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Series: Vernon Series in Philosophy

Modernity, Civilization and the Return to History

1st edition / ISBN: 978-1-62273-184-8
January 2017
Availability: In stock

The modern concept and study of civilization have their roots, not in western Europe, but in the spirit of scientific investigation associated with a self-conscious Islamicate civilization. What we call modernity cannot be fathomed without this historical connection. We owe every major branch of science known today to the broad tradition of systematic inquiry that belongs to a “region of being”—as Heidegger would say—whose theoretical, practical and institutional dimensions the philosophy of that civilization played an unprecedented role in creating. This book focuses primarily on the philosophical underpinnings of questions relating to civilization, personhood and identity. Contemporary society and thinking in western Europe introduced new elements to these questions that have altered how collective and personal identities are conceived and experienced. In the age of “globalization,” expressions of identity (individual, social and cultural) survive precariously outside their former boundaries, just when humanity faces perhaps its greatest challenges—environmental degradation, policy inertia, interstate bellicosity, and a growing culture of tribalism. Yet, the world has been globalized for at least a millennium, a fact dimmed by the threadbare but still widespread belief that modernity is a product of something called the West. One is thus justified in asking, as many people do today, if humanity has not lost its initiative. This is more a philosophical than an empirical question. There can be no initiative without the human agency that flows from identity and personhood—i.e., the way we, the acting subject, live and deliberate about our affairs. Given the heavy scrutiny under which the modern concept of identity has come, Dr. Shaker has dug deeper, bringing to bear a wealth of original sources from both German thought and Ḥikmah (Islamicate philosophy), the latter based on material previously unavailable to scholars. Posing the age-old question of identity anew in the light of these two traditions, whose special historical roles are assured, may help clear the confusion surrounding modernity and, hopefully, our place in human civilization. Proximity to Scholasticism, and therefore Islamicate philosophy, lent German thought up to Heidegger a unique ability to dialogue with other thought traditions. Two fecund elements common to Heidegger, Qūnawī and Mullā Ṣadrā are of special importance: Logos (utterance, speech) as the structural embodiment at once of the primary meaning (essential reality) of a thing and of divine manifestation; and the idea of unity-in-difference, which Ṣadrā finally formulated as the substantial movement of existence. But behind this complexity is the abiding question of who Man is, which cannot be answered by theory alone. Heidegger, who occupies a good portion of this study, questioned the modern ontology at a time of social collapse and deep spiritual crisis not unlike ours. Yet, that period also saw the greatest breakthroughs in modern physics and social science. The concluding chapters take up, more specifically, identity renewal in Western literature and Muslim “reformism.” The renewal theme reflects a point of convergence between the Eurocentric worldview, in which modernism has its secular aesthetics roots, and a current originating in Ibn Taymiyyah’s reductionist epistemology and skeptical fundamentalism. It expresses a hopeless longing for origin in a historically pristine “golden age,” an obvious deformation of philosophy’s millennial concern with the commanding, creative oneness of the Being of beings.

God: A brief philosophical introduction

1st edition / ISBN: 978-1-62273-148-0
November 2016
Availability: In stock

This is a clear and original investigation of God's nature and existence. First of all, it considers two of God’s traditional properties: being all-knowing and being all-powerful. It argues he cannot possess these properties. But, it argues this is in accord with him being worthy of worship. Secondly, it introduces the notion of evil being “overridden”. It argues he has to bring about other free living things and it is plausible they have to be liable to experience evil due to their conditions. But, it argues the evil in this world is “overridden”. Thirdly, it considers the principal arguments for the claim he does not exist. (They refer to the evil in the world.) It argues they do not establish sufficient grounds for this claim. Finally, it considers some well-known arguments for the claim he exists. It argues they face difficulties. It sets out other arguments. It covers as a whole the principal parts of the Philosophy of Religion. It unifies these parts to a significant degree. It proceeds regularly by way of formal and clear arguments. These arguments are frequently original. It will be of interest to advanced students and specialists in Philosophy, Religious Studies and Theology. Given its explanation of key terms, its jargon-free language, its clarity and brevity.... , it will be of interest to others, too.

