Dissertation on Divine Justice - Enhanced Version

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Kelsen was the primary author of its statutes in the state constitution of Austria as he documents in his book cited above. This is different from the system usual in common-law countries, including the USA, in which courts of general jurisdiction from the trial level up to the court of last resort frequently have powers of constitutional review. Following increasing political controversy about some positions of the Constitutional Court of Austria, Kelsen faced increasing pressure from the administration which appointed him to specifically address issues and cases concerning the providence of divorce provisions in state family law.

Kelsen was inclined to a liberal interpretation of the divorce provision while the administration which had originally appointed him was responding to public pressure for the predominantly Catholic country to take a more conservative position on the issue of the curtailment of divorce. In this increasingly conservative climate, Kelsen, who was considered sympathetic to the Social Democrats , although not a party member, was removed from the court in In her recent book on Kelsen, Sandrine Baume [22] has summarized the confrontation between Kelsen and Schmitt at the very start of the s.

This debate was to reignite Kelsen's strong defense of the principle of judicial review against the principle of an authoritarian version of the executive branch of government which Schmitt had envisioned for national socialism in Germany. As Baume states, "Kelsen defended the legitimacy of the constitutional court by combating the reasons that Schmitt cites for assigning the role of the guardian of the Constitution to the President of the Reich. The dispute between these two lawyers was about which body of the state should be assigned the role of guardian of the German Constitution.

Kelsen thought that this mission ought to be conferred on the judiciary, especially the Constitutional Court. Kelsen accepted a professorship at the University of Cologne in When the National Socialists came to power in Germany in , he was removed from his post. He relocated to Geneva , Switzerland where he taught international law at the Graduate Institute of International Studies from to Kelsen was among the strongest critics of Carl Schmitt because Schmitt was advocating for the priority of the political concerns of the state over the adherence by the state to the rule of law.

C. Stephen Evans

Kelsen and Morgenthau were united against this National Socialist school of political interpretation which down-played the rule of law, and they became lifelong colleagues even after both had emigrated from Europe to take their respective academic positions in the United States.

During these years, Kelsen and Morgenthau had both become persona non grata in Germany during the full rise to power of National Socialism. That Kelsen was the principal defender of Morgenthau's Habilitationschrift is recently documented in the translation of Morgenthau's book titled The Concept of the Political. When Morgenthau had found a Paris publisher for the volume, he asked Kelsen to re-evaluate it.

In the words of Behr and Rosch, "Kelsen was the right choice to assess Morgenthau's thesis because not only was he a senior scholar in Staatslehre , but Morgenthau's thesis was also largely a critical examination of Kelsen's legal positivism. This interest in international law in Kelsen was in reaction largely to the Kellogg—Briand Pact in and his negative reaction to the vast idealism he saw represented in its pages, along with the lack of the recognition of sanctions for the illicit actions of belligerent states.

Kelsen had come to endorse strongly the sanction-delict theory of law which he saw as substantially under-represented in the Kellogg—Briand Pact. In — he was briefly professor at the German University in Prague before returning to Geneva where he remained until His interest in international law would become especially focused in Kelsen's writings on international war crimes which he would redouble his efforts on behalf of after his departure to the United States.

In , at the age of 58, he and his family fled Europe on the last voyage of the SS Washington , embarking on 1 June in Lisbon. He was supported by Roscoe Pound for a faculty position at Harvard but opposed by Lon Fuller on the Harvard faculty before becoming a full professor at the department of political science at the University of California, Berkeley in Kelsen was defending a position of the distinction of the philosophical definition of justice as it is separable from the application of positive law.

As Fuller stated his opposition, "I share the opinion of Jerome Hall, evidenced in this excellent Readings , that jurisprudence should start with justice. I place this preference not on exhortatory grounds, but on a belief that until one has wrestled with the problem of justice one cannot truly understand the other issues of jurisprudence.

Kelsen, for example, excludes justice from his studies of practical law because it is an 'irrational ideal' and therefore 'not subject to cognition. The meaning of his theory can therefore be understood only when we have subjected to critical scrutiny its keystone of negation. During the ensuing years, Kelsen increasingly dealt with issues of international law and international institutions such as the United Nations. Another part of Kelsen's practical legacy, as he has recorded, [32] was the influence that his writings from the s and early s had upon the extensive and unprecedented prosecution of political leaders and military leaders at the end of WWII at Nuremberg and Tokyo, producing convictions in more than one thousand war crimes cases.

