Non-reductionist theories of sense-perception in the philosophy of kalām

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Abstract / Description of output

In this article, I will argue that various scholars of kalām unanimously agree that sense-perception is something beyond the physical processes in the sense organs. There may be something happening in our eyes when we see a red apple, but seeing a red apple is not tantamount to it. We will see that some scholars of kalām argue that sense-perception is akin to being aware or conscious of the object of perception, and, hence, distinct from the physical process in the sense organs. One group will go so far as to accept that sense-perception is not even dependent on any physical processes in the body. Another group will accept that sense-perception presupposes that various physical conditions obtain, yet still regard sense-perception as something distinct from the occurrence of those conditions. I am suggesting that these nonreductive theories of sense-perception are the reason why Islamic philosophers, starting from the eleventh century CE, consistently reject the Aristotelian-Avicennian theory of sense-perception.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-117
Number of pages23
JournalArabic Sciences and Philosophy
Issue number1
Early online date12 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


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