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Nicholas Tampio

Thank you for this blog. Many good insights about Plato, Al-Ghazali, and the difficulty of defining philosophy.

I would like to say just one word on my own behalf. I do not think that "reflection distinct from the Platonic tradition should be ignored by philosophers." On the contrary!

I believe in what Nietzsche calls the "pathos of distance," or what my graduate school mentor Bill Connolly names agonistic respect. I have loved studying Islamic political thought, but I also think that it is a category mistake to call fiqh (jurisprudence) falsafa (philosophy) or to say that the great jurists such as Al-Shafi'i or ibn Hanbal were philosophers. Though I have spent less time with Chinese political thought, I follow Daniel Bell and others who argue that Confucius was doing something fundamentally different than Socrates or Plato.

For intellectual and ethical reasons, I think we should acknowledge differences between intellectual traditions even as we find ways to bridge them on occasion.

Eric Schliesser

Yes, I agree that (Fiqh) jurisprudence is not itself philosophy, although it is worth reflecting on to what degree some of the great jurists drew on philosophical ideas of various sorts or developed a philosophy of law while instituting their schools (Ibn Hanbal, in particular, is a complex character).

I don't speak with confidence about Confucius, although some of what he did looks a lot like the kind of thing Adam Smith did.

I agree that one needs to be willing to acknowledge genuine differences between traditions and that sometimes it is not illuminating to treat a tradition of critical reflection as philosophy.

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.


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