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Al-Ghazali's Thought Experiment & Space

Yassine
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2/18/2016 4:10:21 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
- Without delving too much on the particulars of the views of al-Ghazali (or rather the orthodox theological school he & most Muslims adhere to) on Space-Time, I just wanna explore a particular idea he brought up to advance his perception of Space, or more precisely as he defines it, the Sense of Directions (Ittijahat). His idea is based on the supposition of a world where our perception of the outside world is spherical, such that we were created there as perfect spheres, & everything we sense, we sense it as a perfect sphere would. What he postulate from this, is that, since our perception is perfectly spherical, we wouldn't be able to discern directions, thus space. His aim was to prove the view of Imam al-Ash'ari (founder of the Ash'ari school, which al-Ghazali followed) that the existence of Space & Time is artificial (I'tibari), as opposed to real (Haq'idi). Long story short, al-Ghazali eventually reaches his conclusion with various dialectics & arguments, including the relevant part here, the Spherical Perception Thought Experiment (SPTE).

=> How do you imagine our perception would fair if it was indeed spherical? Do you agree with al-Ghazali's contention? His conclusion? Why or why not?

Thank you.
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Torton
Posts: 988
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2/18/2016 4:20:18 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/18/2016 4:10:21 AM, Yassine wrote:
- Without delving too much on the particulars of the views of al-Ghazali (or rather the orthodox theological school he & most Muslims adhere to) on Space-Time, I just wanna explore a particular idea he brought up to advance his perception of Space, or more precisely as he defines it, the Sense of Directions (Ittijahat). His idea is based on the supposition of a world where our perception of the outside world is spherical, such that we were created there as perfect spheres, & everything we sense, we sense it as a perfect sphere would. What he postulate from this, is that, since our perception is perfectly spherical, we wouldn't be able to discern directions, thus space. His aim was to prove the view of Imam al-Ash'ari (founder of the Ash'ari school, which al-Ghazali followed) that the existence of Space & Time is artificial (I'tibari), as opposed to real (Haq'idi). Long story short, al-Ghazali eventually reaches his conclusion with various dialectics & arguments, including the relevant part here, the Spherical Perception Thought Experiment (SPTE).

=> How do you imagine our perception would fair if it was indeed spherical? Do you agree with al-Ghazali's contention? His conclusion? Why or why not?

Thank you.
I think philosophy should stay out of science, because whenever they don't, they end up looking silly.
Yassine
Posts: 2,617
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2/18/2016 4:21:30 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/18/2016 4:20:18 AM, Torton wrote:
At 2/18/2016 4:10:21 AM, Yassine wrote:
- Without delving too much on the particulars of the views of al-Ghazali (or rather the orthodox theological school he & most Muslims adhere to) on Space-Time, I just wanna explore a particular idea he brought up to advance his perception of Space, or more precisely as he defines it, the Sense of Directions (Ittijahat). His idea is based on the supposition of a world where our perception of the outside world is spherical, such that we were created there as perfect spheres, & everything we sense, we sense it as a perfect sphere would. What he postulate from this, is that, since our perception is perfectly spherical, we wouldn't be able to discern directions, thus space. His aim was to prove the view of Imam al-Ash'ari (founder of the Ash'ari school, which al-Ghazali followed) that the existence of Space & Time is artificial (I'tibari), as opposed to real (Haq'idi). Long story short, al-Ghazali eventually reaches his conclusion with various dialectics & arguments, including the relevant part here, the Spherical Perception Thought Experiment (SPTE).

=> How do you imagine our perception would fair if it was indeed spherical? Do you agree with al-Ghazali's contention? His conclusion? Why or why not?

Thank you.
I think philosophy should stay out of science, because whenever they don't, they end up looking silly.

