Oxford University Press,para. Harrison, at ; J. Sartre, Being and Nothingness, trans. Hazel Barnes New York:
Women, Islam, and the Twenty-first Century Written by leading scholars, the Focus On essays are designed to stimulate thought and enhance understanding of vital aspects of the Islamic world. New essays on specific themes, with links to related content within the site for further reading, are published throughout the course of the year.
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Selected questions and the author's replies will be posted in our Focus On Forum in tandem with site updates. Islam and Science Professor Ibrahim Kalin The debate over Islam and science covers a wide range of issues and extends from political leaders and experts to the public at large.
Revealing the ever-present tensions between theory and practice, this debate takes place at two levels: At the practical level, the challenge is keeping up with the technological civilization of our age and bridging the gap between the advanced societies of the West and Muslim countries.
From Mustafa Kemal Ataturkthe founder of the modern Turkish Republicto the Islamic Republic of Iran and poor and rich Arab countries, empowering nations through science and technology is a top priority for all governments in the Muslim world, even though not all succeed in this goal. But it is not only governments and bureaucrats who think this way; the public at large is also fascinated by the power and magic of science and technology, which has penetrated all aspects of our lives.
By will or by necessity, the vast majority of Muslims use science and technology in ways indistinguishable from the rest of the world. While the practical application of science shadows everything else, the intellectual claims surrounding it raise serious questions.
As a systematic way of studying nature, science operates within a framework of philosophical assumptions that overlap with theology and philosophy.
Religious, cosmologicaland metaphysical ideas provide a context of justification for the scientific study of the order of nature. These ideas and presuppositions may not always be explicitly articulated, but they underlie the conceptual foundations of all scientific traditions from the classical to the modern period.
Contrary to the claims of positivists and scientific purists, scientific inquiry is shaped by socio-historical circumstances and preferences.
Long before the publication of Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions in and the postmodernist critiques of science that followed it, a number of studies—including Edmund Burtt's The Foundations of Modern Physical Sciences—had begun to probe into the tacit and explicit presuppositions of modern natural sciences.
No matter how "objective" and precise it may claim to be, no science functions in a social or conceptual void. The Qur'an, Islam's sacred text, contains an elaborate cosmology, makes regular references to natural phenomena, and implores its readers to ponder the world of nature as God's signs ayat Allah, vestigia Dei.
It is quite telling that a verse of the Qur'an is also called an ayahi. It deals with issues that are also studied by the natural sciences: The Qur'an presents natural phenomena as both the foundations of the physical order in which we live and the marvelous work of God as the great Artisan.
By giving nature a religious meaning and a metaphysical function within the great chain of being, it offers a religious view of the universe which, in turn, lays the foundation for an Islamic philosophy of science.
But this is not simply a religious philosophy superimposed upon a material entity. Rather, it is an integrated and holistic notion of the universe in which man and nature are placed as complements to each other.
Islamic Worldview and Modern Science The notion of worldview is where Islam's holistic view of the universe runs into conflict with the secular, materialistic, and reductionist notions of the natural world.
The latter is not science in any proper sense of the term but what some have called "scientism," an ideological construction of science as an alternative worldview. Scientism seeks to supplant the religious view of the universe and reduce religion to ethics without a claim over the nature of reality.
This explains in part why modern atheism makes frequent use of scientism to substantiate its claims against religious faith.
The debate as to whether Islam and science can be reconciled is not so much about science as it is about the unsubstantiated claims of scientism and its dubious philosophical arguments. The secularization of the world-picture has been one of the most important outcomes of the scientific revolution.
The scientistic worldview that has emerged out of this process has reduced nature to dead matter and divested the natural world of any intrinsic qualities. It has rejected the creationist account of traditional religions and purged all teleology from scientific nomenclature.
The Darwinian theory of evolutionfor instance, has come to symbolize the epic battle between religion and science in the West and has caused considerable consternation in the Muslim world, since the majority of Muslims maintain the creation story as the explanation of life on earth.
It is therefore not easy to reconcile the philosophical assumptions of modern scientism with the religious view of the universe espoused by the Qur'an and the Islamic intellectual tradition. These two perspectives represent not just two separate domains, i.
The world-picture that emerges out of these approaches has far-reaching consequences for the theory and practice of science in any civilization. While the advocates of modern science and technology in the Muslim world emphasize the practical applications of science and consider them essential for the advancement of Muslim societies in the twenty-first century, their critics point to the philosophical and ideological underpinnings of scientism and offer an alternative philosophy of science.
Scientism on the Attack Scientism's frontal attack on Islam came from Ernest Renan at a lecture at the Sorbonne in A famous historian of religion and devoted positivist of his time, Renan argued that Islam was inherently irrational, militantly intolerant, and essentially incapable of producing science and philosophy.
Lacking the "scientific outlook" that made the scientific revolution possible, Islam prevented the development of science and the kind of "free thinking" that is independent of all metaphysical and religious notions.This important collection of essays includes Professor Hart's first defense of legal positivism; his discussion of the distinctive teaching of American and Scandinavian jurisprudence; an examination of theories of basic human rights and the notion of "social solidarity," and essays on Jhering, Kelsen, Holmes, and Lon Fuller.
Although Oxford Law graduates gain a BA in Jurisprudence rather than an LLB, each of the Oxford Law courses counts as a qualifying law degree so Oxford Law graduates can immediately go on to the Legal Practice Course (for solicitors) or the Bar Professional Training Course (for barristers).
Key: Developments in Therapeutic Jurisprudence This is the second of two major collections of essays in therapeutic jurisprudence that have been published. The first, Essays in Therapeutic Jurisprudence also edited by Wexler and Winick, was published in These two books of essays and the impressive bibliog The New Oxford English.
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