عنوان مقاله [English]
A major problem introduced to the contemporary Islamic philosophy by ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī is whether propter quid demonstrations (al-barāhīn al-limmiyya) can be deployed in philosophy. ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s account has given rise to two responses by contemporary scholars of Islamic philosophy: some have endorsed and defended his view, and others have criticized the account. In this article, we draw on a descriptive-analytic method and adopt a critical approach to assess the two responses. We conclude that, notwithstanding its novelties, ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s account rests on problematic grounds. Moreover, it is founded upon a redefinition of demonstrations propter quid and quiatic demonstrations (al-barāhīn al-inniyya), which go against the common conception of these demonstrations in Islamic logic.
Keywords: ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī, critique, propter quid demonstration (al-burhān al-limmī), quiatic demonstration (al-burhān al-innī), general implications
Propter quid demonstration (al-burhān al-limmī) and quiatic demonstration (al-burhān al-innī) are major issues in Islamic logic, which are deployed in other fields of study, including Islamic philosophy. In the contemporary Islamic philosophy, ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī was the first to propound the idea that propter quid demonstrations are not legitimate in dealing with philosophical problems. On his account, the demonstrations or proofs used in coping with philosophical questions are general implications (al-mulāzamāt al-ʿamma), as it is indeed impossible to use propter quid demonstrations in philosophy. ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s account has been criticized by some of his students and contemporary scholars of Islamic philosophy. Some have endorsed and defended his view, whereas others have criticized its foundations or raised objections against it by its own merits.
The basic question of the present research is as follows: How to assess the arguments for and against ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s view of the deployment of propter quid demonstrations in philosophy?
Method of Research
In this research, we provide an accurate rereading of the definitions of propter quid and quiatic demonstrations in Islamic logic, and then assess the views of both camps. We begin with an account of ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s view as well as the positions of his proponents and opponents. Finally, having evaluated both views, we elaborate upon our espoused account. This research is done with a descriptive-analytic method and a critical approach.
In some of his works, ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī suggests that propter quid demonstrations do not apply to philosophy. Indeed, all demonstrations or proofs in philosophy are quiatic demonstrations based on general implications. In his view, propter quid demonstrations cannot be deployed in dealing with philosophical problems. This is because the absolute existence (al-wujūd al-muṭlaq) as the subject-matter of philosophy is general, and since there is nothing beyond the absolute existence, it cannot have a cause, which implies that it cannot be subject to propter quid demonstrations, in which causes are adduced.
With a survey of the debates over ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s account among contemporary scholars of Islamic philosophy, we find two major approaches: some have criticized ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s view, and some have defended and justified the view.
Javadi Amoli raises two objections against ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s position. He holds that the predicate of existence is predicated of both absolute and qualified (muqayyad) existences, and when it is predicated of the latter, it can be subject to propter quid demonstrations, since qualified existence needs a cause. In addition, if propter quid demonstrations did not apply to philosophical problems, then all demonstrations in philosophy would be undermined and there would be no conclusive argument in philosophy, because quiatic demonstrations are grounded indeed in propter quid demonstrations. Given ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s response to Javadi Amoli’s objections, it turns out that his view presupposes his own account of the “criterion of philosophical problems.” However, the second objection raised by Javadi Amoli seems to go through.
Mesbah Yazdi has also criticized ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s view based on its incompatibility with the conditions of propter quid demonstrations in logic. He argues that causation in such demonstrations is not confined to external causation, but includes analytic causation as well. Accordingly, ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s view is objectionable. In this research, we endorse Mesbah Yazdi’s critique of ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s view.
Gholam-Reza Fayyazi believes that ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s view should be examined in terms of his own assumptions. One such assumption is that all predicates that are more specific than the absolute existence equal existence when taken together with their complement notions. Moreover, in propter quid demonstrations, the middle term is indeed an external cause for the predication of the major premise on the minor premise. In Fayyazi’s view, the first assumption—equality of the “essential accident” (al-‘araḍ al-dhātī) with the subject-matter of a science—finds counterexamples in many philosophical problems, and the second contradicts the views of logicians, since they believe that the causation of the middle term in propter quid demonstrations includes both external and mental causation. In this research, we criticize Fayyazi’s first objection against ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s view, but we agree with the second objection, which is a reformulation of Mesbah Yazdi’s view.
Yazdanpanah endorses ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s assumptions, but he argues that they have their source in the idea of a cause beyond the existent qua existent. However, since this idea is problematic, ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s view is challenged. A reflection on Yazdanpanah’s remarks makes it obvious that they are reformulations the objections raised by Mesbah Yazdi and Javadi Amoli.
Finally, people such as Samadi Amoli believe that ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s view should be deemed intuitive (shuhūdī), while all the objections raised against his view assume that philosophy is confined to reflective or intellectual knowledge. In this research, we criticize Samadi Amoli because it does not square with ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s account to take it as pertaining to intuitive, rather than acquired, knowledge.
Having assessed and examined the arguments for and against ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s account, we conclude that, despite its novel contributions, his view rests on problematic assumptions. Moreover, it is founded upon a redefinition of propter quid and quiatic demonstrations that goes against the standard view in logic. Thus, we should either modify the standard logic definition of propter quid demonstrations or believe that ʿAllāma Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s view is a novel view based on new principles, which can be criticized.