate the governor of the human body, we must likewise reject the thesis that the governor of the human body is a separate immaterial soul, for agency (causality) is to be ascribed exclusively to God. This latter reply proposed by al-Rāzī on behalf of the theologians bears on occasionalism, on which al-Rāzī rests the bulk of the theologians’ ontological arguments, as shown earlier. 3.2.3. Argument A10 The final epistemological argument appeals to the folk identification of the nature of man, or the definition of man which is obtained from pre-theoretical conviction. According to this argument, if any sensible person is asked what man is, she will point at the external body frame. Andifthatsensiblepersonwaschallengedbysomeonewhoclaimedthat the true nature of man is an immaterial substance, not this body, she would reject this claim as counterintuitive. Al-Rāzī remarks that this is thecentralargumentusedbymosttheologiansindefendingtheirmate- rialistic stance (al-ḥuǧǧa allatī ʿalayhā taʿwīl al-mutakallimīn). 4. ARGUMENTS BASED ON THE AGENCY OF THE BODY (AA) The arguments based on the agency of the body correspond to A2, A4, A7 and A8 according to al-Rāzī’s listing. The notion of agency plays acrucialroleinthematerialists’attackondualism.Thisisbecausesub- stance dualists hold that a person is composed of two parts: a body and a soul; or, to be more precise, the fundamental part that is essential to a person and which constitutes her identity is the immaterial soul, i.e. a person is identical with a non-physical soul. Conversely, materialists (monists) such as the theologians who allow only one ontological reality in the created world, deem the person to be identical with the material body.However,theymaintainthatapersonisnotjustanybody;persons are bodies that can do a certain array of activities, such as think, com- municate, feel, etc. For ease of exposition, let us refer to these arrays of activities which mark what a person is as “p-functions,” and the activi- tiesdoneinordertofulfilthosefunctionsas“ p-activities.”So,according to the materialist, a person is a body which has the ability to fulfil var- ious p-functions – or, we might say, a person is p-functioning body. As such, the dualist ascribes the agency behind the p-activities, as well as Al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib, vol. 3, book 7, p. 34. SeeShihadeh,“ClassicalAshʿarīanthropology,”p.437ff.,andVasalou,“Subjectand body in Baṣran Muʿtazilism.” 104 AMAL A. AWAD perceptions, to the immaterial soul, whereas the materialist attributes themtothematerialbody.Onecritiqueamaterialistcouldposeagainst dualism is to invalidate the ascription of agency to the immaterial sub- stance based on the spatial discontinuity between the material and the immaterial. In a similar vein, a materialist can defend his position by maintaining that the fact that p-activities are performed exclusively by the material body is based simply on common sense. Al-Rāzī, speaking on behalf of a materialist theologian, pursues these two main pathways in setting out the ways to establish materialism based on the notion of agency. Thus he considers a negative pathway, corresponding to argu- ments A2 and A8, which critiques the attribution of agency to the im- material soul based on spatial discontinuity; and a positive pathway, corresponding to arguments A4 and A7, which seeks to prove that the agent of the person’s actions and perceptions is the material body. 4.1. Arguments A2 and A8 Thecritiqueoftheascriptionofagencytotheimmaterialsoulistaken upinargumentsA2andA8.ThethrustoftheargumentswhichAl-Rāzī expounds is that if a person is an immaterial soul, then common as- criptions of agency, such as I moved, I walked, I ate etc., will constitute erroneous statements, because the immaterial soul cannot be the agent of these actions. If the soul is an immaterial substance – not a body nor inhering in a body – then the notions: I moved, rested, entered the house and left it, went to the market and returned to the mosque, would entail erroneous statements (aqwāl bāṭila). This is because all these attributions cannot be aﬀirmed for the incorporeal substance ( mumtaniʿat al-ṯubūt fī ḥaqq al- ǧawhar al-muǧarrad ʿan al-ǧismiyya). Yet these claims are self-evidently correct, because, pre-philosophically, every rational person knows neces- sarily the truth of his saying: I entered the house and left it, as he knows the truth of his saying: I learned such-and-such, and understood such-and- such. Thus to attack [the credibility of these propositions] (al-qadḥ fīhā) is to attack the most obvious self-evident knowledge (yakūn qadḥan fī aẓhar al-badīhiyyāt). Al-Rāzī then posits a counterargument which contends that the ar- gumentintheaboveextractrestsontheordinaryusageofanexpression