For Kelsen, the trials were the culmination of approximately fifteen years of research he had devoted to this topic, which started still in his European years, and which he followed with his celebrated essay, "Will the Judgment In the Nuremberg Trial Constitute a Precedent In International Law?

In Kelsen's companion essay for J. On page of the essay Kelsen states that, "Acts of State are acts of individuals performed by them in their capacity as organs of the State, especially by that organ which is called the Government of the State. These acts are performed by individuals who belong to the Government as the head of State , or members of the cabinet, or are acts performed at its command or with the authorization of the Government. In , he also published his book-length study about international law entitled Principles of International Law in English, and reprinted in In , Kelsen turned to a page essay, "Foundations of Democracy," for the leading philosophy journal Ethics ; written during the height of Cold War tensions, it expressed a passionate commitment to the Western model of democracy over soviet and national-socialist forms of government.

This essay by Kelsen on democracy was also important for summarizing his critical stance towards the book on politics by his former student in Europe Eric Voegelin. Following this, in Kelsen's book entitled A New Science of Politics Ontos Verlag, reprinted in , pp, originally published , Kelsen enumerated a point by point criticism of the excessive idealism and ideology which he saw as prevailing in Voegelin's book on politics.

This exchange and debate has been documented in the appendix to the book, written by the author on Voegelin, Barry Cooper, entitled Voegelin and the Foundations of Modern Political Science from Kelsen's other book defending his realist position regarding the issue of the separation of state and religion as opposed to that of Voegelin's position on this issue was published posthumously under the title Secular Religion.

Kelsen's objective in part was to safeguard the importance of the responsible separation of state and religion for those sympathetic to religion and concerned with this separation. Kelsen's book was followed in by a collection of essays on justice, law and politics, most of them previously published in English. Kelsen is considered one of the preeminent jurists of the 20th century and has been highly influential among scholars of jurisprudence and public law , especially in Europe and Latin America although less so in common-law countries.

His book titled Pure Theory of Law German : Reine Rechtslehre was published in two editions, one in Europe in , and a second expanded edition after he had joined the faculty at the University of California at Berkeley in Kelsen's Pure Theory of Law is widely acknowledged as his magnum opus. It aims to describe law as a hierarchy of norms which are also binding norms while at the same time refusing, itself, to evaluate those norms. That is, 'legal science' is to be separated from 'legal politics'.

Central to the Pure Theory of Law is the notion of a 'basic norm Grundnorm '—a hypothetical norm, presupposed by the theory, from which in a hierarchy all 'lower' norms in a legal system , beginning with constitutional law , are understood to derive their authority or 'bindingness'. In this way, Kelsen contends, the bindingness of legal norms, their specifically 'legal' character, can be understood without tracing it ultimately to some suprahuman source such as God, personified Nature or a personified State or Nation.

The Pure Theory of Law is generally considered among the most original contributions made by Hans Kelsen to legal theory. His book with that title was first published in , and in a greatly expanded second edition effectively a magnum opus doubled in length of presentation in The second edition appeared in English translation in , as Pure Theory of Law ; [38] the first edition appeared in English translation in , as Introduction to the Problems of Legal Theory.

The theory proposed in this book has probably been the most influential theory of law produced during the 20th century. It is, at the least, one of the high points of modernist legal theory. Although the second edition is so much longer, the two editions have a great deal of similar content. It is stated that in the English-speaking world, and notably the "Oxford school" of jurisprudence", Kelsen's influence can be seen in H.

Among Kelsen's principal critics today is Joseph Raz of Columbia University who has excoriated the reading of Nuremberg and the war crimes trials which Kelsen had interpreted in a consistent manner throughout the s and s at the end of his essay for Am. Some mystery surrounds the belated publication, in , of Secular Religion. In the early s an expanded version was set up in proof but was withdrawn at Kelsen's insistence and considerable personal expense in reimbursing the publisher , for reasons that have never become clear.

However, the Hans Kelsen Institute eventually decided that it should be published.


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It is a vigorous defense of modern science against all, including Voegelin, who would overturn the accomplishments of the Enlightenment by demanding that science be guided by religion. Kelsen seeks to expose contradictions in their claim that modern science, after all, rests upon the same sorts of assumption as religion—that it constitutes forms of "new religion" and so should not complain when old religion is brought back in. Judicial review for Kelsen in the twentieth century was part of a tradition inherited from the common law tradition based upon the American constitutional experience as introduced by John Marshall.