Self, History and Future

A work on the modality of history
1st edition / ISBN: 978-1-62273-473-3
June 2016
Availability: In stock

Be it Foucault’s insight into a society based on ‘power-knowledge’ or Fukuyama’s attempts to predict the future based on the end-game situation of ‘liberal democracy’, both are like trying to work out a curvature of a line from a given point by using pre-calculus maths. No amount of elaborate narratives based on a quasi-dynamic, phenomenological concept like ‘discourses’ or a static concept like ‘liberal democracy’ will capture the dynamism of moving events and their fluid directions called ‘future’. You need the methodology of operative concepts that process moving events. My essay is based on a holistic and dynamic concept with logical progressions. Instead of capturing movements as a still picture I try to record constantly changing situations in terms of modality of history. It is the necessity of tangencies and encompassments for Circles of Identity (CI) that forms history. The momentum of ‘self’ that bridges the past and the future is the propellant of CIs, which follows certain rules to suggest our destiny.

In the Sphere of the Personal: New Perspectives in the Philosophy of Persons

1st edition / ISBN: 978-1-62273-063-6
May 2016
Availability: In stock

The papers in this collection were originally presented at the 13th International Conference on Persons, held at the University of Boston in August 2015. This biennial event, founded by Thomas O. Buford and Charles Conti in 1989, attracts a host of international scholars, both the venerable and the aspiring. It is widely regarded as the premier event for those whose research concerns the philosophical tradition known as ‘personalism’. That tradition is, perhaps, best known today in its American and European manifestations, although there remains a small but fiercely defended stronghold in Britain. Personalism is not an exclusively Western development, however; its roots are also found in India, China, and Japan. What unites these disparate intellectual cultures may seem quite small. There is little, if any, methodological or doctrinal consensus among them. They are all, however, responses to the impersonal and depersonalising forces perceived to be at work in philosophy, theology, and, most recently, the natural and political sciences. Their common aim is to place persons at the heart of these discourses, to defend the idea that persons are the metaphysical, epistemological, and moral ‘bottom line’, the vital clue to knowledge of self, reality, and all conceivable values. The authors in this collection do not simply reflect upon this tradition, they put it to work on a range of philosophical and theological problems, both classical and contemporary; problems of free will, personal identity, and the nature of reality, as well as the very current concerns of environmental philosophers, bio- and neuro-ethicists. Their perspectives, too, are many and varied, so offer profound insights into key debates among other philosophical traditions, such as the Kantian, Hegelian, phenomenological, and process schools.

The Impact Of Reason On Faith, Ethics And Belief

1st edition / ISBN: 978-1-62273-057-5
April 2016
Availability: In stock

The purpose of the book is to examine the theological claims of ethics, faith and belief from a philosophical perspective. The Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants of the Old Testament, Jesus of the synoptic gospels, and Paul’s writings serve as the frame of reference in examining a biblical expression of reason and structured logic. The message of Jesus centered on the Kingdom of God, defined the meaning of faith and belief, established a new ethic, and framed the message in logic forms. The life and death of Jesus brought the realization of God’s final covenant as prophesied by the Old Testament. However, Paul appropriated and developed the Jesus of history into the mythological eschatological Christ figure. The clash of philosophy and theology is evident with theological presuppositions that are based on spiritual insight and divine revelation. Logic in scripture employs propositions based primarily on revealed proof that is within the context of that which cannot be proven absolutely. Uncovering the identity of YHWH in the manuscripts and religious practices of Canaanite culture clearly associated YHWH with the polytheism of the Ugarit texts. YHWH was one of the seventy sons of the Canaanite Most High God El and took on a unique identity that was rooted in El and the polytheistic nature of the pantheon of gods. Theological truths stand within the context of faith and reason stands apart from faith and infers only that which can be proven based on evidence. That which is knowable by faith cannot be known by reason since reason cannot validate that which is not proven to exist.

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