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In the Incoherence of the Philosophers, 17th discussion, Ghazali attempts to undermine the philosophers view that natural substances, e.g., fire, are causes. Explain and evaluate his arguments against the philosophers.
Ghazali offers a very distinct explanation of nature and its patterns, which contradicts extensively with other philosophers view of the same fact. In his 17th discussion, Ghazali highlights his opposing idea concerning patterns of nature and leaves it open explaining that things can also exist on their own contrary to the common understanding of the cause and effect. To open this discussion, it is necessary to note the cause and effect notion in order to lay a foundation to this topic. Nature presents itself as eventual whereby one action leads to the other and follows a consistent chain of event. For instance, it is given that fire leads to burning. However, this normalcy of comprehension does not hold water for Ghazali.
Other philosophers oppose Ghazalis notion and hold on to the idea that nature is consistent in its happening. In their view, there is a pattern of events that is obvious and does not change from one season to another, which justifies that idea of a cause and effect anthem. In their discussion, they note that nature does not happen at random, but rather satisfactorily detects one action and another follows. For instance, a natural cause as fire definitely leads to burning. The same fact thus explains the existence of God as the Supreme Being who caused such events to remain consistent. However, it is vital to realize that Ghazali also admits the existence of God. Nevertheless, his view on His power is based on the fact that events happen because God stimulates them to happen not at random but following definite pattern as comprehended by the other 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 happenings 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 true causes. According to him, natural substances happen because and according to the plans of God who created 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 justify the initiative that it is meant to result to another whether they are comparable to each other or not.
According to Ghazali, the cause and effect analogy is not necessary. He explains that nature can happen on its own. In his detection, he indicates that one event happens and the other does not follow the previous one but happens at its own time and season. Although they may follow one another, it does not necessarily satisfy the idea that it influences the occurrence of the other. 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 drives away the core essence of cause and effect phenomenon, 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.
In his discussion, Ghazali continues to support his thought with the idea of miracles happening with the help of incomparable power of God. He wonders if God can perform a miracle and change one situation to the opposite, then his power is unlimited. It is logical comprehension that miracles cannot follow any consistent patterns. This means that one can happen and another follows yet the two of them are not related. For instance, if God can heal at this minute, then the same God can cause rain to come down after that. The two events are not related yet they happened because of the Supreme Being. Hence, this analogy quickly compares to this explanation, which opposes the cause and effect essence. Consequently, the same power that can cause miracle is the same that has the ability to change various events to happen one after the other yet not to follow any pattern of nature. At this point, he holds a lot of strength for his discussion because it is evident from this perspective that a lot can happen at random.
Although the Incoherence of the Philosophers increasingly denotes its own meaning, it is still crucial to accept that some happening across the globe are sequential rather than eventual. At least it is beyond human understanding that some things have never fallen off their patterns despite being different. Hence, 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 its own. However, it is also evident that these substances do not go alone as it was 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 can be better planned in the way they were created by God.
An evaluation of this argument leads to the fact that causality is possible yet occasionalism is also justified. Ghazalis discussion comes up strongly with the basis of God who is able to create anything at a given time, which may not necessary like or compare to another. This explains that miracles could also constitute nature. Nonetheless, this philosophers idea weakens when the others start to debate against it. This is mainly because a lot that happens in nature follow certain predetermined sequences. On the other hand, Ghazalis notion of comparing Gods ability to do miracles also justifies occasionalism as a strong concept of its own. In conclusion, this philosopher paints a new picture of nature that brings in a deeper sense of nature as compared to the normal view of natural events and causes.