In drafting the constitutions for both Austria and Czechoslovakia, Kelsen chose to carefully delineate and limit the domain of judicial review to a narrower focus than was originally accommodated by John Marshall. Kelsen did receive a lifetime appointment to the court of judicial review in Austria and would remain on this court for almost an entire decade during the s.

Hierarchical law as a model for understanding the structural description of the process of understanding and applying the law was central for Kelsen and he adopted the model directly from his colleague Adolf Merkl at the University of Vienna. The main purposes of the hierarchical description of the law would be three-fold for Kelsen. First, it was essential to understanding his celebrated static theory of law as elaborated in Chapter four of his book on the Pure Theory of Law see subsection above. Second, it was a measure of relative centralization or decentralization. Third, a fully centralized system of law would also correspond to a unique Grundnorm or Basic norm which would not be inferior to any other norm in the hierarchy due to its placement at the utmost foundation of the hierarchy see Grundnorm section below.

Kelsen, during the time period of his education and legal training in fin-de-siecle Europe, had inherited a highly ambiguous definition of natural law which could be presented as having metaphysical, theological, philosophical, political, religious, or ideological components depending on any one of numerous sources who might desire to utilize the term.

For Kelsen, this ambiguity in the definition of natural made it unusable in any practical sense for a modern approach to understanding the science of law. Kelsen explicitly defined positive law to deal with the many ambiguities he associated with the use of natural law in his time, along with the negative influence which it had upon the reception of what was meant even by positive law in contexts apparently removed from the domain of influence normally associated with natural law.

The redefinition of the science of law and legal science to meet the requirements of modern law in the twentieth century was of significant concern to Kelsen. Kelsen would write book-length studies detailing the many distinctions to be made between the natural sciences and their associated methodology of causal reasoning in contrast to methodology of normative reasoning which he saw as more directly suited to the legal sciences. In his last years, Kelsen turned to a comprehensive presentation of his ideas on norms.

During the last 29 years of his life at the University of California, Kelsen's appointment at the University and his affiliation was primarily with the Department of Politics and not with the School of Law. This is strongly reflected in his many writings in the field of political philosophy both before and after joining the Faculty at Berkeley.

In fact, Kelsen's very first book see Section above was written about the political philosophy of Dante Alighieri and it was only with his second book that Kelsen started to write book length studies about the philosophy of law and its practical applications. Baume speaks of Kelsen's political philosophy concerning judicial review as coming closest to Ronald Dworkin and John Hart Ely among the scholars active after the end of Kelsen's life.

In order to gain a useful understanding of the breadth of Kelsen's interests in political philosophy, it is informative to examine Charles Covell's book titled The Redefinition of Conservatism from the s in which Covell engages Kelsen in the philosophical context of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Roger Scruton, Michael Oakeshott, John Casey and Maurice Cowling. As Covell summarizes them, Kelsen's interests in political philosophy ranged across the fields of "practical perspectives underlying morality, religion, culture, and social custom.

As summarized by Sandrine Baume in her recent book [50] on Kelsen, "In [Kelsen] recognized his debt to Kantianism on this methodological point that determined much of his pure theory of law: 'Purity of method, indispensable to legal science, did not seem to me to be guaranteed by any philosopher as sharply as by Kant with his contrast between Is and Ought. Thus for me, Kantian philosophy was from the very outset the light that guided me.

In his book titled What is Justice? The answer to the question whether planned economy is preferable to free economy depends on our decision between the values of individual freedom and social security. Hence, to the question of whether individual freedom is a higher value than social security or vice versa, only a subjective answer is possible," [53] Five principle areas of concern for Kelsen in the area of political philosophy can be identified among his many interests for their centrality and the effect which they exerted over virtually his entire lifetime.

These are; i Sovereignty, ii Law-state identity theory, iii State-society dualism, iv Centralization-decentralization, and v Dynamic theory of law. The definition and redefinition of sovereignty for Kelsen in the context of twentieth century modern law became a central theme for the political philosophy of Hans Kelsen from to the end of his life.

