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Knowledge, Knower and the Known- Allamah Tabatabai

Knowledge, Knower and the Known- Allamah Tabatabai

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Knowledge, Knower and the Known- Allamah Tabatabai
Knowledge, Knower and the Known- Allamah Tabatabai

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10.ACTI
',\J
.ITY.\"'D
PClTl'.;\TI,\Un
theactionisnotnecessitatedbytheagentalonebutthroughitsagencyaswellasthatoftheremainingfactorswhichmakeupthecompletecausetogether.However,anagentwhoseefficiencyiscompleteisacompletecause,asinthecaseoftheexaltedNeces-saryBeing.Henceitismeaninglesstocharacterizewithcontin-gencysuchanagentanditsactionoromissionofaction(i.e.tosaythatanagentthatisacompletecauseofitsactionmayormaynotcarryouttheaction).Thenecessarycharacterofitsactiondoesnotimplythattheagentiscompelledtocarryitoutandthatithasnopoweroveritsownaction;forthisnecessity,whichinheresintheaction,derivesfromtheagentitself.Theactionistheagent'seffectandcannotcompelittoaction,noristhereanyotheragentthatmayinflu-enceitandcompelittocarryouttheaction.(ii)Itmakesevidenttheinvalidityoftheviewadvanced
by
sometheologiansthatthecontingencyofanactiondependsonitsbeingprecededbytemporalnon-existence
(a1-
'adalllal-:"((/l11iini);
henceanactionthatisnotprecededbytemporalnon-existenceisirnpossi-hie.Thisviewisbasedonthebeliefthatthereasonforathing'sneedforacauseisitscomingintoexistence
(!J!idt7t!J),
notitscon-tingency
(illlkt/!2).
Wchaverefutedthisbeliefearlier'andprovedthatthereasonfortheneedforacauseiscontingency,not
bndutb.
Moreover,theirtheoryisinvalidated
by
theinstanceoftimeitself(whichisnot
(hMi/b).
(iii)
Itdisclosestheinvalidityoftheviewadvancedby[hosetheologianswhohaveheldthat'power'emergesalongwithactionandthatthereisnojJO\verforanactionpriortoit.Theinconsis-tencyofthisviewismadeevidentbythefactthattheythemselvesdefine'power'as'thecapacitytoactornottoact.'Now,iftheagentceasestheactionforsometimetoresumeit,itwouldberighttoascribetoitthecapacitytoactornottoactbeforetheresumptIonofaction.Thisiswhat'power'isaccordingtotheirdefinition.
,See4.8.
114
~
CHAPTER
ELEVEN
Knowledge,Knower,andtheKnown
10:
thelastchapterwesawthatexistenceisdividedintothatwhichhaspotentialityandthatwhichhas(absolute)actuality,andthattheformerconsistsofmatterandmaterialthingsandthelat-terofimmaterial
(llllfjtlITad)
existents,Oftheprimary(i.e.essential)accidentsofimmaterialbeingistobeknowledge,known,andknown.Forknowledge,aswillbeexplainedlateron,consistsofthepresence
((.1!I~i!IJ]
ofanimmaterialexistentforanotherimmate-rialexistent.Accordingly,itispropertodiscussitinmetaphysics.
11.1.DFFlXtT10l\<OFKNO\VLEDGEAl':DITSFIRSTDIVISIO;\S
Thatweacquirea'knowledge'ofthingsisself-evident,andsoistheconceptofit.Inthissectionourpurposeistoidentifyitssali-entpropertiesinordertodifferentiatebetweenitsvariousformsandtheircharacteristics.Itwasstatedinthediscussiononmentalexistencethatwepos-sessacertainknowledgeofexternalthings,inthesensethatwecognii:ethemandtheyarepresentforuswiththeirquiddities,thoughnotwiththeirexternalexistenceanditsaccompanyingexternalproperties.Thisisoneofthekindsofknowledge,called'mediatedknowledge'
Ci/m
~l!p7Ii)
lit.acquiredknowledge).Anotherkindofknowledgeistheknowledgethateachofushasofhisownself,towhichherefersashis'1.'Onecannotfailtobeconsciousofhisownselfinanycircumstance,insolitudeorincompany,insleeporinwakefulness,orinanyotherstate.Thisconsciousnessisnotbyvirtueofthepresenceofthequid-ditvoftheselfforus;itisnotpresentasaconcept,orknownthroughmediatedknowledge.Thatisbecauseamentalconcept,ofwhateverkind,isalwayscapableofcorrespondingtoamulti-plicityofobjects,and[whenconsideredasreferringtoaparticularobject]itsindividuality
IS
onlyduetotheexternalexistent[to
115
 