- I think you should stay out of both, lest you end up looking silly.
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Torton
Posts: 988
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2/18/2016 4:28:03 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/18/2016 4:21:30 AM, Yassine wrote:
At 2/18/2016 4:20:18 AM, Torton wrote:
At 2/18/2016 4:10:21 AM, Yassine wrote:
- Without delving too much on the particulars of the views of al-Ghazali (or rather the orthodox theological school he & most Muslims adhere to) on Space-Time, I just wanna explore a particular idea he brought up to advance his perception of Space, or more precisely as he defines it, the Sense of Directions (Ittijahat). His idea is based on the supposition of a world where our perception of the outside world is spherical, such that we were created there as perfect spheres, & everything we sense, we sense it as a perfect sphere would. What he postulate from this, is that, since our perception is perfectly spherical, we wouldn't be able to discern directions, thus space. His aim was to prove the view of Imam al-Ash'ari (founder of the Ash'ari school, which al-Ghazali followed) that the existence of Space & Time is artificial (I'tibari), as opposed to real (Haq'idi). Long story short, al-Ghazali eventually reaches his conclusion with various dialectics & arguments, including the relevant part here, the Spherical Perception Thought Experiment (SPTE).

=> How do you imagine our perception would fair if it was indeed spherical? Do you agree with al-Ghazali's contention? His conclusion? Why or why not?

Thank you.
I think philosophy should stay out of science, because whenever they don't, they end up looking silly.

- I think you should stay out of both, lest you end up looking silly.
Right back at you.
Yassine
Posts: 2,617
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2/18/2016 4:29:34 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/18/2016 4:28:03 AM, Torton wrote:

Right back at you.

- Too bad, I already have credentials in both. :-P
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Philosophy101
Posts: 133
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2/19/2016 9:35:49 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/18/2016 4:10:21 AM, Yassine wrote:
- Without delving too much on the particulars of the views of al-Ghazali (or rather the orthodox theological school he & most Muslims adhere to) on Space-Time, I just wanna explore a particular idea he brought up to advance his perception of Space, or more precisely as he defines it, the Sense of Directions (Ittijahat). His idea is based on the supposition of a world where our perception of the outside world is spherical, such that we were created there as perfect spheres, & everything we sense, we sense it as a perfect sphere would. What he postulate from this, is that, since our perception is perfectly spherical, we wouldn't be able to discern directions, thus space. His aim was to prove the view of Imam al-Ash'ari (founder of the Ash'ari school, which al-Ghazali followed) that the existence of Space & Time is artificial (I'tibari), as opposed to real (Haq'idi). Long story short, al-Ghazali eventually reaches his conclusion with various dialectics & arguments, including the relevant part here, the Spherical Perception Thought Experiment (SPTE).

=> How do you imagine our perception would fair if it was indeed spherical? Do you agree with al-Ghazali's contention? His conclusion? Why or why not?

Thank you.

Interesting post, but I must say I don't understand it. Why does spherical perception inhibit seeing directions? Also why would he postulate such a strange conclusion? In my day to day life I experience up/down etc., why would he think I am mistaken?
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
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2/19/2016 10:30:04 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/18/2016 4:10:21 AM, Yassine wrote:
His idea is based on the supposition of a world where our perception of the outside world is spherical, such that we were created there as perfect spheres, & everything we sense, we sense it as a perfect sphere would.

Like 360" vision?
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Yassine
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2/21/2016 4:48:27 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/19/2016 9:35:49 AM, Philosophy101 wrote:
At 2/18/2016 4:10:21 AM, Yassine wrote:
- Without delving too much on the particulars of the views of al-Ghazali (or rather the orthodox theological school he & most Muslims adhere to) on Space-Time, I just wanna explore a particular idea he brought up to advance his perception of Space, or more precisely as he defines it, the Sense of Directions (Ittijahat). His idea is based on the supposition of a world where our perception of the outside world is spherical, such that we were created there as perfect spheres, & everything we sense, we sense it as a perfect sphere would. What he postulate from this, is that, since our perception is perfectly spherical, we wouldn't be able to discern directions, thus space. His aim was to prove the view of Imam al-Ash'ari (founder of the Ash'ari school, which al-Ghazali followed) that the existence of Space & Time is artificial (I'tibari), as opposed to real (Haq'idi). Long story short, al-Ghazali eventually reaches his conclusion with various dialectics & arguments, including the relevant part here, the Spherical Perception Thought Experiment (SPTE).

=> How do you imagine our perception would fair if it was indeed spherical? Do you agree with al-Ghazali's contention? His conclusion? Why or why not?

Thank you.

Interesting post, but I must say I don't understand it. Why does spherical perception inhibit seeing directions?

