Ibn al-Arabi and Modern Thought

Ibn al-Arabi and Modern Thought



As the subtitle suggests, the approach of this study is to examine certain aspects of contemporary thought and theorizing in the light of the metaphysical teachings of the twelfth-century Andalusian Muhyiddin Ibn ¡Arabi. With some notable exceptions, much modern thought has not felt it necessary to delve deeply into its own metaphysical foundations nor to take seriously the history of metaphysics in general.

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The orientation of this study 1

  • Introduction 1
  • Ibn ،Arabi’s picture of reality 3
  • The question about questions: knowledge and its essential direction 4
  • Metaphysics, historically positioned discourses and human aspiration 10
  • Degrees of knowledge: the principle of immanencing 20
  • Ibn ،Arabi and modern thought: a reconfigured
  • topography 23
  • Notes 33

2 Ibn Arabi: philosophy and reason 37

  • Ibn ،Arabi, Averroës and philosophy as demonstrative science 37
  • Philosophy, reason and metaphysics 43
  • Reason and essential contestability 50
  • Reason and commitment 54
  • Scienti¥c philosophy 59
  • Philosophy of the subject 68
  • Wahdat al-wujud, wisdom and reason 74
  • Notes 78

3 Ibn Arabi and the era 81

  • The metaphysics of the era: creation and change 81
  • Social science and the emergence of the modern era 88
  • The reorientation of the self: science, technology and industrialization 98
  • Modernity, postmodernity and relativism 108
  • Notes 120
  • viii ~ contents

4 Ibn Arabi and the self 123

  • The metaphysics of self-knowledge 123
  • Modern psychology and the self 135
  • The treatment of the self in modern scienti¥c psychology 135
  • The relative invisibility of the self under the searchlight of experimentalism 137
  • Self and experience beyond the experimentalist paradigm 141
  • The turn towards a discursive–critical perspective 146
  • Further comments on the treatment of subjectivity and
  • self in psychology and computational models of mind 148
  • Wider perspectives on the mind and self in the early history of psychology: the case of Wundt and James 156
  • Psychology, post-empiricist views of science and the self 165
  • Psychology and essential contestability 169
  • The self as sui generis 170
  • Psychology, therapy and the self 172
  • Feminism and the self 177
  • Postscript 181
  • Notes 183


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