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The Simple Ontology of Kalām Atomism: An Outline

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents concisely the Islamic Kalām atomism as an alternative philosophy to Hellenizing falsafa. It focuses on the simple ontology of the basic Kalām atomism, and the hybrid character of Kalām. An atom is completely defined as a simple or indivisible entity that occupies place. Two assertions are especially important about the Kalām doctrines of motion and rest; both assertions are shared by the Ashʿarīs and the Muʿtazilīs. First is the definition of motion only in terms of place and time, and in the total absence of all Aristotelian concepts like actuality and potentiality, and completion or perfection, and of any Neoplatonic concepts. The second assertion is the explication of rest in terms of a 'coming-to-be'exactly as in the case of motion.

Keywords: Ashʿarīs; atomism; falsafa; Kalām; motion; Muʿtazilīs; ontology; rest



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