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Al-Ghazali: 1095 Reconsidered
Over the past 20 years a reconsideration of al-Ghazali's thought has been underway. Far from being a foe of philosophy, the "new" al-Ghazali has emerged as a crypto-philosopher of sorts, that is, a thinker enamored of the ideas and conceptual tools offered by Arabic Aristotelianism. In truth, the "new" al-Ghazali is the very same one that ignited the initial controversy surrounding al-Ghazali's Revival of the Religious Sciences and--even more--works such as the Niche of Lights, whose philosophical underpinnings were recognized early on. This, however, occasions several questions. First, are there significant breaks in al-Ghazali's treatment of the philosophical tradition pre- and post-Ihya'? Second, what was Ghazali's purpose in framing the Revival project the way that he did? Third, in light of al-Ghazali's reconstructed authorship, what are we to make of his autobiographical account of a mental breakdown followed by a departure from Baghdad in late 1095? This talk presents a new interpretation, starting from what al-Ghazali published in that year.
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About the Speaker
Taneli Kukkonen isProfessor and Program Head of Philosophy at New York University Abu Dhabi. Dr. Kukkonen specializesin classical Arabic philosophy, Aristotle, and the Aristotelian and Platonictraditions from antiquity to the Renaissance. He also has interests inphilosophy and pop culture, religious studies, Islamic culture in the classicalperiod, and the early history of science. He is an avid reader of comic booksand lives on music and chocolate. He is the author of Ibn Tufayl (Oxford, 2014) and over 30 research articles onArabic philosophy and the Aristotelian tradition.
Beforejoining NYUAD, Dr. Kukkonen held standing faculty positions in Philosophy atthe University of Victoria (Canada); History at the University of Jyväskylä(Finland); and Religious Studies at the University of Otago (New Zealand).