Volume 18, No. 2, 2022 Special Issue Interactions between analytic and Islamic philosophy/theology



  • Heat and Pain Identity Statements and the Imaginability Argument
    Michal Polák 

    Article 1 | Pages: (A1)5-31 | Abstract | DOI: 10.31820/ejap.18.2.1

    Even after many years of empirical and conceptual research there are underlying controversies which lead scholars to dispute identity theory. One of the most influential examples is Kripke’s modal argument leading to the rejection of the claim that pain and C-fibres firing are identical. The aim of the first part of the paper is to expose that Kripke does not rigorously distinguish the meaning of individual relata entering the identity relation, and therefore his claim about the faultiness of the analogy between propositions “heat is molecular motion”, and “pain is C-fibres firing”, is mistaken. Moreover, whilst much emphasis within metaphysics of mind-brain relations has been placed upon conscious phenomenal states, it might be worthwhile to also consider cases of unconscious phenomenal states. If one admits the unconscious phenomenal states, such as unconscious pain, then, Kripke’s claim is further discredited by the fact that even pain can be individuated through its contingent property. Identity statements about pain could therefore be analogous to any other identity statements. The second part of the paper focuses on the relevance of the modal argument in confrontation with empirical evidence. It argues against the assumption embedded in the modal argument that an identical neurobiological pattern occurs regardless of whether conscious pain is present or completely absent.
  • Sameness of Word
    J.T.M. Miller 

    Article 2 | Pages: (A2)5-26 | Abstract | DOI: 10.31820/ejap.18.2.2

    Although the metaphysics of words remains a relatively understudied domain, one of the more discussed topics has been the question of how to account for the apparent sameness of words. Put one way, the question concerns what it is that makes two word-instances (or tokens) instances of the same word. In this paper, I argue that the existing solutions to the problems all fail as they take the problem of sameness of word to be a problem about how one object relates to another. I propose an alternative solution to the problem of sameness of word which is instead focused on the intrinsic nature of the properties possessed by words. The result is a more thoroughgoing version of nominalism than is currently defended in the literature.


  • Introduction
    Abbas Ahsan and Marzuqa Karima (guest editors)


    This article is an introduction to the special issue on interactions between analytic and Islamic philosophy/theology. Islamic philosophy and theology have historically demonstrated the aptitude and scope in being able to engage with philosophical rationalist traditions beyond classical Islamic civilisation. Articles in this special issue of the European Journal of Analytic Philosophy provide a new and fresh outlook of the relation and influences between Islamic philosophical and theological traditions and the Western (analytic) philosophical tradition.
  • Towards An Analytic, Fārābian Conception of Orientalism
    Anthony Booth 

    Article 1 | Pages: (SI2)5-25 | Abstract | DOI: 10.31820/ejap.18.2.3

    In this paper, I attempt to develop what I call an ‘Analytic, Fārābian’ conception of Orientalism. The motivation for this conception is that it helps us with the task––identified by Wael B. Hallaq––of going beyond ‘rudimentary political slogans’ attached to the theory of Orientalism’ and instead to identifying Orientalism’s underlying ‘psycho-epistemic pathology’ (Hallaq 2018, 4). In order to do this properly, according to Hallaq, we need to find a methodological alternative to that which makes Orientalist discourse possible. Hallaq identifies the underlying problem as a commitment to secular humanism, and the solution its abandonment. However, I think the problem is a deeper one, which can roughly be stated as follows: how can we accept the pervasiveness of ideological influence without abandoning the idea that our theories aim (and to some extent succeed) at representing objective reality—such that we can say that Orientalism is a real phenomenon, and not merely something we happen to believe is a phenomenon. Conceiving Orientalism from within a Fārābian epistemology and using analytic tools to understand it (which I argue constitutes a unique and distinctive kind of fallibilism) makes head-way here where other conceptions fail.
  • The Philosophy of Antiphilosophy in Islam
    Imran Aijaz 

