[P6530] Philosophical Problems in Islamic Theology

Created by John Walbridge
Tuesday, 11/30/21 2:00 pm


This panel deals with a set of philosophical issues arising in Kalam, Islamic theology. The first three papers deal with the interaction of Kalam and Sufi theology with other forms of thought.

The first paper argues for the interaction of Buddhism with early Kalam. It points out that Buddhist scholasticism was still active in Central Asia in the early period of Islam. It argued that ample channels existed to explain the transmission of Buddhist philosophical ideas to early Kalam in Central Asia including mixed multilingual communities and the conversion of members of members of the Buddhist intelligentsia. It tests this theory by showing that differences between early Maturidi Kalam in Central Asia and early Ash‘arism in Iraq and Western Iran can be explained by ideological differences in the Buddhist philosophical schools in these regions.

The second paper a case in which a digression in Ibn Arabi’s masterwork, Fusus al-Hikam deals with the classical philosophical problem of universals. The paper examines possible sources, the nature of Ibn Arabi’s argument, how this passage is treated by key commentators on the Fusus, and philosophical parallels in later Islamic philosophy and the European debate about universals.

The third paper deals with Ibn Arabi’s theory of signs, the parallel evidences of God in the individual soul, the world, and scripture.

The fourth and fifth papers examine classical Islamic theological issues in dialogue with contemporary analytic philosophy of religion. The fourth paper addresses the question of divine simplicity. If God is simple in every respect, as most Islamic philosophers and many Christian theologians held and as the Islamic doctrine of tawhid implies, how can He have the attributes that the Qur’an attributes to him or be a personal God? The final paper addresses a related issue: How can a just God not be responsible for evil? The Mu’tazilite theologians used this problem to argue for human free will. One response to the Mu’tazilite argument is that there is a distinction between creating and permitting evil. This paper argues that this response is not adequate.


Philos; Philos; Philos



John Walbridge

(Indiana University Bloomington)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Andi Herawati

(indiana university bloomington)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Ferhat Taskin

(Indiana University Bloomington)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Zeyneb Betul Taskin

(Indiana University Bloomington)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Jason Browning

(Indiana University Bloomington)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;