whichcouldneverthelessbemetaphorical,andsobesubjecttointerpre- tation: so, when I say “I entered the house” I perhaps mean my body entered the house. If this is the case then the above argument would no Al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib, vol. 3, book 7, p. 27. AL-RĀZĪ ON THE THEOLOGIANS’ MATERIALISM 105 longerhold,becausetheactualmeaningofthestatementdoesnotentail the ascription of agency to the immaterial substance. Al-Rāzī replies to his counterargument that the original argument does not rest on terms and expressions which are prone to different interpretations: it relies on social-linguistic norms which point to one specific meaning. In other words, what a person actually means when she says that she entered the house is that she herself entered the house, which is to say, she is the agent of the action. Therefore, to claim that a person is equivalent to the immaterial substance (soul) would be to claim that the immate- rial substance entered the house, which is absurd. Moreover, if the true nature of a person is the immaterial substance, and the body is nothing butaninstrumentthatthisimmaterialsubstancepossesses,thenthere shouldbenodifferencebetweensomeone’ssayingthatherbodyentered thehouseandthatherhorseenteredthehouse,insofarasshepossesses abodyandshepossessesahorse.However,everysanepersonknowsthe difference between these two statements (my self and my horse). Since claiming that the true nature of the person is an immaterial substance would eliminate this important difference, the latter claim must there- fore be fallacious. Al-Rāzī pays particular attention to the claim that it is inconceiv- able to ascribe agency to the immaterial soul given the discontinuity between the material (spatially extended) and the immaterial (non- spatially-extended). This objection applies both to the agency of the soul, and to the accounts of the relation between the soul and the body which presuppose an immaterial governor (the soul) of a material governed (the body). Thus in an arresting passage Al-Rāzī writes: If the soul is an immaterial substance devoid of volumetric magnitude and extension (muǧarrad ʿan al-ḥaǧmiyya wa-l-taḥayyuz), then its actions will not depend on the direct contact with the locus of action (la-mtanaʿ an yatawaqaf fiʿluhā ʿalā mumāssat maḥall al-fiʿl ). Because the unextended [object] cannot be in direct contact with the extended [object] (li-ʾanna mā lā yakūnu mutaḥayyizan imtanaʿ an yaṣīra mumāssan li-l-mutaḥayyiz). If thisisthecase,thentheactionof[theimmaterialsoul]willbeamatterofin- vention(ʿalāsabīlal-iḫtirāʿ)withouttheneedfordirectcontact(mumāssa) or juxtaposition (mulāqāh) between the agent (al-fāʿil) and the locus of ac- tion(maḥallal-fiʿl ).Ifthisisthecase,thenoneshouldbeabletomovebodies without touching them nor touching something that touches them. This is because [we conclude from the assumption that] the soul is able to move [its] body without the need for touching it that the soul should be able to move [any] body without the intermediary of contact. All bodies are equally movable,andtherelationbetweenthesoulandallbodiesisequal;sincethe soul is able to move some bodies without contact, it must be able to move 106 AMAL A. AWAD the rest without contact. Yet this [conclusion] is self-evidently false (bāṭil bi-l-badīha). Consequently, the soul is only able to move [a given thing] on condition that it is in direct contact with something in direct contact with it. But any object in direct contact with any given body is itself extended [space-occupying], [and] as such, the essence of the self must be extended [space-occupying]. Thus it appears that although al-Rāzī endorses dualism at this late stage of his intellectual life, he still seems uncomfortable with the idea of the discontinuity between the extended and the unextended. Perhaps this was due to his inability to offer a plausible explanation for the agency of the immaterial soul over its body (controlling and governing it) and its agency over the p-activities of the human being (actions and perceptions). In other words, he was not able to demystify the enigma of what is now known as the problem of mind-body causation. This sceptical stance, however, should come as no surprise, given that in the contemporary philosophy of mind this problem is neither resolved nor even fully explained, eight centuries after al-Rāzī’s death. As such, al-Rāzī’s perplexity regarding this issue is not only entirely comprehen- sible, but also represents a novel philosophical insight into a genuine philosophical problem. 