The principles of explicitly defined sovereignty would become of increasing importance to Kelsen as the domain of his concerns extended more comprehensively into international law and its manifold implications following the conclusion of WWI. The very regulation of international law in the presence of asserted sovereign borders would present either a major barrier for Kelsen in the application of principles in international law, or represent areas where the mitigation of sovereignty could greatly facilitate the progress and effectiveness of international law in geopolitics.

The understanding of Kelsen's highly functional reading of the identity of law and state continues to represent one of the most challenging barriers to students and researchers of law approaching Kelsen's writings for the first time. After Kelsen completed his doctoral dissertation on the political philosophy of Dante, he turned to the study of Jellinek's dualist theory of law and state in Heidelberg in the years leading to Kelsen's highly functional reading of the state was the most compatible manner he could locate for allowing for the development of positive law in a manner compatible with the demands of twentieth century geopolitics.

After accepting the need for endorsing an explicit reading of the identity of law and state, Kelsen remained equally sensitive to recognizing the need for society to nonetheless express tolerance and even encourage the discussion and debate of philosophy, sociology, theology, metaphysics, sociology, politics, and religion. Culture and society were to be regulated by the state according to legislative and constitutional norms.

Kelsen recognized the province of society in an extensive sense which would allow for the discussion of religion, natural law, metaphysics, the arts, etc. Very significantly, Kelsen would come to the strong inclination in his writings that the discussion of justice, as one example, was appropriate to the domain of society and culture, though its dissemination within the law was highly narrow and dubious.

A common theme which was unavoidable for Kelsen within the many applications he encountered of his political philosophy was that of centralization and decentralization. For Kelsen, centralization was a philosophically key position to the understanding of the pure theory of law.

The pure theory of law is in many ways dependent upon the logical regress of its hierarchy of superior and inferior norms reaching a centralized point of origination in the hierarchy which he termed the Basic norm , or, Grundnorm. In Kelsen's general assessments, centralization was to often be associated with more modern and highly developed forms of enhancements and improvements to sociological and cultural norms, while the presence of decentralization was a measure of more primitive and less sophisticated observations concerning sociological and cultural norms.

The dynamic theory of law is singled out in this subsection discussing the political philosophy of Hans Kelsen for the very same reasons which Kelsen applied in separating its explication from the discussion of the static theory of law within the pages of Pure Theory of Law. The dynamic theory of law is the explicit and very acutely defined mechanism of state by which the process of legislation allows for new law to be created, and already established laws to be revised, as a result of political debate in the sociological and cultural domains of activity.

Kelsen devotes one of his longest chapters in the revised version of Pure Theory of Law to discussing the central importance he associated with the dynamic theory of law. Its length of nearly one hundred pages is suggestive of its central significance to the book as a whole and may almost be studied as an independent book in its own right complementing the other themes which Kelsen covers in this book.

This section delineates the reception and criticism of Kelsen's writings and research throughout his lifetime. It also explicates the reaction of his scholarly reception after his death in concerning his intellectual legacy. Throughout his lifetime, Kelsen maintained a highly authoritative position representing his wide range of contributions to the theory and practice of law. Few scholars in the study of law were able to match his ability to engage and often polarize legal opinion during his own lifetime and extending well into his legacy reception after his death. One significant example of this involves his introduction and development of the term Grundnorm which can be briefly summarized to illustrate the diverse responses which his opinion was able to often stimulate in the legal community of his time.

The short version of its reception is illustrative of many similar debates with which Kelsen was involved at many points in his career and may be summarized as follows. Regarding Kelsen's original use of the term Grundnorm , its closest antecedent appears in writings of his colleague Adolf Merkl at the University of Vienna. Merkl was developing a structural research approach for the understanding of law as a matter of the hierarchical relationship of norms, largely on the basis of their being either superior, the one to the other, or inferior with respect to each other.

Kelsen adapted and assimilated much of Merkl's approach into his own presentation of the Pure Theory of Law in both its original version and its revised version For Kelsen, the importance of the Grundnorm was in large measure two-fold since it importantly indicated the logical regress of superior relationships between norms as they led to the norm which ultimately would have no other norm to which it was inferior.

Its second feature was that it represented the importance which Kelsen associated with the concept of a fully centralized legal order in contrast to the existence of decentralized forms of government and representing legal orders. Another form of the reception of the term originated from the fairly extended attempt to read Kelsen as a neo-Kantian following his early engagement with Hermann Cohen 's work in , [58] the year his Habilitation dissertation on public law was published.

