The discover objective realities and although some
The author of this book is Muhammad Baqir Al Sadar.
He was an Iraqi Shia cleric, philosopher, and ideological founder of the Islamic Dawa Party. He was born on 1st March 1935 and died on April 9, 1980 in Baghdad, Iraq. Al-Sadar’s main aim while writing this book was to respond to the ever growing communist ideas in the mind of secular youth of Iraq.
The book discusses 4 major philosophies and school of thoughts i.e. Capitalism, Socialism, Communism and Islam.
In this chapter, the author based his argument on the notion that “The only way available for mankind to capture the essence of reality and to uncover the secrets of the world is through the totality of the sciences and the knowledge that they possess”. In order to further investigate this notion, he took various ideologies and philosophies into consideration including Marxism, Idealism, Relativism and Scientific Skepticism. In the beginning of the chapter, the author compares and contrasts two philosophies: Marxism and Idealism. The Marxist Philosophy states that it is possible for the human mind to discover objective realities and although some things and phenomenon are still unknown it does not mean they will remain undiscovered. Marxists believe in the fact that humans, based on their knowledge and understanding of the world, are capable of unravelling the reality of the unknowns of the world by applying scientific or practical methods. Idealism on the other hand firmly negates this proposition.
The core of this philosophy rest on the ideology of doubt and uncertainty. It believes that it is impossible to know the underlying factors and laws which make this world work and make it the way it is. The Idealists rely on the notion that the world is “full of things subsisting by themselves” and humans, no matter how hard they try, cannot understand the complexity of the world and its operations.Furthermore, the author try to know whether it is suitable for Marxism to claim the existence of philosophical certainty and decisive knowledge. In order to ensure that, he presented the “Views of the Greeks”.
In this era, for quite a long time sophistry (use of false arguments) disregarded the importance and significance of Science and Philosophy until philosophers of enormous stature like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle appeared on the academic horizon. Sense learning and essentials, which are procured by thinking about legitimate standards, are facts with a flat out esteem; because of this, Aristotle allows the illustration (the outright confirmation in his coherent sense) of the utilization of both sense information and objective information. Because of Aristotle, decisions were made and judged by the logical criteria. For some time the wave of doubt and uncertainty died down. But the discoveries made by science in the 16th century revived the fire of doubt.
Descartes emerged during this time and gave the philosophical world a degree of certitude. He was a rationalist and a prominent philosopher in England. His opinion was that ideas and sense perception are both susceptible to errors. During his time, he constantly insisted on the importance of doubt and uncertainty.
He considered doubt as the perpetual doctrine. He shifted his focus from conception to existence. In order to prove the subject and the object, he uttered his famous line: “I think, therefore, I exist”. This fundamental principle which Descartes used in order to prove his theory of knowledge was critically analyzed and criticized by the Muslim Philosopher Ibn-e-Sina as he thought that it is impossible for an absolute thought to assert the existence of a specific thinker, on the contrary it asserts the proposition of an absolute thinker.
Human mind, in the opinion of Ibn-e-Sina, human being cannot prove his/her existence by the means of his/her thoughts.Consequently the ascension of John Locke took place. He was the proponent of experiential theory. He divided the knowledge into three categories i.
e. Intuitive Knowledge which can be acquired without recognizing something else, Reflective Knowledge which cannot be acquired without previous knowledge being the reference point and finally the knowledge which can be acquired by the empirical know-how of the examined object. In the eyes of John Locke, the empirical knowledge does not hold high philosophical value. Though he consider some of them tangible and objective like odor and color. This disregard for sense perception creates a big confusion. According to John Locke theory of knowledge, even the intuitive knowledge is formed by the sense perception but on the other hand he completely disregard the sense perception and does not consider it having an absolute philosophical value. – The author then furthered his decision and moved on to the philosophy of Idealism.
The ancient Idealism played its part in the philosophical arena by the help of Plato. The definition of Idealism was quite different in Plato’s time then it is in modern idealism. In Plato’s time, idealism was more of an excessive acceptance of the reality and existence.
Therefore, the ancient idealism does not involve any kind of doubt, denial and uncertainty. However, the modern idealism on the other hand was a swift attempt to dismantle the fundamentals of objectivity and to present a new doctrine regarding the theory of knowledge. Some writers and philosophers consider any philosophy which include doubt and uncertainty as the branch of Idealism. According to such writers, agnosticism, spiritualism, and criticism are idealistic philosophies.
