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My First Experience at Appreciating Metaphysics

"The great uncertainty I found in metaphysical reasonings disgusted me, and I quitted that kind of reading and study for others more satisfactory."
Good old Ben Franklin.  Thus he dismissed metaphysics from his life, and went on to accomplish real things. I reached the same conclusion years ago. So it is ironic that, relatively late in life, I've actually enjoyed a book about metaphysics.

Hardly a day goes by when there isn't news about Islamist terrorism. I am actually sick of the whole topic. Consider how much of your short life can be wasted on following the news on this subject, and yet, you end up understanding nothing! But being buried under trivial and repetitive news makes a person suspicious that something fundamentally important has been overlooked.

This put me in the mood to go back to the early days of Islamic thought. Where and when was the fork in the road for Islamic thinkers? Why did they take a different fork than Christian ones?

After reading Robert Reilly's "Closing of the Muslim Mind," I still wonder "why" Islam took the opposite turn from Christianity. But at least the When, How, and Where are more clear. He also did a good job in explaining how general orientations in patterns of thought have consequences in the daily news of the modern world.


Anonymous said…
Before this, we watched the Catholics and Protestants blow each other up. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
I don't know if you are referring to Northern Ireland or not, but I always saw that antagonism as nationalistic, rather than religious. (Although religions are part of their tribal/nationalistic identities.)

But the Catholics and Protestants didn't have a different metaphysical viewpoint, did they?
Anonymous said…

I posted this link to Why the Arabic World Turned Away From Science in an earlier one of your discussions on Islam. An excerpt, which summarizes the thrust of the article is below and may address your “why” question.

“In trying to explain the Islamic world’s intellectual laggardness, it is tempting to point to the obvious factors: authoritarianism, bad education, and underfunding (Muslim states spend significantly less than developed states on research and development as a percentage of GDP). But these reasons are all broad and somewhat crude, and raise more questions than answers. At a deeper level, Islam lags because it failed to offer a way to institutionalize free inquiry. That, in turn, is attributable to its failure to reconcile faith and reason. In this respect, Islamic societies have fared worse not just than the West but also than many societies of Asia. With a couple of exceptions, every country in the Middle Eastern parts of the Muslim world has been ruled by an autocrat, a radical Islamic sect, or a tribal chieftain. Islam has no tradition of separating politics and religion.”


Chris, the link you provided is superb. I have just read (or re-read) it.

Now I will probably succumb to a couple books by Edward Grant that were mentioned in that link. Ai-yi-yi, it's bad enough when readers show up at my door and corrupt me with notions of better mountain bikes. Now they are leading me into temptation with future Kindle purchases!
Reformations are always messy business.
Not sure, but did you mean that a reformation of Islam would be a messy business?

One way to look at Reilly's book is to see that Islam already went through a type of reformation when it rejected Greek rationalism, starting around 850 A.D., and adopted its present attitude.
xNateX said…

A perspective from my own individual thought process, as one who is neither particularly well read or well versed on the matter...

In a different vein but on the same topic, me thinks when the new testament of the holy bible was being assembled there were numerous books that were considered. The Gospel of Judas among many others. It seems to me, whether correctly or incorrectly, that the books that made the final cut for the holy bible had one thing in common. They glorified the beautiful one as Christ.

I believe the major hurdle for humans is self glorification [and self preservation, but that's a different subject.] So Islam took a different turn than Christianity because of the desire for one's own glorification. For the individual and one's tribe, me and mine in whatever context.