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Philosophiekritik als Aufklärung?

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Some contemporary readings of Averroes put special emphasis on the philosophical and critical character of the work of the Muslim theologian and mystic al-Ġazālī, who is also known as the “Proof of Islam”. They even regard him as some pioneer of Enlightenment thought. This paper therefore investigates the thesis of Averroes as a critical philosopher. It sets forth that one can indeed find some essential elements of critical thought in al-Ġazālī’s writings: for example Ġazālī’s critique of reason and especially his rejection of (taqlīd), which means the nonreflective imitation of a teacher, authority or tradition, especially in matters pertaining to religion. Nevertheless, comparing him to both, Kant and Descartes, we will try to show that his thought falls short of critical thinking and even of philosophy itself. To this end we will proceed as follows: First, we analyze his critique of taqlīd. Secondly, we investigate his critique of Aristotelian Arabic philosophy as a variety of taqlīd. Thirdly, we consider his skeptical suspension of reason in favor of immediate prophetic perception. Fourthly, we look upon the relationship between the super-rational perception and reason. Fifthly, we show that Ġazālī dismisses the idea of autonomous reason.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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