The Physical Theory of Kalam: Atoms, Space, and Void in by Alnoor Dhanani

By Alnoor Dhanani

This paintings reconstructs the theories of subject and house of the "mutakallimun" of the tenth and eleventh centuries. It makes use of texts that have basically turn into to be had lately. The paintings offers fabric which demanding situations past knowing of "kalam" atomism. specifically, it analyzes the concept that of atoms as a "space-occupying item" with out size but having value. It examines the style of the atom's career of area, and discusses arguments for and opposed to unoccupied areas or the void. a close exam of the paradoxical nature of such an atom follows. The argument is made "discrete" instead of a "continuous" belief of house, subject, time, movement and geometry underlies "kalam" actual thought. during this recognize, the "kalam" atom is the same to the Epicurean minimum half.

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Additional resources for The Physical Theory of Kalam: Atoms, Space, and Void in Basrian Mu'Tazili Cosmology (Islamic Philosophy, Theology, & Science)

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Rather, these two kinds of space are con­ tiguous regions of space such that occupied spaces are embedded in, and surrounded by empty space. The view, then, that m akän denotes empty space unoccupied by any object entails the further belief in the existence of the void, a doc33 al-Bâqillânï, Insäf, ed. ‘Izzat al-Attär al-Husaynl, (Cairo, 1950), 15. 34 Hence Shaykh al-Mufid states, “W hat is the definition of mutahayyiz? ), 75). Ibn Slnä's use of hayyiz for the natural place of an object also conveys the sense of a part of space which has been apportioned.

15 It w ould seem, then, that when Aristotle makes Democritus’ atoms to be substances he has the notion of sub­ stance as matter in mind, that is substance as the underlying substrate for change, which, for the Atomists is the individual atom. In my view, it is this concept of the atom as the material substrate of change, which underlies the kaläm use of jaw har to denote the atom. The differing views of jawhar which are reported by al-Ash‘ari reflect this, for, apart from the Christian view of substance, the three other views which he reports attempt to define jawhar as the substrate in which accidents, whose role it is to explicate change, inhere.

107 Ih n Mattawayh, Tadhkira, 432, which is very terse and therefore muddled, but is clearer in the Sharh al-tadhkira, 70v. 108 (3) The third category of accidents are also imperceptible, but are known as a result of proof (daläla). 109 In general, the argument which is used to establish the existence of the psychological accidents relies on the distinction we observe between our state of, for example, w illing and not willing. 110 The argument for proving the existence of the accident of adhesion is based on the observation that we find it difficult to break some b o d ­ ies into their constituent atoms while other bodies can broken w ithout much effort.

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