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In the Name of God بسم الله

Shaheed Sadr's philosophical argument.

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Ayatullah Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr [r] describes a certain argument for the existence of Allah in his book: The Revealer, The Messenger, The Message. I have pasted a part of the argument below:

What is the formal name of this argument and is there a formal name for the second principle? The only thing I know of is this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_degree which isn't the same and is a weak argument.

What you you think of shaheed Sadr's proof?

1. Every effect has a cause.

2. The lower cannot be the cause of something higher than itself, with regard to degrees of being.

3. The diversity of degrees of being in this universe and the variety in its form are qualitative.

In light of these three issues, we can clearly discern an actual development in quantitatively evolved forms, which: means the manifestation of the fullness of being in matter and. a quantitative. increase in it.

We should therefore ask; "Where did this increase come from, and how did this new multiplicity appear, since every effect must have a cause?" There are two answers to this question. The first is that it originated in matter itself. Matter which has no life, feeling or thought created through its process of evolution life, feeling and thought. This is to say a lower form of matter was itself the cause of a higher form without itself possessing the properties of being enabling it to perform such a function. This answer, however, contradicts our second principle, which asserts that a lower form cannot be the cause of another greater than it and richer in being. Thus, the idea that dead matter, devoid of the pulsation of life can grant itself or another matter life, feeling and thought, is like the idea of someone who has no knowledge of the English language, nonetheless attempting to teach it to others; or that of a dim light emanating a light greater than it in brilliance, such as the light of the sun; or that of a poor man with no capital, attempting to finance big projects.

The second answer to this, question is that this additional property which matter manifests through its evolution, must have originated from a source which is in full possession of it. This source is God; the Lord of the worlds, praised and exalted be He. The growth of matter, therefore is no more than the creative process of growth and development which God manifests in His wisdom, ordinance and lordship over all things

http://www.al-islam.org/revealer/6.htm

Edited by Muhammed Ali
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What you you think of shaheed Sadr's proof?

I'm not sure I fully understand the second premise, but if I do, it seems rather dubious. In nature we often see simpler ("lower") phenomena that, together, can form a more complex ("higher") phenomenon. Sometimes this goes under the rubric of "emergent behavior" -- the more complex/"higher" phenomenon "emerges" from the simpler/"lower." This happens in numerous areas of science.

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Ayatullah Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr [r] describes a certain argument for the existence of Allah in his book: The Revealer, The Messenger, The Message. I have pasted a part of the argument below:

What is the formal name of this argument and is there a formal name for the second principle? The only thing I know of is this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_degree which isn't the same and is a weak argument.

What you you think of shaheed Sadr's proof?

http://www.al-islam.org/revealer/6.htm

Aquinas' argument looks pretty (prettier). :)

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I'm not sure I fully understand the second premise, but if I do, it seems rather dubious. In nature we often see simpler ("lower") phenomena that, together, can form a more complex ("higher") phenomenon. Sometimes this goes under the rubric of "emergent behavior" -- the more complex/"higher" phenomenon "emerges" from the simpler/"lower." This happens in numerous areas of science.

I think he is alluding to the verse: æóÅöäú ãöäú ÔóíúÁò ÅöáøóÇ ÚöäúÏóäóÇ ÎóÒóÇÆöäõåõ æóãóÇ äõäóÒøöáõåõ ÅöáøóÇ ÈöÞóÏóÑò ãóÚúáõæãò .... [15:21] And there is not a thing but with Us are the stores thereof. And we send it not down save in appointed measure.

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I'm not sure I fully understand the second premise, but if I do, it seems rather dubious. In nature we often see simpler ("lower") phenomena that, together, can form a more complex ("higher") phenomenon. Sometimes this goes under the rubric of "emergent behavior" -- the more complex/"higher" phenomenon "emerges" from the simpler/"lower." This happens in numerous areas of science.

The lower phenomena don't seem to do it on their own. Atoms do not have the intelligence to create a human brain. A system exists which allows the atoms/cells to come together to form complex organs. Science to a certain extent may be able to describe systems which bring about those structures but the universe seems to be infinitely complex . The laws of physics and other laws bring about these changes and the theory of evolution cannot explain how the laws themselves "evolved". Even the multiverse theory begs the question since there would have to be a system in place to create multiverses.

Edited by Muhammed Ali
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Doesn't he just assume a perfect degree without justification just because there are variations in the real world?

this is premise two.