    Article 2 | Pages: (SI3)5-25 | Abstract | DOI: 10.31820/ejap.18.2.4

    In this article, I will examine Aristotle’s protreptic argument for the necessity of philosophy as it was deployed by Al-Kindi. I will show how a Muslim critic of philosophy, primarily one who is aligned with the theological outlook of Ibn Hanbal, can reasonably reject the protreptic argument as Al-Kindi presents it. The argument can, however, be reworked in a way to circumvent common criticisms of it presented by Hanbalī-style opponents of philosophy. Indeed, I will argue that, once the argument is properly clarified with reference to what constitutes ‘philosophy’, its soundness is incontrovertible. In closing, I will briefly discuss why Muslim critics of philosophy need not see the protreptic argument as threatening, as the inevitability of philosophy does not necessitate a commitment to all sorts of philosophical positions, however problematic these may be for Islamic doctrine.
  • Islamic Wittgensteinian Fideism?
    Edward Ryan Moad 

    Article 3 | Pages: (SI4)5-28 | Abstract | DOI: 10.31820/ejap.18.2.5

    This paper examines recent deployments of Wittgenstein’s thought, by Mustafa (2018) and Asad (2020), in defense of the Islamic “traditionalism” of Ibn Taymiyyah and the Hanbali school. I will briefly summarize the key features of Wittgenstein’s thought crucial to this, and then examine their ramifications. I argue that Wittgenstein’s position actually undermines any claim to interpretive authority, whether of the “rationalist” or salafi “traditionalist” sort. Secondly, the approach to religious language most commonly associated with Wittgenstein—so-called “Wittgensteinian Fideism” may pose bigger problems for traditionalists than the influence of classical philosophy or “rationalist” theological responses to modern skeptical challenges.
  • The Relevance of Kant’s Objection to the Ontological Arguments and Avicenna’s Exploration of Existence as an Alternative Grounding
    Ayşenur Ünügür Tabur 

    Article 4 | Pages: (SI5)5-27 | Abstract | DOI: 10.31820/ejap.18.2.6

  • Aḥwāl, Divine Simplicity, and Truthmakers
    Behnam Zolghadr 

    Article 5 | Pages: (SI6)5-25 | Abstract | DOI: 10.31820/ejap.18.2.7

    This paper is a comparative study between Brower’s solution to the problem of divine simplicity and that of Abū Hāšim al-Ǧubbāī (d. 933). First, I argue that the theory of aḥwāl is a semantic theory rather than a metaphysical one. Then, I present a reconstruction of Abū Hāšim al-Ǧubbāī’s theory of aḥwāl, based on Brower’s truthmaker theory of predication. Then, I show how Abū Hāšim would reply to some of the objections that Saenz raised against Brower’s truthmaker theory of divine simplicity. Later on, I discuss Abū Hāšim’s explanation of the similarities between the properties that God and creatures share.
  • Divine Simplicity and The Myth of Modal Collapse: An Islamic Neoplatonic Response
    Khalil Andani 

    Article 6 | Pages: (SI7)5-33 | Abstract | DOI: 10.31820/ejap.18.2.8

    This paper responds to the modal collapse argument against divine simplicity or classical theism offered by neo-classical or complex theists. The modal collapse argument claims that if God is both absolutely simple and absolutely necessary, then God’s act of creation is absolutely necessary, and therefore, the existence of the created world is also absolutely necessary. This means that God and His creation collapse into a single modal category of absolute necessity without any contingent beings. My response is grounded in the Islamic Neoplatonic philosophy of Ibn Sina and the Ismaili tradition. I offer four arguments that allow a Muslim Neoplatonist to absorb a modal collapse in a possible worlds modality while negating modal collapse within an Avicennian modality: First, the modal collapse objection is based on a possible worlds framework whose concept of necessity is overly broad; this framework fails to distinguish between God as ontologically necessary in Himself, created being as dependently necessary through another, and mere logical necessity, all of which are recognized by Ibn Sina and Islamic thinkers. Second, modal collapse arguments only demonstrate that creation is necessary through another but fails to prove that creation has ontological necessity or aseity––which only pertains to God; thus, no consequential modal collapse ensues when one’s modality recognizes creation as a “dependent necessary being” despite being modally necessary. Third, Islamic philosophers have a non-libertarian concept of God’s will and freedom that is immune to modal collapse objections. Finally, I argue that all classical and neo-classical theists must embrace a modally necessary creation because libertarian models of God’s will entail uncaused and brutely contingent effects.
  • How Much Should or Can Science Impact Theological Formulations? An Ashʿarī Perspective on Theology of Nature
    Shoaib Ahmed Malik and Nazif Muhtaroglu 

