A Compilation of Islamic Philosophy and Theology [edited]


Although most of the educated people usually have no exact definition of many of the science, except for philosophy, they are well acquainted with them. For example, psychology or biology are, but know nothing about philosophy. Some think that philosophy is a set of pompous, fallacious and meaningless words that can never be fully understood. Others hold that ‘’ philosophy is a matter of fabrication; it depends on personal taste and interest and has no standard or criterion. Therefore, with no Philosophical background, they grant themselves the right to express their views and on listening to a philosophical discussion, given their opinion, or without studying or deeply understanding an argument, reject it. When they, cannot prove their points or on meeting some objection, they say ‘’the views of every person should be respected!

What is about philosophy that despite their ignorance of the subject most people claim to know it? What is the difference between philosophy and science? Why is it that the people do not have the same attitude toward thesciences? Why don’t the same persons express their opinions onmathematics, physics and chemistry?

This may have different reasons. One reason is that many science have their own particular terminology in which they do not use common conventional words, unlike philosophy, which use such commonly used words as ‘’ existence’’ ‘’ non - existence ‘’ ‘’cause’’ ‘’effect’’ ‘’possibility’’ ‘’necessity’’ ‘’potential’’ ‘’actual’’ ‘’originated’’ ‘’ per - eternal‘’ ‘’prior’’ ‘’ posterior’’ ‘’ the knower’’ and ‘’the know’’ Another reason is that to show their technical terms some of these science use special signs and to demonstrate their laws they use formulas, while this is not the case in philosophy.

Finally, one of the main reasons is that despite their ignorance of philosophy people are involved in a good number of philosophical questions. Most people, educated or uneducated, do not have even a general idea what philosophy is, what it investigates, its status among the various branch of the humanities, or even its use.

In shorts there are very few people who have the least knowledge of philosophy, and naturally every person fancies himself a friend of philosophy. He mistakenly imagines a formal science and thinks that this is philosophy, once honoured as the highest branch of knowledge. Nevertheless, as shall be described later, some of the questions of philosophy are commonly dealt with.

They are faced by all people and demand their response, and every person, educated or uneducated, invariably has to give a response, correct or incorrect, to them. However, most people do not know that these questions are philosophical.

Therefore, before we embark upon our discussion it is appropriate to introduce philosophy in following terms.

1- What is philosophy, what is the subject of study and what is its definition?

2- What is the research methodology followed in philosophy? Is it sensible and empirical or intellectual? Why is such approach followed?

3- What is the relationship between science and philosophy? In other words, what is the status of philosophy among the different fields of knowledge?

4- Why should we should philosophy?

5- In this section and in the following four chapters we will discuss the above questions.