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Abstract


Ali al-Tusi’s Contributions to the Seventeenth Discussion of al-Ghazali's Tahafut
In this paper, I analyse the 17th chapter of a 15th century Tahafut work by Ali al-Tusi which is devoted to the problem of causality. This analysis argues that Ali al-Tusi agrees with al-Ghazali’s 17th discussion of causality and presents a number of conceptual and argumentative structures. Like al-Ghazali, Ali al-Tusi argues that the ontological relationship between cause and effect is not necessary and that this non-necessity does not weaken the certainty of our knowledge of the causal order. Ali al-Tusi differs from al-Ghazali by utilizing the concept of nafs al-amr in order to deny causal necessity, applying the distinction between true and ordinary causality for the two realms of causality (i.e. physical and metaphysical), and focusing on the contradictions between the physical and metaphysical explanations of the philosophers’ theories of motion. Consequently, Ali al-Tusi’s Tahafut cannot be considered as a commentary in the narrow sense, because he goes beyond the original context of al-Ghazali by taking into account post-classical thought on causality.

Keywords
Commentary, Tahafut tradition, seventeenth chapter, causality, Ali al-Tusi.


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