It is often supposed in Islamic studies that Al-Ghazali demolished the basis for science in the Muslim world by his so-called orthodox attack against rational thinking which nurtured a negative climate that resulted in the eventual rejection of scientific research in the Islamic world after the 12th century. In this article, Arun Bala questions such views on both historical and epistemological grounds. Historically, historians showed that science advanced in the Muslim world even after Al-Ghazali, especially in directions that broke free from the heritage of Greek science. Moreover, epistemologically, the author argues that Al-Ghazali's impact was positive in the Muslim world and beyond. In the former, he provided epistemological and theological grounds for breaking free from the narrow rationalism of ancient science. In the West, his impact provoked the Scholastic philosophy, in order to respond to his theses, to develop new epistemological grounds which paved the way for modern science.
Did Medieval Islamic Theology Subvert Science?
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Figure 1. The Tabula Rogeriana, drawn by al-Idrisi for Roger II of Sicily in 1154, one of the most advanced ancient world maps. Modern consolidation, created from the 70 double-page spreads of the original atlas. (Source)
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