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Babylonia (roughly, modern southern Iraq), is an ancient Mesopotamian empire noted for its advances

in math and astronomy, architecture, literature, and laws and administration.

- Located near Tigris and Euphrates rivers which flow through the Persian Gulf.
- Geographical restraints resulted to two dominant Babylonian groups, namely Sumerians and
- Because of division its people, Mesopotamia was often plagued by other groups trying to claim
control of their land, minerals and other resources

1900 B.C. – Mesopotamia was successfully taken over Semitic Amorites from Arabian Peninsula
which centralized the government (monarchial in nature) = merged two dominant groups: OLD

Babylonian Philosophy:

4 Basic Concepts:

 All things are the result of organic evolution

- Creator is not needed;
- the way is open for Man to think that he helped in his own creation and evolution
- he has, in his own self, the power for his advancement.
 The human intellect has pre-eminence
- the educational systems of the day are enmeshed in this ideology).
 Promiscuity and sexual abandonment permeate all of society
- and is all but encouraged, even if it often results in the break-down of the home and
 A total state or welfare society
- totalitarianism is the natural path to follow
- thus, the State - or in some cases organized religion - will act for the people, think for the
people, do everything for the people

* Babylonian philosophy – believed by some scholars to be the philosophy prior and which influenced
those of the Greeks and other Western philosophies (Pursuit of Truth)

The Babylonian King-God

Babylonians believed the king held power because of the gods; moreover, they thought their king was a
god. To maximize his power and control, a bureaucracy and centralized government were established
along with the inevitable adjuncts, taxation, and involuntary military service.

Gods > Power > King: King = God

Divine Laws

The Sumerians already had laws, but they were administered jointly by individuals and the state.
Divine monarch = divinely inspired laws

Violation = offense to the state & the gods

The Babylonian king (1728-1686 B.C.) Hammurabi

- conquered vast city-states and therefore, different cultures and laws of people
- wanted a universal law for all the diverse people he now controlled
- codified the laws in which (as distinct from the Sumerian) the state could prosecute on
its own behalf.

Code of Hammurabi

- demanding punishment to fit the crime (the lex talionis, or an eye for an eye)
- "to make justice visible in the land, to destroy the wicked person and the
evil-doer, that the strong might not injure the weak."
- Different punishment for different social classes
- Vast coverage (guidelines for dealing with assault, theft, trade and
industry, family matters such as marriage, divorce, incest, adoption,
compensation for doctors and other professionals, etc.

Islamic Philosophy

- philosophical activity within the Islamic milieu.

- main sources:
 religion of Islam itself (especially ideas derived and interpreted from
the Quran
 Greek philosophy which the early Muslims inherited as a result of
conquests when Alexandria, Syria and Jundishapur came under
Muslim rule
 pre-Islamic Iranian and Indian philosophy
- Many of the early philosophical debates centered around reconciling
religion and reason as exemplified by Greek philosophy


- Ijtihad = “to endeavor”, “to exert effort”

- method of discourse used in Islam to develop legal or doctrinal solutions
to new problems as they arose, based on the Q’uran and the Hadith
- took the form of individual opinion (ra'y), ijtihad gave rise to a wealth of
conflicting and chaotic opinions,
- replaced by a formal procedure of deduction based on the texts of the
Qur'an and the Hadith, called qiyas (reasoning by strict analogy).
* Certain outstanding Muslim thinkers, such as al-Ghazali (died 1111 C.E.) continued to
claim the right to use ijtihad. Independent minds exploiting the methods of ijtihad sought
to investigate the doctrines of the Qur'an, which until then had been accepted in faith on
the authority of divine revelation

* One of first debates was that between partisan of the Qadar (Arabic: Qadara, to have
power), who affirmed free will, and the Jabarites(jabar, force, constraint), who
maintained the belief in fatalism.

* At the second century of the Hijra, a new movement arose in the theological school of
Basra, Iraq. A pupil, Wasil ibn Ata, who was expelled from the school because his
answers were contrary to then-orthodox Islamic tradition, became the leader of a new
school, and systematized the radical opinions of preceding sects, particularly those of
the Qadarites. This new school was called Mutazilite (“Muʿtazilah” (Arabic ‫ المعتزلة‬al-
mu`tazilah) (from i'tazala, to separate oneself, to dissent). Its principal dogmas were

1. God is an absolute unity, and no attribute can be ascribed to Him.

2. Man is a free agent. (It is on account of these two principles that the Mu'tazilites
designated themselves the "Partisans of Justice and Unity.")
3. All knowledge necessary for the salvation of man emanates from his reason; humans
were able to acquire knowledge before, as well as after, the existence of Revelation,
solely by the light of reason. This fact makes knowledge obligatory upon all men, at all
times, and in all places.

The Mutazilites, compelled to defend their principles against the orthodox Islam of their
day, looked for support in philosophy, and were among the first to pursue a rational
theology called Ilm-al-Kalam (Scholastic theology); those professing it were
called Mutakallamin. This appellation became the common name for anyone seeking
philosophical demonstration in confirmation of religious principles. The first
Mutakallamin had to debate both the orthodox Muslims and the non-Muslims, and they
may be described as occupying the middle ground between those two parties. But
subsequent generations were, to a large extent, critical towards the Mutazilite school,
especially after formation of the Asharite concepts.