Cohen was a leading neo-Kantian of the time and Kelsen was, in his own way, receptive to many of the ideas which Cohen had expressed in his published book review of Kelsen's writing. Kelsen had insisted that he had never used this material in the actual writing of his own book, though Cohen's ideas were attractive to him in their own right. This has resulted in one of the longest-running debates within the general Kelsen community as to whether Kelsen became a neo-Kantian himself after the encounter with Cohen's work, or if he managed to keep his own non-neo-Kantian position intact which he claimed was the prevailing circumstance when he first wrote his book in The neo-Kantians, when pressing the issue, would lead Kelsen into discussions concerning whether the existence of such a Grundnorm Basic Norm was strictly symbolic or whether it had a concrete foundation.

This has led to the further division within this debate concerning the currency of the term Grundnorm as to whether it should be read, on the one hand, as part and parcel of Hans Vaihinger 's "as-if" hypothetical construction. On the other hand, to those seeking a practical reading, the Grundnorm corresponded to something directly and concretely comparable to a sovereign nation's federal constitution, under which would be organized all of its regional and local laws, and no law would be recognized as being superior to it.

In different contexts, Kelsen would indicate his preferences in different ways, with some neo-Kantians asserting that late in life Kelsen would largely abide by the symbolic reading of the term when used in the neo-Kantian context, [60] and as he has documented. The neo-Kantian reading of Kelsen can further be subdivided into three subgroups, with each representing their own preferred reading of the meaning of the Grundnorm , which were identifiable as a the Marburg neo-Kantians, b the Baden neo-Kantians, and c his own Kelsenian reading of the neo-Kantian school during his "analytico-linguistic" phase circa — [61] with which his writings on this subject are often associated.

While still in Austria, Kelsen entered the debate on the versions of Public Law prevailing in his time by engaging the predominating opinions of Jellinek and Gerber in his Habilitation dissertation see description above. Kelsen, after attending Jellinek's lectures in Heidelberg oriented his interpretation according to the need to extend Jellinek's research past the points which Jellinek had set as its limits. For Kelsen, the effective operation of a legal order required that it be separated from political influences in terms which exceeded substantially the terms which Jellinek had adopted as its preferred form.

In response to his dissertation, Kelsen was challenged by the neo-Kantians, originally led by Hermann Cohen , who maintained that there were substantial neo-Kantian insights which were open to Kelsen, which Kelsen himself did not appear to develop to the full extent of their potential interpretation as summarized in the section above.

Sara Lagi in her recent book on Kelsen and his s writings on democracy has articulated the revised and guarded reception of Jellinek by Kelsen. In addition to this debate, Kelsen had initiated a separate discussion with Carl Schmitt on questions relating to the definition of sovereignty and its interpretation in international law. Kelsen became deeply committed to the principle of the adherence of the state to the rule of law above political controversy, while Schmitt adhered to the divergent view of the state deferring to political fiat.

The debate would have the effect of polarizing opinion not only throughout the s and s leading up to WWII, but has also extended into the decades after Kelsen's death in A third example of the controversies with which Kelsen was involved during his European years surrounded the severe disenchantment which many felt concerning the political and legal outcomes of WWI and the Treaty of Versailles.

Kelsen believed that the blamelessness associated with Germany's political leaders and military leaders indicated a gross historical inadequacy of international law which could no longer be ignored. Avicenna objects that this implies that every agent is also a recipient of action Avicenna MH: For where an agent is first inactive and then active, her action is due to her being affected in some way: my rising is partly due to my being affected by the ringing of the doorbell. Avicenna contends that while some agents are first inactive and then active and so act as a result of their being affected in some way, neither of these features is required for agency.

Indeed, because inactivity and being affected are opposed to activity and action, he reasons, the former do not belong to the account of agency, strictly speaking. Now, in correcting this error about the efficient cause, Avicenna aims to make conceptual room for divine agency. Still, it is important to note that Avicenna does not appeal to accepted features of divine agency to make his case. Rather, he attempts to show by conceptual analysis that the ordinary view, on which every agent is first inactive and then active, is too narrow.

Avicenna likewise distinguishes the agent that acts without being acted upon from the agent that is both an agent and a patient. Avicenna explains the superiority of a highest type of efficient cause as follows: Where something is such that, whenever it exists, it produces the existence of something else by virtue of its own essence, and where its effect exists after absolute nonexistence and is permanent, then that thing has a higher claim to causality than other things.