- A perfect sphere does not distinguish between any direction, for they are all invariantly equal.

Also why would he postulate such a strange conclusion?

- Since in a spherical perception model, directions would be indistinguishable, then so would space (as it would basically look like a line), space, as normally perceived, exists, thus, only as a matter of perception, not as a real objective thing.

In my day to day life I experience up/down etc., why would he think I am mistaken?

- Exactly. That IS your perception.
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Yassine
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2/21/2016 4:51:41 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/19/2016 10:30:04 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 2/18/2016 4:10:21 AM, Yassine wrote:
His idea is based on the supposition of a world where our perception of the outside world is spherical, such that we were created there as perfect spheres, & everything we sense, we sense it as a perfect sphere would.

Like 360" vision?

- No, more like the perception of the Universe from the point of view of a single literal point.
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Fkkize
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2/21/2016 7:28:15 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/21/2016 4:51:41 PM, Yassine wrote:
At 2/19/2016 10:30:04 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 2/18/2016 4:10:21 AM, Yassine wrote:
His idea is based on the supposition of a world where our perception of the outside world is spherical, such that we were created there as perfect spheres, & everything we sense, we sense it as a perfect sphere would.

Like 360" vision?

- No, more like the perception of the Universe from the point of view of a single literal point.

I'm not sure how to make sense of it then.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Yassine
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2/21/2016 9:07:40 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/21/2016 7:28:15 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 2/21/2016 4:51:41 PM, Yassine wrote:
At 2/19/2016 10:30:04 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 2/18/2016 4:10:21 AM, Yassine wrote:
His idea is based on the supposition of a world where our perception of the outside world is spherical, such that we were created there as perfect spheres, & everything we sense, we sense it as a perfect sphere would.

Like 360" vision?

- No, more like the perception of the Universe from the point of view of a single literal point.

I'm not sure how to make sense of it then.

- If you are a little familiar with mathematics, the 'point' here would be the centre of the spherical coordinates based space, in which case all lines which pass through this 'point' (perceivable space) are all arbitrarily equivalent, i.e. directions are relative & 'arbitrary'.
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ssadi
Posts: 324
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2/25/2016 1:04:14 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/18/2016 4:10:21 AM, Yassine wrote:
- Without delving too much on the particulars of the views of al-Ghazali (or rather the orthodox theological school he & most Muslims adhere to) on Space-Time, I just wanna explore a particular idea he brought up to advance his perception of Space, or more precisely as he defines it, the Sense of Directions (Ittijahat). His idea is based on the supposition of a world where our perception of the outside world is spherical, such that we were created there as perfect spheres, & everything we sense, we sense it as a perfect sphere would. What he postulate from this, is that, since our perception is perfectly spherical, we wouldn't be able to discern directions, thus space. His aim was to prove the view of Imam al-Ash'ari (founder of the Ash'ari school, which al-Ghazali followed) that the existence of Space & Time is artificial (I'tibari), as opposed to real (Haq'idi). Long story short, al-Ghazali eventually reaches his conclusion with various dialectics & arguments, including the relevant part here, the Spherical Perception Thought Experiment (SPTE).

Dear Yassine,

I found this VERY interesting. For two reasons:

1 - I would like to compare that to modern physics' point of view on space-time.
2 - Al-Ghazali is one of my favorite scholars. lol

Where does Ghazali discuss it? Can you provide reference please?

=> How do you imagine our perception would fair if it was indeed spherical? Do you agree with al-Ghazali's contention? His conclusion? Why or why not?

Thank you.

Thank you too.
Or were they created without anything being before them (or out of something different than the basic material of all creation, so that they know things others do not), or are they the creators (of themselves, so that they can maintain themselves and are free in their acts)? Or did they create the heavens and the earth (so that their sovereignty belongs to them)? No indeed. Rather, they have no certain knowledge (about creation, humankind, and the basic facts concerning them).

Quran, 52:35-36
Yassine
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2/25/2016 2:39:41 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/25/2016 1:04:14 PM, ssadi wrote:

Dear Yassine,

I found this VERY interesting. For two reasons:

1 - I would like to compare that to modern physics' point of view on space-time.

- It's more of an epistemological/metaphysical observation rather than a physical one.

