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Al-Ghazali's Philosophical Theology$
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Frank Griffel

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195331622

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195331622.001.0001

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Al-Ghazālī on the Role of falsafa in Islam

Al-Ghazālī on the Role of falsafa in Islam

(p.97) 3 Al-Ghazālī on the Role of falsafa in Islam
Al-Ghazali's Philosophical Theology

Frank Griffel (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This brief chapter discusses al-Ghazali’s attitude toward the tradition of Aristotelianism in Islam (falsafa). His criticism of twenty teachings held by Muslim Aristotelians (falasifa), and among them most prominently Avicenna (Ibn Sina) has often been wrongly considered a destruction of falsafa. In reality, the book is about the epistemological status of certain teachings held by the Muslim falasida. In this work and in his autobiography, al-Ghazali recommends that one should consider every teaching of the falasifa individually, look into how it is supported by arguments, and based on that decide to reject or adopt it. All teachings that are supported by truly demonstrative arguments must be accepted. Even among those teachings of the falasifa that cannot be proven, many should be accepted as long as they do not violate revelation. Al-Ghazali believed that many true teachings of the philosophers, like their views on the human soul, were initially revealed to mankind through prophets and had entered that school in the days before Islam.

Keywords:   Greek philosophy, Islam, reason and revelation, epistemology, demonstration, apodeixis, dialectical arguments, Organon of Aristoteles

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