(#2) If an object has a property to a lesser extent, then there exists some other object that has the property to the maximum possible degree.

this is because if there is anything like "less", then there must be "great". because "less" cannot exist nor be conceived without "great". and "great" cannot exist nor be conceived without "less". things can only exist and can only be known through their opposite. So if there is the "least" thing, then there is the "greatest" thing. If there is night, there must be day. if there is day, there must be night. if there is the finite, then there is the infinite. If there is the infinite then there is the finite. If we are weak, then there is our strong counterpart. If there is a call, then there is an answer. "call upon Me and I will answer you".

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this is premise two.

(#2) If an object has a property to a lesser extent, then there exists some other object that has the property to the maximum possible degree.

this is because if there is anything like "less", then there must be "great". because "less" cannot exist nor be conceived without "great". and "great" cannot exist nor be conceived without "less". things can only exist and can only be known through their opposite. So if there is the "least" thing, then there is the "greatest" thing. If there is night, there must be day. if there is day, there must be night. if there is the finite, then there is the infinite. If there is the infinite then there is the finite. If we are weak, then there is our strong counterpart. If there is a call, then there is an answer. "call upon Me and I will answer you".

I can only agree with some of what you have written. Many things are known because of the things that reciprocate them. E.g. if it was always bright without any amount darkness then we may never have known what brightness is.

The concepts of lesser and greater can be known because of variation in the things that exist. E.g. if there is variation in the degrees of light then by looking at this variation I can come to understand that there exists lesser and greater levels of light. This is how we come to understand the concepts of lesser and greater, by the variations in the things that already exist and if something is lesser, it doesn’t mean that which is conceivably the greatest must exist.

There is a difference between that which we can conceive and that which actually exists. Using the reasoning that you have given there must be a being which exists with an infinite amounts of heads because having one head is less than having 10000000 heads and like you said: “this is because if there is anything like "less", then there must be "great".” It's like Saint Anselms flawed ontological argument … defining things into existence.

Edited by Muhammed Ali
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I can only agree with some of what you have written. Many things are known because of the things that reciprocate them. E.g. if it was always bright without any amount darkness then we may never have known what brightness is.

The concepts of lesser and greater can be known because of variation in the things that exist. E.g. if there is variation in the degrees of light then by looking at this variation I can come to understand that there exists lesser and greater levels of light. This is how we come to understand the concepts of lesser and greater, by the variations in the things that already exist and if something is lesser, it doesn’t mean that which is conceivably the greatest must exist.

There is a difference between that which we can conceive and that which actually exists. Using the reasoning that you have given there must be a being which exists with an infinite amounts of heads because having one head is less than having 10000000 heads and like you said: “this is because if there is anything like "less", then there must be "great".” It's like Saint Anselms flawed ontological argument … defining things into existence.

Indeed, there is a difference (a big difference) between what we think of and what there actually is. If there is a lesser (in thought) then there is a greater (in thought). If there is a lesser (in actual existence) then there is a greater (in actual existence). So i m aware of this distinction and i expected you to be aware of it too. and anselm, if you have read his Monologian and Proslogian explicitly states that there is a difference between that which exists in understanding and that which exists in reality. So how does anselm, allegedly, "define God into existence" when he carefully distinguishes between God existing "by mere definition" and God existing "in reality and not by mere definition"? :)

The problem with your analogy is that you are not thinking qualitatively. Rather, you are thinking quantitatively. finitude, infinitude, thingness, beauty, ugliness, are all qualities or lack thereof. God is not an infinite number of composite beauties (as if to say beauty itself is a thing which can be quantified) . Rather, God is Beauty as such. If there is ugliness, there is beauty as such. If there is the finite , then there is the infinite. and if the finite is actual and not a mere idea, then the infinite is actual and not a mere idea. The issue of "how many finite things" is irrelevant.

and i never said the opposite of the lesser is the greatest. I said the opposite of the lesser is the greater. and the opposite of the least is the greatest.

