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Ibn Khaldun (1332-1395). The Muqaddimah. Malaspina Great Books. Why we are reading this book a. Understand “Islamic” Paradigm b. “Islamic” Influence on Renaissance c. “Islamic” vs. “Christian” World Views d. Birth of “Scientific Method” e. Roles of “Science” in both Cultures

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Ibn Khaldun(1332-1395)

The Muqaddimah

Malaspina Great Books


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Why we are reading this book

a. Understand “Islamic” Paradigm

b. “Islamic” Influence on Renaissance

c. “Islamic” vs. “Christian” World Views

d. Birth of “Scientific Method”

e. Roles of “Science” in both Cultures

2. Islamic Empire

3. Christian & Islamic Stereotypes

4 The Crusades: Then & Now

5. Islamic Cultural Achievements in Arts & Science

6. Muhammad & Islam as a Religion

7. Sharia Law & Women

8. Liberal Islam (Khaldun’s Influence)

9. Ibn Khaldun: background & influence

10. Khaldun: Key Terms

Khaldun’s Methodology

Observations (on right)

uniqueness

prophesy

group feeling

royal authority

sedentary civilization

economics

reality

thinking

angels

prophets & knowledge

how science emerges

two types of science

traditional science (Sufism, dreams, theology)

happiness

Intellectual science (logic, physics, metaphysics, mathematics)

other sciences (sorcery, alchemy, astrology)

refutation of philosophy

education & pedagogy

Outline



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  • Christian Stereotype of Islamic Culture

  • - Muslims as “infidels”

  • - Muslims hate “non-believers”

  • Muslims are “fanatics”

  • - Misperception of Jihad

  • Muslims as “Medieval”

  • Women are oppressed

  • - Muslims as unoriginal (copyists)

  • Islamic Stereotype of Christian Culture

  • No family values

  • Materialists

  • Immoral

  • Women promiscuous

  • Women Oppressed

  • Hypocrites


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Massacre of Marra (Ma'arrat Syria)

Dec 12, 1098

20,000 massacred

"A terrible famine racked the army in Ma'arra, and placed it in the cruel neccessity of feeding itself upon the bodies of the Saracens." (letter to Pope Urban II)

"In Ma'arra our troops boiled pagan adults alive in cooking-pots; they impaled children on spits and devoured them grilled." (Radulph of Caen)

"Not only did our troops not shrink from eating dead Turks and Saracens; they also ate dogs!“ (Albert of Aix)

“The small city of Ma'arra east of Antioch, falls to the crusades. The crusaders shock the Muslim world by eating human flesh from the adults and children massacred following their conquest. The Frankians would forever be referred to by Turkish historians as ‘cannibals’.”(Encyclopaedia of the Orient)



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Islamic Preservation of Greek Heritage

  • Major translations c. 750-800

  • al-Kindi (800-865), first Major Philosopher (original ideas on science; challenges Greek Metaphysics)

  • al-Farabi (870-950) - ranked with Aristotle as “2nd teacher;” Islamic philosophy; concept of Prophethood explained; revelation & philosophy joined as two roads to truth; original reconciliation of Plato & Aristotle

  • Ibn Sina (Avicenna) (980-1036) – al-qunan (Canon of Medicine)

  • al-Ghazali (1058-1111) – jurisprudence & theology; endorses logic, math, astronomy & physics; refutation of the metaphysics of philosophy


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(continued)

  • Ibn-Rushd (Averroes) (1126-1198); major commentator on Aristotle; widely translated in medieval Europe; highly respected but seen as a “secondary source” and as such responsible for perspective that Islamic philosophy was not original; marks end of “classical Islamic era”


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Islamic Contributions to Science

  • Ibn Haiyan (c. 776) - alchemist/chemist & astrolab

  • al-Harrani (826-901) – basis for non-Euclidean geometry, spherical trigonometry, integral calculus and real numbers.