    Article 7 | Pages: (SI8)5-34 | Abstract | DOI: 10.31820/ejap.18.2.9

    There have been many developments in the field of science and religion over the past few decades. One such development is referred to as ‘theology of nature’ (ToN), which is the activity of building or revising theological frameworks in light of contemporary scientific developments, e.g., evolution, chaos theory, and quantum mechanics. Ian Barbour, John Polkinghorne, and Arthur Peacocke, all of whom are Christian thinkers, are the most well-known advocates of this kind of thinking. However, this discourse has not been examined from an Islamic perspective. Given this gap, in this article, we view this strand of thinking from the Ashʿarī school of thought that is part of the Sunnī Islamic kalām tradition. We first review how ToN manifests in the works of the thinkers mentioned earlier. Following this, we highlight the essential principles in Ashʿarism relevant to God, His interaction with the created world, and science. These are then compared with the ideas of the said thinkers. Two conclusions are reached. First, we demonstrate that atomism, which is generally understood as a long-held position in the Ashʿarī tradition, should not be held as a theological position but rather a philosophical or a scientific one. Second, an important distinction is made between science-informed theology (SIT) and contingency-informed theology (CIT). For Ashʿarīs, a CIT is sufficient for understanding God, but they would find the SIT displayed in ToN problematic. The motivation and methodology of localising or modifying God’s nature or attributes to fit the science of the day would be seen as theologically very costly and a form of scientism.
  • Is God Perfectly Good in Islam
    Seyma Yazici 

    Article 8 | Pages: (SI9)5-33 | Abstract | DOI: 10.31820/ejap.18.2.10

    Based on a question posed by global philosophy of religion project regarding the absence of literal attribution of omnibenevolence to God in the Qur’ān, this paper aims to examine how to understand perfect goodness in Islam. I will first discuss the concept of perfect goodness and suggest that perfect goodness is not an independent attribute on its own and it is predicated on other moral attributes of God without which the concept of perfect goodness could hardly be understood. I will examine perfect goodness by a specific emphasis on the attribute of justice as one of the conditions to be satisfied by a perfectly morally good being. In so doing, I will appeal to the distinctions made among great making properties by Daniel Hill, and Al-Ghazālī’s definition of justice by applying them to God’s moral attributes. I will argue that justice has a crucial role in maximality-optimality balance between great-making properties and it seems quite difficult, if not impossible, to conceive of goodness without justice. Having said that, I will claim that the conceptual frame I suggest sheds light on why omnibenevolence is not literally attributed to God in the Qur’ān. Then, I will briefly show how the divine attributes mentioned in the Qur’ān and the discussions about divine names and attributes in the Islamic tradition supports the understanding of perfect goodness I defend. Consequently, I will try to show that far from indicating that the Islamic concept of God doesn’t involve perfect goodness, the Qur’ān establishes the proper meaning of perfect goodness by focusing on its constitutive attributes, and thus provides us with a sound conception of it.
  • Torn Between the Contours of Logic: Exploring Logical Normativity in Islamic Philosophical Theology
    Abbas Ahsan and Marzuqa Karima

    Article 9 | Pages: (SI10)5-41 | Abstract | DOI: 10.31820/ejap.18.2.11

    Western contemporary logic has been used to advance the field of Islamic philosophical theology, which historically utilised Aristotelian-Avicennian logic, on grounds of there being an inherent normativity in logic. This is in spite of the surrounding controversy on the status of logic in the Islamic theological tradition. The normative authority of logic means that it influences the content of what we ought to believe and how we ought to revise those beliefs. This paper seeks to demonstrate that, notwithstanding the incompatible differences between the two systems, the underlying feature of both Western contemporary logic and Aristotelian-Avicennian logic is logical normativity. It then argues that an inherent normativity of logic in the Islamic theological/philosophical tradition is unmotivated. Instead, it proposes to reinstate logic as anti-exceptional within the Islamic theological/philosophical tradition as a viable alternative.
    Alessio Santelli

    Pages: (R1)5-11 | BOOK REVIEW

    BOOK REVIEW Patrick Todd OPEN FUTURE: WHY FUTURE CONTINGENTS ARE ALL FALSE, Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2021 Print ISBN: 9780192897916, Online ISBN: 9780191919497, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780192897916.001.0001 Hardcover, $70.00, e-book, $69.99