11.K,-«
)WI.I:I)C;I:,
J(~()\XiER,.\1',11]'111'.K~,OWN 11.K'-<C>WU:DGE,
KNOWI'!\,
,\!\j)
Till,.
J(,-<OW!\
whichitcorresponds].Nowwhatwecognizeinrelationtoour- selves-i.e.,whatwerefertoas'l'-issomethingessentiallyindi- viduatcd,incapableofcorrespondingtomultiplethings.Individu- alityisapropertyofexistence;henceourknowledgeofourselves isbyvirtueoftheirpresenceforuswiththeirveryexternalexis- tence,whichisthegroundofindividuarionandexternalproper- ties.Thisisanotherkindofknowledge,called'immediate'knowl- edge
Cl/m
(JI/(It7ri,
lit.,'knowledge
hy
presence'). Thesetwodivisionsofknowledgeareexhaustive,forthecogni- tionoftheknown
by
theknoweriseitherthroughtheformer's quiddiryor
by
itsexistence.Thefirstis'mediated'andthesecond is'immediate'knowledge. Furthermore,attainmentofknowledgemeansapprehension
(!11I.[fil)
oftheknownbytheknower;forknowledgeisidentical withthatwhichisknownbyitself,becausewedonotmeanany- thingbyknowledgeexcepttheapprehcnsionoftheknownbyus. Theapprehensionofathinganditspresenceisnothingexceptits existence,anditsexistence
is
itself. Theapprehensionoftheknownbytheknowerdoesnotmean anythingexceptitsunion
(ittdJiid)
withtheknowcr,whetherthe knownisimmediateormediated.Thusiftheimmediatelyknown isasubstancesubsistingbyitself,itsexistenceisfor-itself
(lI'I!J/7d
linafrilJ)
whileatthesametimeitisfor-thc-knower,andhencethe knower
is
unitedwithit.Iftheimmediatelyknownissomething existent-for-its-subject,astheknown'sexistenceisexistence-for- rhe-knower,theknowerisunitedwithitssubject.Moreover,an accidentisoneoftheplanesoftheexistenceofitssubject,not somethingextraneoustoit.Henceitislikewiseinrelationto somethingunitedwithitssubject.Similarly,themediatedknown isexistenr-for-the-knower,irrespectiveofwhetheritisasub- stanceexisting-for-itselforsomethingexistent-for-other-than- itself.Animplicationofitsexistencefortheknoweristhe knower'sunionwithit. Thisisbecause,aswillbeexplainedlateron,'mediatedknowl- edgeinfactinvolvesimmediateknowledge. Accordingly,apprehension
(!J!I!1(~
bytheknowerisaproperty ofknowledge,thoughnoteverykindofapprehension,butanap- prehensionofsomethingthatisinpureactualityandabsolutely devoidofallpotentiality,Thatisbecauseweknowintuitivelythat theknown
qlia
knownhasnopotentialitytobecomeanother thing;itisnotsusceptibletochange,norcanitbecomesomething otherthanwhatitis.Accordingly,
it
involvestheapprehensionof somethingthatisimmaterialandfreefromalltracesofpotential-
ity.
Thiswecall'immediacy'
(~!lr!17r,
lit.'presence'). Theimmediacyoftheknownrequiresittobesomethingpos- sessingcompleteactuality,freefromanyassociationwithmatter andpotentialitythatmaymakeitdeficientandincompleteinrela- tiontoitspotentialperfections. Further,theimmediacyoftheknownrequiresthattheknower acquiringitsknowledgeshouldalsopossesscompleteactuality, notbeingdeficientm<lnyrespectarisingfromassociationwith matter.Hence,theknowerisalsoimmaterialandfreefrom potentiality. Fromtheabovediscussionitbecomesclearthatknowledgeis the'presence'ofanimmaterialexistentforanimmaterialexistent, whetherwhatisapprehendedisthesameasthatwhichappre- hends-asinthecaseofathing'sknowledgeofitself-c-oris somethingelse,asinthecaseofthing'sknowledgeofquidditics externalto
it.
Italsobecomesclear,inthefirstplace,thattheknown,to whichknowledgepertains,mustnecessarilybesomethingimma- terial.Themeaningofknowledgeofmaterialthingsshallbeex- plainedbelow. Second,theknower,throughwhomknowledgesubsists,must alsonecessarilybeimmaterial.
11.2.THE
DIVlSIONOFMEDIATEDKNO\'.VLEDGE INTOTJNIVERS1\l,ANDPARTICULi\R
116
Auniversal
(klllll)
isthatwhichiscapableofcorrespondingtoa multiplicityofinstances,suchastheknowledgeofthequiddiryof man.Thiskindofknowledgeiscalled
'aqlorta'aqqu!
(intellection). Aparticular
(/UZ'I)
isthatwhichisincapableofcorrespondingtoa multiplicityofthings,suchastheknowledgeofaparticularper
117
i
Sec11.1()below.
 