  • al-Battani (868-929) – Astronomy, his Zig influenced renaissance astronomy; solar year (365 d 5 h 46 m 24 s)

  • al-Zahrawi (Abulcasis) (936-1013) medicine, cauterization, removal of stone from the bladder, dissection of animals, midwifery, stypics, and surgery of eye, ear and throat. He perfected several delicate operations, including removal of the dead foetus and amputation. problem of non-aligned or deformed teeth and how to rectify these defects. He developed the technique of preparing artificial teeth and of replacement of defective teeth by these. In medicine, he was the first to describe in detail the unusual disease, hemophilia.


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(Islamic Science continued)

  • al-Buzjani (940-998) – founder of trigonometry

  • al-Haytham (alhazen) (965-1040) - optics (foundation of perspective)

  • Ibn Sina (980-10-37) – quintessential “renaissance” man: medicine, math, physics, philosophy, theology, logic, metaphysics

  • al-Khawarizmi (1100-1166) – wrote Al-Jabrwa-al-Muqabilah (Algebra - invented); invented zero, decimals, arabic numerals

  • al-Baitar (1188-1248) – botanist, pharmacist

  • al-Nafis (1210-1288) – circulatory system (rediscovered by Harvey 300 years later)



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Muhammad (c. 570-632)

  • 610 – merchant who was visited (age 40) by angel Gabriel in cave near Mecca; told he was last prophet; ordered to memorize verses sent to him by God (Koran)

  • Did not reject Christianity or Judiasm – instead tried to “perfect” them

  • 620 – Isra and Miraj (miraculous journey) – travels in one night from Mecca to Jurusalem then heaven and hell: speaks to Abraham, Moses and Jesus

  • 622 – Hijra (flight to Medina) & beginning of Muslim calendar; there he establishes 1st Islamic state under principle of religious tolerance (rival Byzantine was intolerant)

  • 622-630 – wars with Mecca


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(Life of Muhammad - Continued)

  • Companions of Muhammad: analogous to apostles – transmit Hadith (all traditions associated with the prophet) – analogous to written and oral traditions of Christians

  • On death (632) succeeded by Abu Bakr as first caliph (successor analogous to pope or bishop)

  • Islam divided into two sects: Sunni (80%) & Shia (20%)

  • Differences rooted in disputes over proper succession

  • Theological differences over jurisprudence (Hadith)

  • Taliban & Al Qaeda – extremist Sunni (analagous to fundamentalist Christian sects)


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Sharia

  • Islamic law

  • Islam classically draws no distinction between religious, and secular life.

  • In deriving Sharia law, Islamic lawmakers attempt to interpret divine principles but make no claim to infallibility.

  • Like Jewish law and Christian canon law, Islamic law is interpreted differently by different people in different times and places. In the hands of moderates, religious law can be moderate and even liberal. In the hands of post-Enlightenment readers of philosophy, religious law becomes associated mainly with ritual, theology, or history and no longer regulates society or the state.


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Women under Sharia Law

  • Islam does not prohibit women from working

  • women are generally not allowed to be clergy or religious scholars

  • Some view Islamic women as being oppressed by the men in their communities because of dress codes.

  • According to most interpretations, authorization for a husband to physically beat disobedient wives is given in the Qur'an (but much dispute over meanings)

  • “Honor Killings” of adulterous wives are not part of Islamic teaching but a cultural practice in parts of ther Islamic world

  • Female circumcision is also not part of Islamic teaching (but is a cultural practice justified on religious grounds – Islamic & Christian – in parts of Africa)

  • Apostasy – conversion to other religions forbidden

  • Freedom of Speech – situation analagous to pre-enlightenment (17th c. Christian states)


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Liberal Islam (Khaldun as father?)

  • Based on freedom to reinterpret scripture from a personal perspective rather than the traditional Muslim point of view.

  • Liberals claim they are returning to principles of early Muslim community and to the ethical and pluralistic intent of their scripture (Ibn Khaldun used as a guide).

  • Claim this approach rooted in Sufism

  • Principles: 1) individual interpretation; 2) critical reading of Islamic text; 3) complete gender equality; 4) more open view on modern culture in realtion to customs, dress, and common practices; 5) In addition to the use of Itjihad (traditional interpretation), the use of the Islamic concept of fitrah (innate disposition towards virtue, knowledge, and beauty) or the natural sense of right and wrong, is advocated.


