The Universal Paradigm and the Islamic World-System: Economy, Society, Ethics and Science

  • Book Title:
 The Universal Paradigm And The Islamic World
  • Book Author:
Masudul Alam Choudhury
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  • ·         Chapter 1 Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2 Concept of Worldview versus Paradigm 11
  • Chapter 3 Unity of Knowledge as the Worldview 23
  • Chapter 4 Human Consciousness 43
  • Chapter 5 Islamic Economics and Finance: 53
    • The Moral Basis
  • Chapter 6 Tawhidi Questions of Technology and 71
    • Technological Change
  • Chapter 7 Human Well-Being Adversely Affected 85
    • by Interest-Based Financing
  • Chapter 8 Problems of Economic Reasoning and 99
    • the Islamic Panacea
  • Chapter 9 Problems of Financial Reasoning and 117
    • the Islamic Alternative
  • Chapter 10 The Illogical Basis of Interest Rates 131
  • Chapter 11 Questioning Modernity by the Tawhidi 143
    • Worldview
  • Chapter 12 Conclusion 151
  • Glossary of Arabic Terms 155
  • References 159
  • Index 167

Unity of Knowledge as the Worldview

A new paradigm — as a revolutionary breakthrough with its permanent attributes of universality and uniqueness — has surpassing impact. It is the foundation of great minds and revolutionary feats in the socio-scientific world-system. By it the mind expands its vision step-by-step until suddenly, with abrupt illumination, it realizes its vic- tory. Nations are moved by its newly discovered yet primordially exist- ing truth. The awakening is as if a life-fire has come from the heavens.

Revolutionary Paradigm as Worldview

The ways toward liberation and coming into harmony with the world- view, now defined as the most universal and absolutely irreducible paradigm of all paradigms, are two. Firstly, it is to uphold deeply the indispensable validity of the Oneness of God in the universal scene. This will embrace both the individual conscience and the public order of all the sciences. It takes place in a reemanation of private and public activity on the scholarly, political and community fronts.

The second way is as Kuhn has explained — how scientific revolution is established. In practice, this way is to carry on vigorous activities revolving around the worldview by committed members, students, scholarly groups and the scientific forums that together ventilate the worldview.

The liberating effects of the worldview will then exist on three levels. Firstly, the epistemological level is primal. This will induce renewed awareness and consciousness in the beholder. The conscious- ness is that of beholding, understanding and applying the foundation of unity of divine knowledge to all world-system issues. Thus, the meaning of the divine functioning in such foundational knowledge is essential. This is to accept the divine roots of knowledge as the primal foundation of all knowledge, hence of all configurations of world- systems. Without this, in connection with the phases of knowledge development that follow, recourse to divine knowledge for worldly reconstructions is not possible or this remains a speculative enterprise. Divine knowledge must therefore be meaningful in its benefits for the broadest comprehension of reality and in developing verifications and inferences from it for the sustenance of life, existence, experience and beyond.

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Secondly, the ontology relating to the epistemological phase, as the being and becoming of logical formalism of the epistemological ideas, must be articulated through significant scientific and public discourse. We define ontology in this book in an engineering sense, rather than in the metaphysical sense.

Gruber (1993) explained the meaning of ontology in the engineer- ing sense as the reality of concepts, relations or facts premised on the epistemological roots. The concept of ontology as an analytical the- ory for determining interrelationship is used by scientists to explain the process of formation of such functional relations among corresponding variables and entities.

A definition of ontology that comes nearest to our usage is also found in Sztompka (1991, p. 51), quoting Lloyd (1988, p. 34): “It is the task of science alone to reveal the general, hidden, structural features of phenomena, and the underlying mechanisms of their becoming.”

Thirdly, the epistemological (E) and ontological (O) levels must be encapsulated in capability and functioning. This functional level is called the level of evidences, which Heidegger (1988) referred to as Ontic (O). The emergent process comprises together the E-O-O phase of structured learning in knowledge-based systems according to unity of knowledge between their entities. Such a learning experience brings out the analytical, quantitative and empirical policy-theoretic study, followed by inferences, policy analysis and recommendations, program formulation and the like.

At every point and phase of heightened consciousness in the Universal Paradigm, there is that indispensable relational causality between attained states of the variables and entities in given embedded systems. The role of institutions becomes instrumental in guiding the moral and social transformation in the preferred direction for attaining unity of knowledge by interaction and integration between learning entities and their relationships across various systems.

The E-O-O phases flow incessantly and continuously, as knowledge formation and its recursive induction in the systemic transformations emerge in the light of unity of knowledge as articulated by the monotheistic law. But at the end of every such phase of learning through the interconnection of states of the system under investigation together with institutional guidance, there comes about post- evaluation followed by automatic evolution (E) into fresh E-O-O learning phases to perpetuity.

The institutional post-evaluation of the degree of unity of knowl- edge gained in previous experience, which is a matter of simulation of a well-defined social well-being function examining the issues and problems at hand, charts the new paths of fresh evolutionary learn- ing. This means that at the end of every learning “process” and the commencement of a new one, there must once again be the recalling of the foundational epistemology of oneness. The renewed “process” then carries on the subsequent ontological and ontic phases of socio- scientific investigation.

Every fully co-evolved learning “process” is thus completed by means of the E-O-O-E sequencing (i.e., Epistemological to Ontological to Ontic to New Epistemological beginning by Evolu- tion). The recommencement of the E-O-O-E processes coincides with a recalling of the epistemology of oneness along continuously emer- gent learning phases of learning.

