Abbas Ahsan

Abbas Ahsan

Department of Philosophy
Doctoral Researcher

Contact details

PhD title: Islamic Analytic  Philosophy
Supervisor: Professor Yujin Nagasawa
PhD Philosophy

Research

Summary

One of the notable projects of analytic philosophy is to make sense of things. Aside from the more intricate methodological disputes, analytic philosophy has predominantly assumed the laws of logic and various theories of truth in order to achieve this. These are considered, within the purview of classical logic, to be the fundamental axioms that are necessary for being rational.

However, both of these methodological components become (conceptual) constraints in making sense of an absolutely ineffable God of Islam. Any attempt to make sense of an absolute ineffable God of Islam in virtue of these methodological components would result in the paradox of ineffability. Moreover, failure to make sense and obtain some level of cognitive satisfaction regarding such a God would deem the whole idea to be irrational.

My aim is to resolve this issue by overcoming the paradox of ineffability. I hope to do this by proposing to subscribe to a different set of methodological components. These include: dialetheism and an alternative theory of truth. This would dissolve the paradox and would allow analytic philosophy to operate with a broader methodological scope in accommodating an absolute ineffable God of Islam.

Particulars

I strongly believe that the more contemporary philosophical approaches to religious discourse have been heavily dominated by the analytic tradition. This is particularly evident in the anglo-saxon countries. The dictates of the analytic tradition are blatantly evident in the way analytic philosophy of religion operates. I think, its time this changed. I believe that the ground upon which analytic philosophy functions and imposes its methodological ambitions upon the philosophy of religion and religious discourse in general requires serious reconsideration.

Analytic philosophy assumes certain methodological components that are essential to how it operates. These are the laws of logic and two of the broader theories of truth, namely substantive and insubstantive theories. These are components (axioms) that ensure theoretical rationality in being able to make sense of things. Despite the common productivity of these fundamental components they are unable to account for matters that are beyond them. Such conventional attitudes have not merely persisted, but are actively an entrenched unassailable dogma of Western thought. These modes of thoughts have seldom been challenged. Any attempt in making rational sense of matters that are insusceptible to these methodological components would conventionally prohibit (restrict) us from believing in them. Belief in an absolutely ineffable God and various contradictory doctrines for instance would be deemed irrational to believe in.

In light of this issue I anticipate proposing two alternative methodological components that will overcome this restriction. I hope to explore dialethiesm which asserts that some contradictions are true and construct a new truth theory that will be able to account for specific contradictory matters.

There are two parts to my research project:

The first part focuses on the issue. In this part I hope to demonstrate that the predominant methodological components adopted in analytic philosophy are inconsistent in rationally accounting for an absolutely ineffable God of Islam. These components include the laws of logic and substantive and insubstantive theories of truth. However, this should not be received as merely drawing on inconsistencies between the Islamic tradition and analytic philosophy. It ought to be conceived of, more optimistically, as an opportunity to develop the scope of analytic philosophy in becoming more accommodating to religious traditions like Islam that entertain beliefs contrary to the axioms of classical logic. Moreover, in order to appreciate the need for broadening the methodological scope of analytic philosophy, I anticipate drawing on the current inconsistencies in virtue of its methodological components first.

The second part focuses on the solution. In this part I hope to dissolve the issue by proposing a set of alternative methodological components. These include, dialetheism and an alternative theory of truth. Subscribing to both of these components would dissolve the ineffability paradox and allow analytic philosophy to operate with a broader methodological scope in accommodating an absolute ineffable God of Islam. It should be noted that although my proposed solution is confined to a specific notion of God in Islam, it may appeal to other faiths also.

Furthermore, I do not anticipate for my proposed solution to be considered as a universal axiom that is applicable to every paradox. I concede, nonetheless, that it would bear wide ranging consequences which significantly affect other theistic dilemmas that are directly related to an absolute ineffable God. These may include the paradox of omniscience and omnipotence and the paradox of free will etc. This is not an unintended corollary since my aim is not confined to proposing a method which successfully evades the stigma of irrationality (or inconsistency) with respect to theological matters. Espousing an alternative rationale will, I believe, encourage a reexamination into some of the logical and metaphysical issues that have dictated our modes of thought and beliefs. Moreover, for such reexamination to remain within the purview of analytic philosophy may even be granted the privilege of contributing towards its evolution.

Please contact me via email for any additional information.