For such an efficient cause entirely prevents the nonexistence of its effect; it gives complete existence to the effect Avicenna MH: ; Marmura Avicenna explains the inferiority of the lowest type of efficient cause as follows: This type gives being to an effect that does not exist after absolute nonexistence but after a specific privation in matter. Of this type of agent, he says that its power to give being to another is weak, of short duration, and intermittent Avicenna MH: Sublunary substances such as plants and animals are efficient causes of this lowest type.

Avicenna also recognizes an intermediate type of efficient cause: This third type gives being to an effect that does not exist after absolute nonexistence or after a specific privation in matter; rather the existence of this effect is preceded by the existence of something else, which is non-material. On this account, creation occurs in a stepwise way beginning with the original creative act of God, whose immediate effect is an intellect. The first created intellect then creates three things: i the body of the outermost sphere, ii the soul which moves the outermost sphere and iii a second intellect.

The second intellect likewise creates three things and so on. The lowest of the created intellects—namely, the Agent Intellect—creates the form and matter of the sublunar world, as well as the rational souls of individual human beings. Still, it supports his earlier suggestion that he means to offer a unified account of the efficient cause, which encompasses both natural and creative agents.

For each member of the hierarchy is construed as that which gives being to another. So, in his Metaphysics , Avicenna provides an overarching account of the efficient cause as that which gives being to another. This account emerges from his defense of the view that the efficient cause is simultaneous with its effect. He sees the opposite view—that the efficient cause is temporally prior to its effect—as a common error, which arises from consideration of ordinary events and processes, such as construction and reproduction: the builder building is temporally prior to the existence of the house; the father inseminating is temporally prior to the existence of the child.

Avicenna argues that this account misreports the proper effects of ordinary efficient causes. The proper effect of the builder is building, not the existence of the house, and the proper effect of the father is insemination, not the existence of the child. Builders and fathers are true efficient causes of building and insemination, but they are only auxiliary efficient causes of the existence of buildings and children.

So, builders and fathers are simultaneous with, not temporally prior to, their proper effects. Still, their actions make some contribution to the existence of buildings and children. This contribution is acknowledged through their designation as auxiliary efficient causes of the existence of buildings and children. The claim that builders and fathers are only auxiliary efficient causes of the existence of buildings and children invites us to investigate the true causes of their existence.

According to Avicenna, the proximate efficient cause of the existence of sublunary substance is the Agent Intellect, while its ultimate efficient cause is God. It appears to have influenced discussion of divine agency by Scholastic theologians, including Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus Druart ; Acar While Avicenna also had many adherents within his own culture, his positions on numerous issues, including the scope of efficient causation, were criticized not only by Islamic theologians but also by his fellow philosophers.

They primarily support this view by appeal to the doctrine of divine omnipotence. Still, discussion of the nature of agency also plays a role in some of their arguments. This argument suggests that we should restrict the scope of agency to intelligent beings on conceptual grounds. The conclusion of the conceptual argument allows for agency in any intelligent being and so allows for human agency. While Averroes accepts emanation in his early writings, he denounces it with vigor in his mature works Averroes MTE; Genequand ; Davidson He also argues that, strictly speaking, God is not a creator: his causality is that of an ultimate final cause of motion.

This is suggested in the Incoherence of the Incoherence , where he claims that God is an agent by way of final causality Averroes ITI: According to Averroes, the methods of philosophy are uniquely suited to establish truth Taylor The role of religion is to transmit that truth to the masses via narrative and metaphor. The latter differ from Averroes in that they are less concerned than he is to interpret Aristotle correctly. The philosophers consider both natural motion and divine action to occur for the sake of an end, though they consider the latter to differ from the former in an important way.

Natural bodies are said to act for the sake of something distinct from themselves, which they lack. For example, an animal builds for the sake of shelter. God acts for the sake of itself. Presumably, the latter case describes divine action. Avicenna attempts to explain the idea that God cannot act for the sake of something distinct from itself as follows. So, an absolutely perfect agent as is God cannot act from desire for an end distinct from itself.

So, an absolutely simple agent as is God cannot act by intending for the sake of something other than itself. Another aim of Arabic philosophical discussions of final causality is to meet various objections to Aristotelian teleology. Avicenna takes up this challenge with great energy.

