Discussion of Causality in Ghazzâlî and Averroes and Its Impact on the History of Science
Keywords: Incoherence (tehâfüt),Ghazzâlî,Averroes,causality,necessity,science
The discussion over incoherence (tehâfüt) which starts with Ghazzâlî and which Averroes responds provides a starting point for questioning the critical dialogues of theology (kalâm) and philosphy tradi- tions with one another in the middle age of Islam. Even though all the discussion subjects are interesting, it can be said that the causality problem forms nearly all the discussions in incoherence. As its known, a radical separation has been experienced between two major intellectual traditions of the medieval Islamic thought: theology (kalâm) and philosophy (falsafah). The discussion of casuality in theology are based on the interpretations of some statements related to the power of God and the relation of God-universe in the sacred texts. The theologists developed a fragmental and discontinuous model of universe and they interpreted the Islamic sacred texts under the light of this model though using an ancient atomist tradition and they rejected the causality both at the divine and natural level. They rejected the nature and the essence which require the actions of the objects. However, the philosphers regarded themselves as the developers of the rational and scientific philosophy of Aristotle. In philosophy, the God was regarded as the first cause, it has been defended that the things necessarily existed with cause and effect through divine emanation (sudûr), it has been claimed that the objects have the nature and the essence that require their actions. To philosophers, to know a thing is to know its causes; namely, the rejection of the nature or essence of a thing and natural causality means the denial of knowledge as well. Therefore, the approval of causality is essential for the philosophers ontolgically and epistemologically. While Ghazzâlî prioritises the theological tradition, Averroes prioritises the philosophical tradition; a radical discussion has been experienced between these two as to whether the natural causality is necessity in the incohererence tradition. In this study, first, the criticisms of Ghazzâlî towards the thought of natural causality necessity and then as a philospher the defend of Averroes regarding the natural causality against Ghazzâlî will be focused on, the ontological and the epistemological ground on which the discussions are based will be generally revealed. The discussion is highly important; for many modern eastern and western researchers have intrepreted Ghazzâlî's criticisim of the necessity of causality as the denial of causality and they declared that Ghazzâlî is the main reason for the scientific decadence; for the thought of causality has had an important function in science from past to our present time. Therefore, it is inevitable to analyze the discussion so as to reach a right decision.