So if there is "one head". we need to first understand this qualitatively, not quantitatively. So we need to ask what does it mean to be "one"? We need to ask what it means to be a "head"? These are qualitative questions. This quality of "one" means to be unlike everything else (to have an identity). This quality of "oneness", as we see it in "the one head", exists in an impoverished way because there is more than one head (and there is therefore no true and utter uniqueness in this "one head"). So we see oneness (in this "one head"), but in an impoverished or finite way. So now you need to ask yourself how there can be "finite or impoverished oneness", without its opposite (i.e. infinite, true, non-impoverished oneness)? There must be this infinite oneness (or infinite uniqueness, or infinite, true, identity).

and we do the same for "head". Now you need to look at a head. lol and examine what you see in the head. what makes a head a head. I dont know what qualities you will see, but whatever the qualities you will see, it will be impoverished and needy. You dont even have to look at the qualities that constitute "head-ness", the head as that particular head itself is sufficient to point to God. as long as you are aware of that head as a limit you will necessarily see God as that very head but in an unlimited way.

The problem you may be having is you need to realize that qualities are very real! i m not talking about abstract quality (like what you are understanding right now from these words that i type on this screen, "beauty", "power" ect...) a real quality would be you looking at something beautiful (look at a beautiful rose). what you experience from that real rose is real beauty. Its not fake. its not in the mind! How can that be a mere notion or idea or concept? the beauty is actually concertized in the "external" rose. its an experience. what more do you want beside the experience? how much more real can you get beside that bare experience? now since this real beauty is impoverished, you would have to see infinite real beauty as well. at least theoretically we can agree with this.

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I think it's a flawed argument.

The lower cannot be the cause of something higher than itself, with regard to degrees of being.

Apparently lower states grow and are foundations for higher states according to all Urufa and including himself.

So it does cause some higher then it. Also a variety of lower states (good actions), form something greater (in unity). Our knowledge also is composed of simpler knowledge, and they form to make something greater (all together), and our brain is full of memories, and together it helps form something greater.....

I don't get what he means exactly, in the sense of true causation, there is only one Creator and can only be one, not multiple chain of creators.

I don't think this argument is strong at all.

wa salam

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I think it's a flawed argument.

The lower cannot be the cause of something higher than itself, with regard to degrees of being.

Apparently lower states grow and are foundations for higher states according to all Urufa and including himself.

So it does cause some higher then it. Also a variety of lower states (good actions), form something greater (in unity). Our knowledge also is composed of simpler knowledge, and they form to make something greater (all together), and our brain is full of memories, and together it helps form something greater.....

I don't get what he means exactly, in the sense of true causation, there is only one Creator and can only be one, not multiple chain of creators.

I don't think this argument is strong at all.

wa salam

but i dont think the lower states grow 'by themselves'. They grow because of God. God pulls the person close to Himself. and nothing causes God to do anything. It is self-evident, that the lesser cannot cause the higher. and it seems Sadr is careful to use the term "quality" (the 3rd premise is dedicated to just this point alone). He is not thinking quantitatively, but qualitatively. So, the whole idea you bring up of many small things getting together to cause something large.; is a quantitative way of thinking. But we clearly need to think qualitatively here. so to say simple knowledge causes greater knowledge..doesn't make sense. knowledge is not quantifiable. you cannot chop knowledge up into pieces. you cannot have atoms of knowledge which can be used to build a larger piece of knowledge. If the "diversity" was quantifiable, then you and the rest of the scientists would be correct. But since the "diversity" is qualitative all your counter examples are rejected. I think Sadr's proof is pretty strong.

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(salam)

It is a flawed argument, looking at it logically. Which is why Mulla Sadra (ra) and other great philosophers criticized it.

The argument of Mulla Sadra (ra) for the existence of God is superior and essentially free of weakness.

http://www.mullasadra.org/new_site/english/Paper%20Bank/Ontology/Hamid%20Reza%20Ayatullahi.htm

- Mansab

Edited by mansab.jafri
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(salam)

It is a flawed argument, looking at it logically. Which is why Mulla Sadra (ra) and other great philosophers criticized it.

The argument of Mulla Sadra (ra) for the existence of God is superior and essentially free of weakness.

http://www.mullasadra.org/new_site/english/Paper%20Bank/Ontology/Hamid%20Reza%20Ayatullahi.htm

- Mansab

Mulla Sadra criticized what exactly? People on that website that you posted don't really know what they are talking about sometimes (i may not mean what i say). If you dont mind, I would like to kindly request you to get "practically involved" with our discussion. pls. May you tell us what you have understood from the article you have read?

Edited by eThErEaL
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Even suppose the premise is true, it itself is not evident nor intuitive, but needs something other then it to prove it (and it would seem the conclusion is what is needed to prove it so that would be circular). So it's a weak/invalid argument none the less.

obviously the argument wont be convincing for you since you are merely 'supposing' the premises to be true; you don't have conviction that the premises are true.