Again, the most developed arguments are found in the Physics and Metaphysics of the Book of Healing. In Metaphysics VI 5, he treats additional objections. Perhaps these are of greatest interest. This objection challenges the idea that every natural motion has an end or goal. Against this objection, Avicenna maintains that apparently trivial human actions are motivated by unconscious desire for pleasure, the good of the animal soul Richardson This objection asserts that it is inappropriate to include the end among the types of causes on the ground that causes are ontologically prior to effects.

This interpretation also appears in the Arabic tradition. Roughly speaking, Avicenna was taken to have shown that i the claim that the end is a cause of motion depends on the claim that it is prior to and a cause of the causality of the other causes and ii the claim that the end is prior to and a cause of the causality of the other causes is true only in cases where it exists in the mind or soul of the efficient cause. In this passage, he suggests that the thingness or essence of the end may exist prior to motion either as an object of cognition, or in another way, which is different from, but analogous to, existing as an object of cognition.

Still, it seems especially difficult to prove that that the end of natural motion is prior to and a cause of that motion. This issue was widely discussed by Arabic philosophers and theologians. Avicenna may be able to meet this objection by appeal to his account of natural inclination Richardson In the Metaphysics of the Book of Healing , Avicenna defends the necessitation thesis in order to support his coexistence thesis, which states that cause and effect coexist in time.

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In other words, Avicenna considers the necessitation thesis to entail that the priority of cause to effect is ontological, not temporal Marmura a. In the central part of the argument for the necessitation thesis, Avicenna attempts to show that the causal relation cannot be fully understood in terms of possibility:.

It is not insofar as its happening is possible that it exists. And it is not only insofar as something else has the possibility of making it happen that it exists from another. Having the possibility of making a thing happen is not sufficient for making it happen. Given the mere possibility of making a thing happen, which is not sufficient, the thing would sometimes exist when it exists and sometimes not exist when it exists.

Avicenna MH: —7, trans. In this argument, Avicenna analyzes an event as follows: considered in itself, the event may exist or not exist; and, considered in relation to what has the mere possibility of making it happen, the event may exist or not exist. So, considered in either of these ways, the event may or may not exist: its existence or nonexistence hangs in the balance. He then asserts that the existence or nonexistence of one thing from another requires a difference-maker, which destroys this equilibrium. To support this conclusion, he appeals to a version of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which states that, for everything that exists from another, there is a sufficient reason why it exists from that other rather than does not exist from that other.

On the basis of this argument, Avicenna ultimately concludes that, with the existence of its cause, the existence of the effect is not merely possible, it is necessary. Still, he recognizes important differences across the various things which function as causes. Most important are the differences between God and sublunary substance. His reasoning involves the following ideas. First, God needs nothing outside himself to produce the first intelligence. Second, God is immutable.

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So, whenever God exists, he possesses the knowledge and volition by which he produces the first intelligence. By contrast, with the existence of a sublunary substance, the existence of its effect is typically not necessary, but merely possible. Thus, a subject of causality is a substance that functions as a cause when it is in a certain state. For example, fire functions as a cause for the burning of cotton when its power to burn is actualized in the cotton. This state occurs only when contact between agent fire and patient cotton is unimpeded and when the patient cotton is itself in a suitable state, e.

Dissertation on Divine Justice - Enhanced Version

He writes,. The connection between what is habitually believed to be a cause and what is habitually believed to be an effect is not necessary, according to us. Their connection is due to the prior decree of God, who creates them side by side, not to its being necessary in itself, incapable of separation. One question raised by the argument is whether his opponents really accept ii ; another is whether they consider i and ii to imply iii.

This is a question which must be investigated, since one single action-and-passivity between two existent things occurs only through one relation out of an infinite number, and it happens often that one relation hinders another. Therefore it is not absolutely certain that fire acts when it is brought near a sensitive body, for surely it is not improbable that there should be something which stands in such a relation to the sensitive thing as to hinder the action of the fire, as is asserted of talc and other things.

Divine Justice Comedy

But one need not therefore deny fire its burning power so long as fire keeps its name and definition. Averroes ITI: — Averroes affirms that natural substances, such as fire, are causes. In this sentence, he seems to deny that causal connections are necessary connections. And he suggests that, absent this impediment, the burning would certainly take place. So, while he initially seems to deny that causal connections are necessary connections, his overall argument suggests that he affirms this claim.