2 - Al-Ghazali is one of my favorite scholars. lol

- He is my favourite too. My profile pic is a sketch of him.

Where does Ghazali discuss it? Can you provide reference please?

- He briefly mentions it in Al-Ihyaa, 1st Quarter, 2nd book, Foundations of Belief, 3rd section: "directions are accidental, for the human being is accidental, had the human being not been created as is, but as a spherical being, these directions wouldn't have been existent". He elaborates more on this in other works, such as al-Iqtisad, & at-Tahafut.
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ssadi
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2/25/2016 2:59:14 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/25/2016 2:39:41 PM, Yassine wrote:
At 2/25/2016 1:04:14 PM, ssadi wrote:

Dear Yassine,

I found this VERY interesting. For two reasons:

1 - I would like to compare that to modern physics' point of view on space-time.

- It's more of an epistemological/metaphysical observation rather than a physical one.

1 - The "spherical coordinates" idea/analogy is quite interesting.

2 - The word "I'tibari" somehow brought the idea of "space-time according to relativity in modern physics: space & time are not absolute, but relative" to my mind.. I am just curious to see if there is any relation between them.

2 - Al-Ghazali is one of my favorite scholars. lol

- He is my favourite too. My profile pic is a sketch of him.

Where does Ghazali discuss it? Can you provide reference please?

- He briefly mentions it in Al-Ihyaa, 1st Quarter, 2nd book, Foundations of Belief, 3rd section: "directions are accidental, for the human being is accidental, had the human being not been created as is, but as a spherical being, these directions wouldn't have been existent". He elaborates more on this in other works, such as al-Iqtisad, & at-Tahafut.

Thank you very much for info. I will read it asap..
Or were they created without anything being before them (or out of something different than the basic material of all creation, so that they know things others do not), or are they the creators (of themselves, so that they can maintain themselves and are free in their acts)? Or did they create the heavens and the earth (so that their sovereignty belongs to them)? No indeed. Rather, they have no certain knowledge (about creation, humankind, and the basic facts concerning them).

Quran, 52:35-36
Yassine
Posts: 2,617
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2/25/2016 3:59:45 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/25/2016 2:59:14 PM, ssadi wrote:

1 - The "spherical coordinates" idea/analogy is quite interesting.

- That's my analogy. al-Ghazali's idea rests on the contention that for a sphere, it's inconceivable to distinguish between the directions: right/left, up/down & front/back.

2 - The word "I'tibari" somehow brought the idea of "space-time according to relativity in modern physics: space & time are not absolute, but relative" to my mind.. I am just curious to see if there is any relation between them.

- Wujud I'tibari is a technical term for conventional/relative existence. That is, existence not real in itself, but only as a perceived link or a convention, such as language itself. Time, too, has a Wujud I'tibari according to the Ash'ari School.

Thank you very much for info. I will read it asap..

- My pleasure.
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matt8800
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3/5/2016 1:36:07 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/18/2016 4:20:18 AM, Torton wrote:
At 2/18/2016 4:10:21 AM, Yassine wrote:
- Without delving too much on the particulars of the views of al-Ghazali (or rather the orthodox theological school he & most Muslims adhere to) on Space-Time, I just wanna explore a particular idea he brought up to advance his perception of Space, or more precisely as he defines it, the Sense of Directions (Ittijahat). His idea is based on the supposition of a world where our perception of the outside world is spherical, such that we were created there as perfect spheres, & everything we sense, we sense it as a perfect sphere would. What he postulate from this, is that, since our perception is perfectly spherical, we wouldn't be able to discern directions, thus space. His aim was to prove the view of Imam al-Ash'ari (founder of the Ash'ari school, which al-Ghazali followed) that the existence of Space & Time is artificial (I'tibari), as opposed to real (Haq'idi). Long story short, al-Ghazali eventually reaches his conclusion with various dialectics & arguments, including the relevant part here, the Spherical Perception Thought Experiment (SPTE).

=> How do you imagine our perception would fair if it was indeed spherical? Do you agree with al-Ghazali's contention? His conclusion? Why or why not?

Thank you.
I think philosophy should stay out of science, because whenever they don't, they end up looking silly.

I think combining them can lead to fascinating ideas and I am all for it as long as we don't call conclusions from the combination science.