There are three tendencies of modern idealism i.e. Philosophical Idealism which was founded by Berkeley. This idealism can be summarized by the line of its founder which is “To exist is to know to be known” which asserts the impossibility of the assertion of the existence of an object without the object knowledge and existence.
Berkeley also argued that the definition of ‘existence’ does not have same meaning for him as it had for others. Therefore, “the existence of a thing is nothing but its existence in our knowledge of that thing.” The 2nd tendency is Physical Idealism. Before the discovery of electron, the scientists used to explain the nature of physics in a materialistic and realistic way. But soon after the discovery of electron, the scientists realized that the materialistic approach had died down and this approach had become ‘inconsistent with science and empirical evidence’. Therefore, to tackle this inconsistency the idealistic tendency or the philosophy of agnosticism came into existence. The 3rd tendency is Physiological.
This philosophy argues that subjective form of human sense perception depends upon one’s nervous system and organs more than anything else. This philosophy is of the opinion that these senses don’t give knowledge about the external world rather it informed the person about his/her ‘private organic system’.The author then discussed about the philosophy of Relativism. This philosophy accepts the possibility of existence of reality and human knowledge.
It is of the opinion that the knowledge is relative therefore it is inseparable to the subjectivity of the knowing mind, which implies that the knowledge is not absolute and so is the reality. The philosophy of Relativism is further divided into 2 main tendencies: the relativism of Immanuel Kant who divided the theory of knowledge into three groups: Mathematics, Natural Science and Metaphysics. The 2nd tendency was Subjective Relativism. Like the name suggests, the Subjective Relativism argue that the situations and circumstances shape the truth. The circumstances of individuals differ from each other therefore their truth will too; this notion implies that there is not one truth but many necessitated by an individual personal experiences.
This tendency of Relativism varies from Kant’s in two ways. In this tendency, all the truths are subjective realities while in Kant’s perspective mathematical principles and knowledge are the absolute truth. Furthermore, Subjective Relativism claim that the truth vary from person to person as everybody has different role and activities to play while Kant think that the methods and nature of knowledge are natural molds and all human minds equally participate in them.Furthermore, the author moved on to discuss the philosophy of Scientific Skepticism. Even though the wave of doubt that erupted after the discovery of electron was not of scientific nature but of philosophical one but in other fields discoveries of larger magnitude cause doubt and ‘denial of human knowledge’.
The theories resulting from doubts of such nature come under the banner of Scientific Skepticism. There are there most important parts of this theory: Behaviorism which denies the existence of human mind and consciousness. It try to explain the psychology of human mind without taking mind and subconscious into considerations. In the opinion of this theory, the mind does not exist only body languages and behaviors do.
The behaviorist think that idea can change if there is a change in the environment of the thinker. They consider the discussion of the idea of the thinker useless as they deemed external stimuli more important. The 2nd part is the Freud’s doctrine of psychoanalysis. Even though Freud reached similar conclusion as those of Behaviorism but he does accept the existence of mind. For him, there are two divisions of mind: one is the conscious part and the 2nd one is the unconscious desires, ideas and instincts which rule the conscious mind.
According to Freud, mind is not for shaping the world and reality but it is an instrument to fulfil and satisfy human’ instincts and desires. Sometimes, the instincts and desires don’t correspond to the reality of the world therefore, as long as mind serves the purpose of its instincts, it can’t be said to have the ability to reflect the reality. The 3rd part is the Historical Materialism which although accept the conclusion reached by behaviorism and psychoanalysis but reject the idea of skepticism and accept the philosophical value of knowledge.
The main idea of this philosophy is that the economic condition of a society is the actual basis of its existence. Historical materialism presents the complete ideology of Marxism. The philosophy has similarities with the psychoanalysis philosophy of Freud. The economic factors considered in the historical materialism holds the same position in this philosophy as consciousness and instincts have in the Freudian Philosophy of Psychoanalysis.
From all the reading of Marxism and HistoricalMaterialism, one can understand that the Marxist don’t yield to the idea of skepticism even though Historical Materialism expresses the full notion of Marxism rather it accepts knowledge and considers it philosophical value.