4.2. Arguments A4 and A7 The aim of arguments A4 and A7 is to prove that the material body is the agent of actions and perceptions (both particular and universal). The overall structure of arguments A4 and A7 can be formulated along the following lines: (i) A man is a substance (ǧawhar) capable of performing p-activities (ii) The actual agent of p-activities is the material body therefore, (iii) A man is a material body Premise (i) is self-evident; in his exposition al-Rāzī therefore fo- cuses on establishing premise (ii). Argument A4 is designed to estab- lishthatthebodyistheactualagentof p-activitiesbecauseeverysingle functionofthe p-activitiesisdonebyaspecificbodypart. Forexample, Al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib, vol. 3, book 7, p. 32. This argument, which casts doubt on the causal interaction between the immaterial soul and the material body, appears for the first time in Maʿālim uṣūl al-dīn, p. 136. Al-Rāzīwrites:“Iftheself-evidentknowledge( al-badīha)judgesthatIseeandlisten, thenitmustjudgethatIamcharacterisedbytheseproperties.”Al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib, vol. 3, book 7, p. 28. AL-RĀZĪ ON THE THEOLOGIANS’ MATERIALISM 107 smilingisafunctionofthelips,tastingfoodisthefunctionofthemouth, and even thinking and reflection are functions of the brain. No single human activity necessitates an explanation above and beyond the body parts. As a result, if man is a substance capable of fulfilling p-activities and all p-activities are done by body parts, then the man must be this body. Perhaps the only human activity whose ascription to the body re- quires further elaboration is the perception of universals. Therefore, al- Rāzī allocates argument A7 to proving that the agent of universal and particular perceptions is the material body. The argument is intended to show that this body is the seat or house of particular and univer- sal perceptions, as well as the agent of intentional apprehensions and movements (al-idrākāt wa-l-taḥrīkāt al-irādiyya). Hence, this body and its components are the person. He divides A7 into three premises and a conclusion. Inpremise(A7-1),al-Rāzīaﬀirmsthatthebodyisthelocusofpartic- ular perceptions. He argues that what distinguishes a living body from a non-living object is the feelings or the particular perceptions. For in- stance, if someone touches a fire with her hand, she will feel pain in her hand.Thus,therehappensinthebodyofmancertaindistinctivefeelings theoccurrenceofwhichmeansnothingbuttheattainmentofparticular perceptions in that body. Premise (A7-2), which represents the thrust of the argument, posits that the body is the locus of universal perceptions. Al-Rāzī then argues, based on the first premise, that if the body is the locus of particular per- ceptions, then the body must be the locus of universal perceptions too. This is because, taking the perception of the particular pain as an ex- ample, the constitutive essence (al-ḏātī al-muqawwim), or what makes painpain,istheuniversalquiddity(pain-ness).Therefore,theperceiver of the particular pain must perceive the constitutive components of it (pain-ness) which is a universal meaning. Based on that, the perception of the particular pain presupposes the perception of the universal pain. Thus, if the body is the locus of the particular pain (first premise), then it must be the locus of the universal pain too. As such, the body is the locus of universal perceptions. Premise (A7-3) is the claim that the body is the agent of intentional actions and apprehensions. Al-Rāzī presents an argument that the Al-Rāzīmentionsthisargumentin Al-mabāḥiṯasacounter-argumenttotheclaimof the immateriality of the soul. Then he refutes it outright. See, al-Rāzī, Al-mabāḥiṯ, vol. 2, p. 389-90. See also Al-muḥaṣṣal, p. 225 108 AMAL A. AWAD agent of intentional movement (al-muḥarrik bi-l-irāda) must possess prior knowledge of the object it intends to move, because “it is impos- sible to intentionally move an object which is neither conceived nor felt.” Hence, the agent of intentional action (al-fāʿil al-muḫtār) must be an apprehender (mudrik) in the first place. Based on the first two premises, the apprehender of both particular and universal perceptions is the body; so the agent of intentional actions must be the body too. Consequently, if the body is the agent of all the human perceptions and actionsandthepersonisnothingbutasubstancecapableofperforming these actions and perceptions, then human beings must be their bodies. 