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Ibn Khaldun (1332-1395)(Abd al-Rahman Ibn Mohammad)

  • Born Tunisia

  • Lived Cairo, Egypt as Judge & Academic at Al-Azhar University (world’s oldest university - founded 971 AD)


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Primarily known for Muqaddimah or 'Prolegomena'which identifies thepsychological, economic, environmental and social facts that contribute to the advancement of human civilization and the currents of history (in contrast to political context of history).

Analyzed the dynamics of group relationships and showed how group feelings, al-'Asabiyya, give rise to the ascent of a new civilization.

The other 6 volumes of his world history Kitab al-I'bar deal with the history of contemporary Muslim & European rulers, ancient history of Arabs, Jews, Greeks, Romans, Persians, etc.

The last volume deals largely with the events of his own life and is known as Al-Tasrif. This was also written in a scientific manner and initiated a new analytical tradition in the art of writing autobiography.

A book on math written by him is not extant.


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General Influence

  • Influence on the subjects of history, philosophy of history, sociology, political science and education

  • Muqaddimahconsidered in league with and rival of Machiavelli’s ThePrince (written a century later)


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Educational Influence

Khaldun’s analysis concludes that science & education & teaching determine cultural prosperity & that “open minded thinking” about unknown principles and crossing disciplines is key; advocates comprehensive but staged education using simple humane (non-aggressive) methods combining balanced mix of theory & practice.


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Influence on Sociology

  • Underlying Laws of Economics and Social behavior created by God;

  • Such Laws can be shown scientifically to produce best social policies;

  • Laws dictate limited state functions: defense, to protect property, to prevent fraud; to safeguard currency; wise leadership

  • Condemns high taxes & government competition with private sphere (lowers productivity & destroys incentive)


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Khaldun’s Intellectual Orientation

  • Wholesome restraint;

  • Readiness to question everything;

  • Unwillingness to stray from verifiable or experiential or observational data;


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Key Terms: Thinking

  • Thinking: Humans take “pictures” of sensibilia and abstract other pictures that are beyond sense. Thinking involves application of mind to analysis and synthesis of these abstract pictures (beyond sense). Three types of thinking: discerning, experimental and theoretical (speculative).


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Key Terms: Apperception

  • Conclusions of thinking (i.e. critical thinking). Purpose is to acquire knowledge of reality. Apperceptions become perceptions often at levels beyond sense perception


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Methodology of Khaldun’s Science of Civilization

  • Insistent need for correction and verification of historical information;

  • Requires first a knowledge of natural social organization;

  • Historical facts (theoretically) useful when they conform to natural organization;

  • This will lead to a normative qunan (law) that can distinguish right from wrong and truth from falsehood


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Khaldun’s Description of his Science

  • An “Original” Science;

  • Objects of science: 1) Local Human Social Organization, and 2) World Civilization;

  • Purpose of Science: to explain conditions that attach themselves to civilization;

  • Utility: cultural prosperity through education



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Uniqueness of humans

  • Man (p. 42): 1) science & craft from capacity to think; 2) need for authority; 3) need to earn a living; 4) civilization


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Prophecy

  • Prophecy is not a natural quality of man and is thus not an integral component of the science (p.47) – [influence in Islamic secularism]


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Group Feeling

  • (Respect for) blood ties is something natural among men … It leads to affection for one’s relations and blood relatives, (the feeling that) no harm ought to befall them nor any destruction come upon them …(p.98)


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Royal Authority & Sedentary Civilization

  • Religious propaganda emerges (naturally) from group feeling

  • Royal authority then catalyzed by religious propaganda by minimizing jealousies and inculcating search for common truths

  • Dynasties enable the dispense of group feeling, the foundation of the state, the growth of civilization and the emergence of new group feelings (p. 130) and sedentary civilizations (p. 263-95)


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Profit, Property and Economics

  • … the capital a person earns and acquires, if resulting from a craft, is the value realized from his labour. This is the meaning of ‘acquired (capital)’. There is nothing here originally except the labour, and it is not desired by itself as acquired (capital, but as the value realized from it)…(p.298) [basis of Marxist arguments]