Furthermore, he suggests that his revised version of their account is true. He also holds, however, that the existence of a sublunary substance, which functions as a cause, is, typically, not sufficient for the exercise of its causality and, thus, typically, not sufficient for the existence of the effect of its causality. For example, fire functions as a cause of the burning of cotton only when its power to burn is actualized in the cotton. This not only requires that contact between agent fire and patient cotton be unimpeded but also that the patient cotton is itself in a suitable state, e.

Averroes also suggests that his own revised version of their account is true. This has to do with his understanding of the modalities. So, if it is conceivable that the cotton not burn, even though its contact with fire is unimpeded and it is dry, then it is not necessary that it burn, even when these conditions obtain. For he says that the connection between burning and contact with fire.

More generally, they do not characterize the modalities in terms of conceivability. Still, it seems a more fundamental source of disagreement is their differing accounts of God. He also denies that God knows particular things, except in a universal way Avicenna MH: ; Marmura ; Adamson So, according to Avicenna, God cannot act otherwise than he does; furthermore, he cannot plan or execute any particular event. So, God cannot cause a miracle by altering his action so as to interrupt the course of nature.

Furthermore, God cannot cause a miracle by planning and executing a grand series of particular events, which includes a deviation from the course of nature. On the contrary, God serves as the ultimate explanation of order and stability in the universe, including in the realm of nature. Of course, Avicenna and Averroes do not always state in plain terms that their accounts of God are incompatible with Muslim doctrine. They often take a conciliatory approach to religious tenets that are in tension with truths established by philosophy. Aristotelian natural philosophy relies in part on sensory observation in its attribution of causal powers to natural bodies.

So, it is not surprising that Arabic and Islamic thinkers raise objections to Aristotelian science, which anticipate later philosophical accounts of the problem of induction. Some of these emerge from within Aristotelianism. As he sees it, part of the problem is that induction may be supposed to lead to absolute, universal, and certain premises, while in reality it leads to merely probable belief. Tajribah is the Arabic translation of the Greek empeiria. As Avicenna describes it, experience involves repeated sensation of some phenomenon that is preserved in memory, e.

We infer that the repeated connection involves an essential relation between two things: e. This implicit process of reasoning removes doubt. So, experience gives rise to certitude. Avicenna defines certitude in terms of second-order belief: one is certain when one knows that what one has assented to cannot be otherwise Black b: Certitude is not wholly subjective, since knowledge of a proposition requires its truth Black b: On the other hand, though experience gives rise to certitude, it does not yield knowledge in the strict sense.

For knowledge in the strict sense is both necessary and explanatory. From experience we derive our certitude that members of a certain species cause something; but experience does not show why McGinnis —1. Avicenna also addresses the objection that experience may lead to false generalizations. He uses the following example.

Suppose we had seen only black humans and had observed without exception that procreation issues in black children. By experience, we would conclude that all humans are black, i. In response to this objection, Avicenna says that knowledge derived from experience is conditional,. McGinnis and Reisman If procreation is taken to be that of any given people, then experience will not end with the aforementioned particular instances; for that experience concerned a black people, but people absolutely speaking are not limited to black people.

McGinnis and Reisman ; McGinnis — So, in response to the objection that experience could lead to false generalizations, Avicenna advises that proper use of experience would include careful attention to the domain of a species, which was subject to repeated observation. As we have seen, Aristotelian natural philosophy relies in part on repeated observation in its attribution of causal powers to natural bodies. One position considers changes in nature to be brought about by natural bodies alone, without any contribution by God. Applied to the example of the burning of the cotton, this position holds that.

As for fire, which is inanimate, it has no action. For what proof is there that it is the agent [of the burning of cotton]? They have no proof other than observing the occurrence of the burning at the [juncture of] contact with the fire. So, the evidence of repeated observation, even when unvarying, does not show that fire is the agent of the change. In response to the skeptical argument, Averroes appeals to the fact of natural science: We do have some knowledge of the natural world.

Furthermore, knowledge of the natural world just is knowledge of the natural causes of change Averroes ITI: — Such knowledge must be derived, at least in part, from repeated observation of bodies. So, as Averroes sees it, the fact of natural science is sufficient reason to reject the skeptical argument.