Faith, Philosophy and the Reflective Muslim by Zain Ali (auth.)

By Zain Ali (auth.)

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Nevertheless, I do think that James’s account can accommodate the epistemic and ethical concerns that were brought to light by our engagement with Clifford. I also suggest that James is correct to critique the absolutist nature of Clifford’s evidentialist maxim. I agree with James that Clifford’s maxim is mistaken, and the reasons for this view are as follows: (1) There are exceptions, such as the example of the mountaineer and the case of courtship, where a decision has to be made on grounds other than rational and empirical considerations.

Accordingly, if the reflective Muslim maintains that their belief in God is passionally caused, then they are entitled to decide the option in accordance with their passional nature. That is, once the reflective Muslim can satisfy the Jamesian constraints, they are then entitled to 34 Faith, Philosophy and the Reflective Muslim hold and act on their belief in God, under the condition of evidential ambiguity. This response can also be employed by a reflective theist from other religious traditions as well, and this may be troubling for some Muslims.

If anyone tries to dissuade me by saying, ‘No three is more than ten’, and wants to prove it by changing in front of me this stick into a serpent, even if I saw him changing it, still this fact would engender no doubt about my knowledge. Certainly, I would be astonished at such a power, but would not doubt my knowledge ... 28 The quest for certainty motivates al-Ghazālī to embark on an epistemological odyssey. His desire for certainty also drives him to physical and mental paralysis. He notes his inability to continue with his teaching and his inability to overcome his sceptical frame of mind.

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