5. ARGUMENTS BASED ON BODY-SOUL CAUSAL RELATIONS (CRA) In the expositions of the fourth and final set of arguments (A3 and A5), those based on body-soul causal relations, we glimpse some of al-Rāzī’s genuine doubts about substance dualism. Substance dualism states that a person is composed of two fundamental parts, an immate- rial soul (mind) and a material body, where the former constitutes the essentialpart(theonethatisidenticaltotheperson).Giventhisthesis, the person (the soul) is connected to its body via a kind of mysterious causal relation which al-Rāzī usually refers to as conduct and gover- nance (al-taṣarruf wa-l-tadbīr). This means that the soul does not reside within the body, nor is it connected to it through any physically explicable sort of connection. Rather, it gives commands to its body without being in direct contact with it. Furthermore, the exact location of the soul is indefinable. Al-Rāzī states that it is neither in the world nor outside it, and neither connected to the world nor separated from it (mawǧūd lā dāḫil al-ʿālam wa-lā ḫāriǧ ʿanhu wa-lā muttaṣil bi-l-ʿālam wa-lā munfaṣil ʿanhu). Arguments A3 and A5 are intended to attack the idea of there be- ing causal relations between the body and the soul. Al-Rāzī expounds an argument to the effect that if the soul/person is an immaterial sub- stancewhichisrelatedtothematerialbodyinthewayofcontrolandgov- ernance (ʿalā sabīl al-taṣarruf wa-l-tadbīr) then it is not inconceivable thatthisrelationshouldceasetoexist. Insofarasthereisnoplausible Al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib, vol. 3, book 7, p. 32. Al-Rāzī usually refers to the causal relation between the soul and the body by the term taʿalluq, hence taʿalluqʿalā sabīl al-taṣarruf wa-l-tadbīr. Al-Rāzī refers to the separability and independence of the soul from its body. Ac- AL-RĀZĪ ON THE THEOLOGIANS’ MATERIALISM 109 reason why there should be a specific connection between this particu- larsoulwiththisparticularbody,thenthesoulcouldleaveonebodyand connecttoanotherbody.However,thiscasehasneveroccurred.Assuch, thesoul(theperson)isnotanimmaterialsubstance.Al-Rāzīthenposits a counter-argument which maintains that perhaps each soul has a nat- ural love (ʿišq ṭabīʿī) for its specific body and not for any other body, and therefore sticks to its body and does not transfer to another. He replies that this claim is weak because it offers no plausible explanation for the specificationofeachsoultoaspecificbody.Thenotionthatthesoulhasa kind of love for this body is equivalent to the notion that the soul enjoys sensible pleasure, and in this way the body represents a mere tool for the soul to attain these pleasures. But these pleasures can be attained by using any sound body. As such, the problem of specification remains. It is worth noting that the above counter-argument (the love rela- tion between the soul and its body) is not posited just for the sake of argument (as many of al-Rāzī’s counterarguments in fact are); rather, it is indeed Avicenna and al-Baġdādī’s own explanation of the nature of the connection between soul and body. That al-Rāzī seems uncon- vincedbythisexplanationisshownbythefactthatherepeatedlyraises concerns about the nature of the connection between the body and the soul in different places in his Al-maṭālib as well as his Maʿālim uṣūl al- dīn. This indicates that although he accepts substance dualism, specif- ically al-Baġdādī’s version, he nevertheless finds soul-body causal rela- tions problematic. Al-Rāzī allocates a special section to hypothetical thoughtexperimentsaimingtocastdoubtontheseparabilityofthesoul fromthebody.Thischaptercomesjustafterestablishinghisowntheory of the nature of the soul (a theory that concurs well with al-Baġdādī’s). He entitles it “On the [question] that: Is it conceivable to have one soul governing two bodies and/or two souls governing one body?” After dis- cussing both possibilities, he concludes that if one believes that the per- cording to a substance dualist, the immaterial soul is not embodied within its body, rather, it is utterly separated from it and only related to it in a way that enables it to govern and control it. SeeAbūal-Barakātal-Baġdādī, Al-muʿtabarfīal-ḥikma,3vol.(Hayderabad,1358), vol. 2, p. 345. Al-Rāzī also mentions the love relation (taʿalluq al-ʿāšiq bi-l-maʿšūq) betweenthebodyandthesoulinAl-mabāḥiṯ,vol.2,p.392-3,whereheremarksthat it is a weak stance. Alternatively, he aﬀirms that the connection between the soul and the body is of a kind that entails control and governance (taʿalluq ʿalā sabīl al-taṣarruf wa-l-tadbīr) rather than love. Yet this remark does not resolve the ex- planatory problem of the causal reaction between the material and the immaterial. Al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib, book 7, article 3, ch. 12, p. 145-7. Al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib, vol. 3, book 7, p. 145-6. 