I dont see why anyone would doubt any of the premises.

Edited by eThErEaL
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My apologies for the late response. I only just read your reply.

if you have read his Monologian and Proslogian explicitly states that there is a difference between that which exists in understanding and that which exists in reality. So how does anselm, allegedly, "define God into existence" when he carefully distinguishes between God existing "by mere definition" and God existing "in reality and not by mere definition"? :)

I haven’t read Anselm’s books but I am aware of his ontological argument. If he indeed does distinguish between that which exists as a concept and that which exists in reality, it doesn’t mean that his ontological argument doesn’t contradict his other views. The cogency of his argument must be determined from the argument itself and not from what he writes elsewhere.

So now you need to ask yourself how there can be "finite or impoverished oneness", without its opposite (i.e. infinite, true, non-impoverished oneness)? There must be this infinite oneness (or infinite uniqueness, or infinite, true, identity).

I agree that a head is one but not unique. Some things share greater similarities than others and Allah is completely unique. Let me quote what I wrote earlier: “This is how we come to understand the concepts of lesser and greater, by the variations in the things that already exist and if something is lesser, it doesn’t mean that which is conceivably the greatest must exist.”. Therefore just because there are some things that share similarities with others and our mind has the ability to understand and extrapolate the concept of uniqueness, it doesn’t mean that a fully unique entity exists.

and we do the same for "head". Now you need to look at a head. lol and examine what you see in the head. what makes a head a head. I dont know what qualities you will see, but whatever the qualities you will see, it will be impoverished and needy. You dont even have to look at the qualities that constitute "head-ness", the head as that particular head itself is sufficient to point to God. as long as you are aware of that head as a limit you will necessarily see God as that very head but in an unlimited way.

You are beginning to stray onto other stronger proofs for the existence of Allah without solely considering the argument by Aquinas on its own.

now since this real beauty is impoverished, you would have to see infinite real beauty as well.

^ What you you mean by “you would have to see”?

you are not thinking qualitatively. Rather, you are thinking quantitatively.

Here, I do agree with you. We have to think qualitatively. However I believe that even then St Aquinas’s proof is flawed.

Btw I do agree with what you said about shaheed sadr’s argument.

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Even suppose the premise is true, it itself is not evident nor intuitive, but needs something other then it to prove it (and it would seem the conclusion is what is needed to prove it so that would be circular). So it's a weak/invalid argument none the less.

Brother why dont you put forward a counter example to refute the second premise? Give an example of anything which was created solely by anything lesser than itself without "greater" external causes. Do that and you would have refuted the second premise.

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I haven’t read Anselm’s books but I am aware of his ontological argument. If he indeed does distinguish between that which exists as a concept and that which exists in reality, it doesn’t mean that his ontological argument doesn’t contradict his other views. The cogency of his argument must be determined from the argument itself and not from what he writes elsewhere.

His argument can only be understood if that distinction is made.

Either we understand or we don't understand this statement: "that than which nothing greater can be conceived".

If we are properly understanding what "that than which nothing greater can be conceived" means, then in this very act of understanding we would not be able to claim whatever we are understanding to be lesser than anything. We would not be able to claim whatever we are understanding to be a mere thought with no reality. If we do claim that whatever we are understanding is a mere thought or that it has no reality or that it is lesser than something, then this would mean that we are not really understanding what "that than which nothing greater can be conceived" means. It is impossible for two opposite things to be understood simultaneously.

If someone says that it is a mere thought, or that it is not real, or that it is lesser than something, then they really haven't understood the statement. Just like how when a person reads the Koran and is not affected by the words, they are not really understanding the words. They can think they are understanding the words, but they really haven't connected with its meaning. Indeed this argument of Anselm is not a simple argument. In order for it to be grasped, one must meditate on it. This is why i don't like calling it an argument. Thank God it isn't an argument, otherwise it would be false.

Tell me how this argument is different from the "Burhaan Siddiqeen"?

1) there is a reality

2) the negation of premise #1 is its very affirmation.

3) therefore reality is the necessary being.

now, look. this necessary being is reality, and is "that than which nothing greater can be conceived". if it is not, then we havent really understood what it means to be "a necessary being". and we would also have not really understood what "reality" is. and also would not have understood what it means to be "that than which nothing greater can be conceived".

