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Crisis and Certainty of Knowledge in al-Ghazali (1058-1111) and Descartes (1596-1650)

Crisis and Certainty of Knowledge in al-Ghazali (1058-1111) and Descartes (1596-1650) In his autobiographical account, the Munqidh min al-Dalāl, al-Ghazālī reflects on his conversion from skepticism to faith. Previous scholarship has interpreted this text as an anticipation of Cartesian positions regarding epistemic certainty. Although the existing similarities between al-Ghazālī and Descartes are striking, the focus of the present essay lies on the different philosophical aims pursued by the two thinkers. It is thus argued that al-Ghazālī operates with a broader notion of the Self than Descartes, because it is inclusive of the body. And it is shown that the two philosophers use completely diverging paradigms. While Descartes models his notion of evidence after mathematical certainty, al-Ghazālī draws his famous 'ilm al-yaqīnī (certain knowledge) from a religious context. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophy East and West University of Hawai'I Press

Crisis and Certainty of Knowledge in al-Ghazali (1058-1111) and Descartes (1596-1650)

Philosophy East and West , Volume 55 (1) – Dec 30, 2005

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1529-1898
Publisher site
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Abstract

In his autobiographical account, the Munqidh min al-Dalāl, al-Ghazālī reflects on his conversion from skepticism to faith. Previous scholarship has interpreted this text as an anticipation of Cartesian positions regarding epistemic certainty. Although the existing similarities between al-Ghazālī and Descartes are striking, the focus of the present essay lies on the different philosophical aims pursued by the two thinkers. It is thus argued that al-Ghazālī operates with a broader notion of the Self than Descartes, because it is inclusive of the body. And it is shown that the two philosophers use completely diverging paradigms. While Descartes models his notion of evidence after mathematical certainty, al-Ghazālī draws his famous 'ilm al-yaqīnī (certain knowledge) from a religious context.

Journal

Philosophy East and WestUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Dec 30, 2005

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