110 AMAL A. AWAD son is identical with an immaterial soul which is connected to her body in a way of conduct and governance (ʿalā sabīl al-taṣarruf wa-l-tadbīr), then both hypothetical proposals, having one soul governing two bodies and/or two souls governing one body, must not be inconceivable (yaǧibu anlāyakūnamumtaniʿan).Butbothpossibilitiesarebizarre.Therefore, theremustbesomethingawryabouttheoriginalassumption(substance dualism) as it leaves the door open for these bizarre outcomes. Ifthesoulisanimmaterialsubstancedistinctfromthebody,thenitmust be possible (la-kāna yaǧibu an yaṣiḥḥa ʿalayhā) for [this soul] to transfer from this body to another; and then, after a while, to return to the [first] body (as we elucidated in “On the use of instruments”). As long as this is not the case, then our claim that the soul is an immaterial substance which is neither a body nor inhering in a body, is problematic (muškil). Itisimportanttonotethatalthoughal-Rāzīfindsbody-soulcausalre- lationsproblematic,hebynomeansabandonsdualismoutright.Rather, he proposes a potential explanation for this problem which amounts to the suggestion that there might exist a specific quality ( ḫāṣṣiyya) for each soul and body which makes each specific soul exclusively suitable for a specific body. It is worth remarking, however, that the explanation al-Rāzī proposes adds nothing to al-Baġdādī’s love relation, if the latter is understood correctly. Indeed, al-Rāzī seems to misinterpret the love relation posited by al-Baġdādī as being a love which attains to materi- alistic pleasures; in fact, according to al-Baġdādī it can be interpreted as a specific kind of attractive force that occurs between a specific body and a specific soul. This attractive force is not far from al-Rāzī’s “spe- cific quality” that characterizes a specific body and makes it the one to which a specific soul connects. Certainly, al-Rāzī realises that neither his explanation nor al-Baġdādī’s is demonstratively suﬀicient; he adds, therefore,thatoneshouldacceptthatitisimpossibleforhumanmindsto discover the secrets of God’s creatures in their totality. And the enigma of the soul is the foremost of these secrets. Al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib, vol. 3, book 7, p. 146. Al-Baġdādī states that the relation between the soul and the body is a revelational naturalrelationwhichresembleslove(ʿalāqaṭabīʿiyyailhāmiyyaka-l-maḥabba).In this sense, it is neither volitional (irādiyya) such that one can cease it at any time, nor coercive (qasriyya) such that the soul is forced to connect to a body while hating this connection. See al-Baġdādī, Al-muʿtabar, vol. 2, p. 345. Al-Rāzī, Al-maṭālib, vol. 3, book 7, p. 146. AL-RĀZĪ ON THE THEOLOGIANS’ MATERIALISM 111 6. CONCLUSION This paper has offered a description and analysis of al-Rāzī’s recon- struction of the materialist doctrine proposed by medieval Muslim the- ologiansinrespecttothenatureofthesoul.Althoughal-Rāzīalludesto the theologians’ materialism in almost all his works, a comprehensive analysis of the arguments for this stance appears only in Al-maṭālib, wherein al-Rāzī himself espouses dualism. Indeed, al-Rāzī had rejected the notion the soul is the body frame (hāḏā al-badan) throughout his intellectual life. Inhisreconstructionofthetheologians’materialismal-Rāzīdisplays two main approaches to arguing that the soul (the true nature of man) is nothing but a material substance: a global approach according to which one denies the existence of immaterial substances tout court; and a specific approach according to which one attacks the dualistic outlook which holds that the true essence of man and the agent of all his perceptions and actions is an immaterial substance that is causally related to the material body. Al-Rāzī employs these two approaches to state the case for the theologians’ materialism. Hence, as this paper shows, his methodology can be reconstructed according to the following classification: • the global approach, which encompasses one set of arguments (on- tological arguments); and, • thespecificapproach,whichencompassesthreesetsofarguments: Epistemological Arguments, Arguments based on the Agency of the Body, and Arguments based on body-soul Causal Relations. Our review of the arguments for materialism set out by al-Rāzī of- ferssignificantinsightintothemethodologythroughwhichscholarsen- gaged in the philosophy of mind during the long medieval era; many of the arguments they employed, notably concerning doubts about body- soul causal relations or the denial of the existence of substances outside thematerialrealm,remainamongthemostcontestedissuesincontem- porary philosophy of mind. Acknowledgements.IamimmenselygratefultoDrTonyStreetfordiscussing thefirstdraftofthispaperwithmeandofferingvaluableinsightandguidance; I am also indebted to Dr Benedict Young for assistance with copyediting and proofreading; I extend my gratitude to Dr Mohammad Saleh Zarepour for his useful comments on the first draft of the paper; and I gratefully acknowledge the Hartwell Trust for support in conducting this research.
Arabic Sciences and Philosophy – Cambridge University Press
Published: Mar 1, 2023
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