There is never going to be a proof that will do all the understanding for us! Because God is not conceptual.

I agree that a head is one but not unique.

something can only be one to the extent that it is unique. tell me something which is one insofar as it is not unique. How are each of two heads one insofar as each of the two heads share qualities with each other? its impossible for a thing to be one insofar as it is similar to other things. a thing can only be one insofar as it is different and unique from everything else. this is why only God is truly one. and this is why all oneness derives from His oneness.

You are beginning to stray onto other stronger proofs for the existence of Allah without solely considering the argument by Aquinas on its own.

I m trying to show why the second premise is true.

(#2) If an object has a quality to a lesser extent, then there exists some other object that has the quality to the maximum possible degree.

an object which has impoverished or finite beauty necessarily implies an object which is all-beautiful.

^ What you you mean by “you would have to see”?

how can finite be conceived of without the infinite? how can infinite be conceived of without the finite?

Here, I do agree with you. We have to think qualitatively. However I believe that even then St Aquinas’s proof is flawed.

are you saying the premises don't follow, or are you saying that you don't agree with the premises?

1. Objects have qualities to greater or lesser extents.

2. If an object has a quality to a lesser extent, then there exists some other object that has the quality to the maximum possible degree.

3. So there is an object that has all qualities to the maximum possible degree.

4. Hence God exists.

ill put it in a different way.

1) there is a finite qualitative reality

2) a finite qualitative reality cannot exist without an infinite qualitative reality

3) so there is an infinite qualitative reality

4) therefore God exists.

Btw I do agree with what you said about shaheed sadr’s argument.

:)

Edited by eThErEaL
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Brother why dont you put forward a counter example to refute the second premise? Give an example of anything which was created solely by anything lesser than itself without "greater" external causes. Do that and you would have refuted the second premise.

Well everything is constantly being created by God. But that would be the conclusion of the argument, so it would make it circular. For it to be not circular, it would be relying on apparent relationships in the universe, and the universe it seems the opposite. And if we think spiritually, we know lesser states/good acts/spiritual food are foundations and collectively form something greater (it creates a greater light, all good acts however small add to something greater).

So with regards to the whole universe, it's the opposite, but only from the absolute perspective (which is the conclusion of the argument), is this statement true.

So I see it as either circular (if arguing from Absolute perspective alreadly acknowledging God) or false if talking about relationships from other then the Creator of either physical or spiritual aspect of the universe.

Edited by Awakened
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1. Objects have qualities to greater or lesser extents.

2. If an object has a quality to a lesser extent, then there exists some other object that has the quality to the maximum possible degree.

3. So there is an object that has all qualities to the maximum possible degree.

4. Hence God exists.

The premises follow but premise 2 is not simple. It needs elaboration to prove it. So it's not very good argument even though it's sound (to us b/c we know why 2 is true) because your using a premise that needs elaboration and premises to prove it.

wa salam

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  • 2 months later...

So how can we prove that something has a greater quality than something it derived from?

if we see a beautiful flower then this form that we see is not "beauty itself or beauty as such". But rather this form is a mode or type of beauty. This form is not what it means to be beauty (it is not beauty itself). so this type of beauty (namely the beautiful flower) is derived from (or is an expression of) none other than "beauty itself". so what you are asking is : "prove that "beauty as such" is greater than its expression as a specific "type of beauty" ". in reality the two are identical with each other (i.e. form and formlessness are identical to each other). But if you want to analyze it conceptually, then obviously beauty as such is "greater" than a specific type of beauty.

Edited by eThErEaL
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if we see a beautiful flower then this form that we see is not "beauty itself or beauty as such". But rather this form is a mode or type of beauty. This form is not what it means to be beauty (it is not beauty itself). so this type of beauty (namely the beautiful flower) is derived from (or is an expression of) none other than "beauty itself". so what you are asking is : "prove that "beauty as such" is greater than its expression as a specific "type of beauty" ". in reality the two are identical with each other (i.e. form and formlessness are identical to each other). But if you want to analyze it conceptually, then obviously beauty as such is "greater" than a specific type of beauty.

Might wanna explain that in easier terms?

I did not understand how that answered my question

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Ok since you didnt reply to the earlier one, I will ask for an explanation of another question.

When Sadr says that "a lesser cannot create a greater" what does this mean exactly? Is it talking about certain systems or anything that is created? A son must be lesser than the father? Or that the system of birth is lesser than another system?

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