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Meaning of Human Reality

  • Discerning intellect: perceptions of things in outside world

  • Experimental intellect: apperceptions of rules for behavior (in social context)

  • Speculative intellect: beyond sense perception; road to perfection; meaning of human reality


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Importance of Thinking

  • ‘The beginning of action is the end of thinking, and the beginning of thinking is the end of action.’ (p.335)

  • Experimental intellect needed for political action. (p. 337) – contrary to idea of philosopher king


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Angels

  • Since there is a world of thought beyond sense perception, Khaldun deduces there must be a category of intelligence in that world (known to us by its influence on us in activity of speculative intellect) – [argument from logic not revelation]


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Knowledge of the Prophets

  • Prophesy is direct observation of visions of the world of world of angelicality [known to us through logic] by those so gifted, and transmitted to world of sensibility as revelation


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How Science comes to be

  • As civilization advances, surplus labour becomes available; that labour is used for activities beyond the need to earn a living. (p.343)


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Two types of Science

  • Philosophical or intellectual sciences associated with thinking.

  • Traditional legal sciences associated with the law as transmitted in the Koran (jurisprudence, etc.) and Sunnah (traditions). Khaldun enummerates differences in legal approach between Sunni (more literal & traditional approach) & Shia (based on analogous approaches) traditions.


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Traditional Science: Sufism

  • Removal of the “veil” through asceticism. Similar to Christian mysticism. Goal to see the worlds of apperceptions as in a “mirror”

  • Profoundly “meditative” (as such similar to approaches of Stoics, Buddhists, Platonists and Christians) and provides channels that allow convergences between religious traditions (vehicle also for Liberal Islamic thought).


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Traditional Science: Dreams

  • Clarity of perceptions available to prophets. Such prophetic dreams clearly distinct from run-of-the-mill “confused” or “imaginative” dreams. [discussion of imaginative dream analysis on p. 370 very similar to Freud’s interpretive approach (serpents, oceans, receptacles, etc.)]


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Traditional Science: Speculative Theology

  • A corrective science only. All Muslims commanded to believe in the oneness of God as the source and cause of all that is. Any speculation (especially about causality) beyond this is both fruitless and forbidden (p. 348-9). [This restriction suggests a significant difference between Islamic vs. Christian philosophical approaches and world view] … ‘The inability to perceive is perception’


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Happiness is …

  • Recognition and acceptance of the oneness of God

  • Accepted through “faith”

  • In Islam faith comes in two levels: 1) affirmation by the heart of what the tongue says (blind faith??) and 2) acquisition of a quality that has complete control over the heart (similar to Christian idea of “F”aith as free gift of God) … (p. 352)


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Intellectual Sciences (philosophy)

  • Logic

  • Physics

  • Metaphysics

  • Mathematical (geometry, arithmetic, music, astronomy)


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Logic

  • Provides ability to discern truth (within limits of ability to think – thus excludes application to revealed truths)


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Physics

  • Study of elemental substances perceived by the senses and their natural motions


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Metaphysics

  • Logical study of spiritual matters


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Mathematical Sciences

  • Geometry (shapes)

  • Arithmetic (numbers)

  • Music (proportions of sounds and modes)

  • Astronomy (shapes & motions of heavenly bodies)


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Comments on Other Sciences

  • Sorcery (influence of mental power – today would be acknowledged as psychological phenomena)

  • Alchemy (refutes)

  • Astrology (refutes)

  • Philosophy (refutes!!!)


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Refutation of Philosophy

  • Discusses process of apperception of sensibila into intelligibilia and acknowledges debt to Greeks and Aristotle in particular for these achievements.

  • Error of philosophy is to equate happiness with the perception of all existentia (existing things). Islam maintains that spiritualia is a domain not accessible to reason and it is knowledge of this realm (the oneness of God) that constitutes happiness.


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Educational Approach: Pedagogy

  • Students should not be forced to memorize

  • Subjects should not be taught in a broken sequence

  • Two subjects should not be taught together

  • Appropriate length of subjects taught

  • It is harmful to be very strict on a student

  • Traveling and conferencing with scholars is useful for education

  • Education should be practical

  • Learning science requires skill


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