11.
K".(
)WI.I.l)C;I'.,KV)\VEI(,\i'<IlTIII,KM)\V.,
sonwithsomekindofassociationwithapresentmatter,whiehiscalled'sensory'knowledge
(a/-
'i/;J!
al-ih(iJi),
ortheknowledgeofahumanindividual
withoutthere
heinganypresentmatter.Thelime!"kindiscalled'imaginary'knowledge((//-
'1/1Jl
ti/-kIJtly/i/i).
These
two
kindsarcconsideredincapableofcorrespondingto
a
multi-pLicityofreferentsonlyfromtheaspcctofconnectionbetweenthesenseorgansandtheexternalobjectofknowledge,inthecaseofsemoryknowledgc,andforthereasonofdependenceof'imaginary'knowledgeonsensoryknowledge.Otherwise,thementalimpressionitself
(a/-J!lI'C/f
i//-dhi/JII{'[)'Clh),
ofwhateverkind,isnotincapableofcorresponding
10
amultiplicityofobjects.Onthebasisofthatwhichhasbeensaid
above,
bothkindsarcimmaterialduetotheessentialactualityofthecognitiveform
p7mt
iI/-
anditsbeingunsusceptibletochange.Also,thecognitive
form,
ofwhateverkind,isnotincapableofcorrespondingto
a
multiplicityofobjects;anythingthatis
material
andindividuatedisincapableofcorrespondingtomorethanoneindividual.Furthermore,
hac!
thesensoryortheimaginalform
been
some-thingmaterial,impressedinsomemannerin
a
partofthe
body,
itwouldhave
been
divisible
due
tothe
divisibilitv
ofitslocationandwuuldhavebeeninspaceandtime.However,suchisnotthecase.
1
lence
knowledgeisneithersusceptibletodivisionnor
ea-
pablcofattributiontoaphysicallocation.Also,itisnotsubjecttotime,for
a
sensoryformcognizedat
a
certaintimeremainsvalidandunchangedevenafterthepassageofalongperiodoftime,andhaditbeen
time-
bounditwouldchangewiththepassageoftime.TherehasbeenamisconceptionarisingfromthecontiguityoftheacquisitionofblOwleclgetotime.Thiscontiguity
(!JJI/{F/rilllali)
merelyrelatestotheconditionsfortheattainmentofthepotential
(isti'd{/(0
forreceivingknowledge,nottoknowledgeitself.
As
forthemediatingroleofthesenseorgansintheapprehen-sionofthesensibleformandthedependenceoftheimaginaryformonit,thatmerelypertainstotheattainmentofaspecificcapacityinthesoulenablingittoevokethecognitiveform.Therelateddetailsaretobefoundinworksontraditionalpsychology
Cl/m
aI-nafr)·
11811.
KM
)WI.LIlCE,
l(",()WER,
}\NllTilE
l(".()w",
Thereis
a
theoryaccordingtowhichtheformationofconceptsoccursthroughaprocessinwhichtheknownobjectisdivestedofmatteranditscharacteristicmaterialaccidents,untilthereremains
nothing
except
a
quidditystrippedof
its
materialshell(e.g.theconceptofmanstrippedofallphysicalmatteranditsaccompany-ingcharacteristicsrelatingtotime,space,position,andsoon).Thisprocessisdifferentfromsenseperception,whereinmatteranditsaccompanyingaccidentsandindividuatingfeaturesarepre-sent.Itisalsodifferentfromimagination,whereintheaccidentsassociatedwithmatteranditsindividuatingfeaturessurvivewith-outthepresenceofmatteritself.However,fromtheabovedis-cussionitbecomesclearthatsuchatheorycanbejustifiedonlyasametaphoricalaieltounderstanding.Otherwise,theperceivedformisalsoimmaterial;therequirementofthepresenceofmatter
and
itsaccompanyingindividuatingaccidentsisinordertopre-parethesoulforperception.Thesameappliestotherequirementofaccompanyingparticularfeaturesinimagination,as
wellas
therequirementof'divesting'inconception,whereintheimaginationofmorethananindividualpreparesthesoulforconceivingtheuniversal
quidditv-s-a
processreferredto
as
'theabstractionofthe
univcrsal
fromindividuals.'Fromwhathasbeensaiditalso
becomes
clear
that
existenceisdivisibleintothreerealmsinrespectoffreedomfromnutteranditsabsence,Oneofthemistheworldofmatterandpotentiality.Thesecondrealmistheoneinwhichmatterisabsent,thoughnotsomeofitspropertiessuchasshape,quantity,position,
etc.
Itcontainsphysicalformsandtheiraccidentsandfeaturesofperfec-tionwithoutthepresenceofanymatterpossessingpotentialityandpassivity.Itiscalledthe'imaginal'orthe'intermediate'world
(,CI/(it!i
a/-mit/Jal,
or
aI-!;arZilkb),
whichlies
between
theworldoftheIntellect
(,{l/all!a/-
'aql)
andtheworldofmatter
C{llam
aI-mtlddah).
Thethirdistheimmaterialworld
('[llam
tl!-tajartll(~,
whichisabso-lutelyfreefrommatteranditsproperties.ItiscalledtheworldoftheIntellcct
('d/am
al-'(/ql).
Themetaphysicianshavefurtherdividedtheimaginalworldintothe'macrocosmic'(orobjective)imaginalworld
((/!-JJlitbiil
aj-
a'?:tlm),
whichisaself-subsistingrealmbyitself,andthe'micro-cosmic'(orsubjective)imaginalworld
(al-mitbal
a!-a!J!,btir),
which
119

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