2.2.1 Children of Abraham and Aristotle

The School of Athens by Raffaello.
Throughout the course of human history, philosophers, scientists, and mystics have offered competing cosmologies to describe the universe we inhabit and experience. Before the mesmerizing advance of science and technology that we see today, competing views of the structure and composition of the universe could not only be internally coherent but also equally good at explaining things around us. Today, premodern cosmologies must contend with the reality of modern science if they are to remain relevant. This does not mean that everyone must become a materialist or succumb to scientism; however, it does mean that the knowledge systems and philosophical presuppositions that propel and sustain science must be intelligently grappled with… (Contending Modernities, 2017).
In this essay by Dr. Mahan Mirza, Madrasa Discourses Lead Faculty from 2016-2019, writes on the intermingling of intellectual traditions within Islamic thought.
Guiding Questions:
  1. How does Mirza define tradition? Do you agree or disagree with his definition?
  2. Why can modern Muslims not ignore the developments of modern science, on Mirza’s account?
  3. How does Ghazali’s work exemplify the approach to tradition for which Mirza advocates?


Image: “School of Athens,” mural in the Apostolic Palace, Vatican City. Image Credit: Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, 1511. Public Domain.