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1. Al-Kindi and Avicenna attempt to prove Gods existence via philosophical argument. Ghazali argues that we can know God only via mystical union. Explain the key differences between these two methods for acquiring knowledge of God. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each method? Which method is best? Defend your position.
The major difference between the two is that one highlights that there has to be a sequence in order to establish the fact that God exists while the other appreciates God as the creator of all nature whether it follows unions or not. Al-Kindi and Avicenna strength is that all causes cannot happen on themselves, yet the same explanation does not explain how God comes in to being. On the other hand, Ghazalis explanation on mystical union is not strong enough because other nature causes exist on their own, yet they were created. However, the same provides an understanding that many natural causes can also stand on their own contrary to the majority that fall in the cause and effect phenomenon. Al-Kindi and Avicenna is the best method because it clearly defines God as the key creator above all other natural patterns.
2. Explain and evaluate Avicennas proof for Gods existence.
Avicennas proof for Gods existence points amongst the most substantial arguments of the existence of God. In this argument, the patterns of nature due to the cause and effect phenomenon are used as a basis. It is explained that one thing causes or leads to the happening of another. This means that for one aspect to occur in nature the same has to be triggered by the eventuality of the other. Hence, the main question goes what causes or triggers the existence of the first cause. This chain of thoughts and events is what leads to the understanding that there is a supreme force, which commands the cause event, which Avicenna closely relates to God. Therefore, he explains that God is the center of all happenings. This explanation has a strong basis that adds up to how things happen in nature. Unlike other philosophical explanations, this one provides answers to many questions that one may have concerning the events of nature (Griffel, 2009).
3. In the Incoherence of the Philosophers, 1st discussion, Ghazali makes an argument against the philosophers, which involves the example of two dates. Explain the view of Ghazalis philosopher opponents. Explain how the argument involving the example of two dates challenges that view. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each of these two opposing views? Which view is best? Defend your position.
The example highlighted by Ghazali is used to support his argument of a hungry man who has two dates. This man does not need to have any particular attraction to one of the dates, but should have equal enthusiasm for both. Ghazali explains that there should not be any particular attraction because the two dates will satisfy the purpose once it will be taken in equal measure despite each being on its own. This further explanation finds the basis on the discussion that it is all about taking one of the two and not one over the other. This means that he has placed emphasis on taking either rather than leaving one of the two because the purpose is all the same for both. This argument establishes the thought that if there are two identical items and as longs as they both satisfy the desired interest there should not be any preference of one over the other, but both must be taken on with equal enthusiasm.
Ghazalis argument is strong with the idea that there should not be a conflict of interest in the case of two identical subjects. This means that either meets the purpose. On the contrary, the other argument does not hold water because dividing the interest of either of the two is not enough reason to abandon one.
In my opinion, Ghazalis view is better because in such instances, preference cannot play the major role, but rather purpose. Hence, having the center of interest in such cases is much better as compared to choosing.
4. In the Incoherence of the Philosophers, 17th discussion, Ghazali attempts to undermine the philosophers view that natural substances, e.g., fire, are causes.
5. Explain and evaluate his arguments against the philosophers.
Ghazalis attempt to refute and undermine other philosophers brings in total new topic of discussion. Most philosophers embrace the idea that natural substances are the causes because they lead to the happening of other events called effects. Natural phenomena such as fires are said to happen and are immediately followed by other occurrences. This means that they form the beginning of a chain of events. However, Ghazali denies this claim and notes that natural events such as these cannot be the real causes. According to him, natural substances happen according to the plans of God, who have planned them. In his discussion, he explains that God has fashioned every substance to exist on its own. The idea that one thing exists do not satisfy the idea that it is meant to result to another whether they compare to each other or not.
The discussion is critical and takes a different turn from other philosophical arguments. However, despite the fact that it holds its own essence, it is important to note that this argument reveals the core essence of cause and effect phenomena, which are obvious in the sight of man. Therefore, it can be said that this is not a strong argument as compared to the others (Griffel, 2013).
6. Reply on behalf of Avicenna to Ghazalis argument against the philosophers in the Incoherence of the Philosophers, 17th discussion.
Despite the strong ideas of Ghazali, Avicenna and other philosophers stand to note that nature and its substances still fall under cause and effect pattern. Although the Incoherence of the Philosophers increasingly denotes its own meaning, it is still crucial to accept that some happening across the globe are rather sequential than eventual. At least it is beyond human understanding that some things have never fallen off their patterns despite being different. Thus, there could be another explanation of this situation, but the primary thought still remains relevant. In addition, it is noticeable that some features of nature stand on their own such as fire. However, it is also evident that these substances do not go alone as mentioned above. Hence, Ghazalis argument only explains that the patterns should not necessarily be connected, but also does not add on the idea that the sequences are better planned in the way they were created by God. This means that the other arguments are also important and explain what the Incoherence of the Philosophers does not explain (Griffel, 2009).