 The Struggle to Establish the Universal Paradigm

Realization of the Universal Paradigm under unity of divine knowledge (laws) in the world scene and the socio-scientific milieu requires vindication of the methodology so defined. The methodology is further reinforced by its proven results and public understanding. The last one is a matter of enacting and implementing positive policies. The policy and institutional impacts commence best at fresh junctures of awareness, consciousness and education.

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In all likelihood, the convergence of world scientific search for consciousness is bound to move all scientific and analytical thinking in this direction. There are already rumblings from the sciences against the reductionism of the scientific discipline.

Modern science has assumed a hostile climate of opposition to God in favor of materialism (Dampier, 1961). This must change by an accommodative will and vision. Hence, there will be a great role for positive discourse and understanding in realizing the great trans- formation to the Universal Paradigm.

In the global scene, the development of the positive socio-scientific thinking will depend on a wider spectrum of dialogues, rather than holding zealously to preconceived ideas of science, religion, culture, regions and beliefs. Thus, in this book, according to the dynamics of the E-O-O-E process worldview, we promote a climate of global dialogue between civilizations in opposition to the mistaken idea of a global clash of civilizations (Huntington, 1993, 1995).

Yet, in the end, it will be a fact that global transformation will be incremental in nature. In the worst case, this experience can ulti- mately end up in a bifurcated understanding of the world, with one side based on unity of knowledge and the other on linearly differentiated and individuated perspectives of socio-scientific reality. If learning of whatever kind is kept alive in all civilizations, then there will exist at least the impact of ideas on the differentiated world-systems to convert these into embedded and learning ones (Holton, 1992).

A great mind makes its advances a little at a time, not noticing the gains it has attained until suddenly, with an abrupt illumination, it realizes its victory. Progressive but powerful enforcement in the knowledge domain is the surest way to break down the rigid structures that clothe the establishment today and thus, to unlock the mysteries of truth.

The Universal Paradigm is the worldview of this kind. It is enlightened by the unfailing worldview of unity of knowledge premised on the intrinsic monotheistic laws. The laws formalize the whole of socio-scientific thoughts and experiences, despite accepting diversity of issues and problems.

Structuring the E-O-O-E Worldview of Unity of Knowledge

As mentioned previously, the E-O-O-E is an intrinsic and automatic structure that is neither imposed nor concocted. It is natural and invincible to thought. That is because any thought must rely firstly on a premise. If the premise chosen is of unity of knowledge for the construction of the moral, ethical and social embedding, then worldly knowledge, life and experience must be premised on this very rele- vant epistemological premise.

 This is the meaning of Epistemology, the theory of knowledge that identifies and configures how a body of knowledge is derived and organized in order to address any set of issues, problems and questions within embedded systems with strong interaction between them (Smith, 1992).

The most important problem of discerning the selection of Epistemology is to find the law, text and knowledge that most universally organize the worldview of unity of knowledge. The question stands: can received philosophy of science establish the worldview of unity of knowledge? We will now answer this question from the socio-scientific and moral points of view.

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The study of the existing body of knowledge of Eastern and Occidental world-systems shows that, at their heart, there is rationalism alone. That is to say, Reason is seen as the ultimate arbiter of knowledge, and God, though acknowledged for worship in many systems, remains outside the human domain. Even when a claim of socio- scientific and moral association with God is upheld, there is no means of cognate transmission from God to the world-systems to carry for- ward the divine law. Consequently, the reality of God remains subjectively dependent on human reason and perceptions. Thus, the primal role of divine unity of knowledge and its capability and functioning enabled by the catalytic role of a medium other than the subjectivity of human rationalism, remains impossible in such a subjective mindspace.

Such is also the case with recent thinking on complexity and post-modernist epistemology given by Giddens (1983a), Wallerstein (1998), Heidegger (1962), Husserl (1965), Russell (2001) and the entire school of economic neoclassicism and political economy (Phelps, 1985) and in the idea of science as process (Darwin, 1936; Prigogine, 1980; Popper, 1972; Hull, 1988; Dawkins, 1976). The mes- sage derived from all of these ways of understanding the origins of knowledge is subjectively relegated to human rationalism. The impact on the philosophy of science, including the moral law, the social order including economics and politics, and the natural sciences, saw the birth of a conflicting and differentiated understanding of human expe- rience. The impact was felt equally on the hegemonic nature of science over culture and traditions and the political and technological domi- nation over a natural way to pursue truth.

The politico-economic consequences of such ego-centered ratio- nalism were many. They included, for example, the colonialism that governed and taxed the resources of India to fuel the industrial revolution of Europe. Marx’s overdetermination epistemological the- ory likewise vouched for a theory of permanently disequilibrium and conflicting world-systems. Technology became the instrument of transference of the development, educational and political mod- els from the West to the rest of the world by power and craft (Todaro and Smith, 2005).

During the eighteenth-century European Enlightenment, knowl- edge was understood in its material sense of utility and power. In other words, epistemology was derived from the ultimate premise of human rationalism. The works and beliefs of scholastic thinkers like Aquinas (1946), Kant (1949) and Hume (1992) reflect their incapability of pro- jecting God and oneness in a functional and capacitating way through logical formalism, into the living world-systems. Consequently, ratio- nalism failed to reap the subtle socio-scientific experiences of attaining well-being in the holistic sense of unity of knowledge.

A prominent dualism between spiritual and material values emanated from Kant’s problem of heteronomy. Carnap (1966) wrote

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