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Religions 2018, 9(10), 302;

Rationality and Ethics between Western and Islamic Tradition

Department of Law, University of Bari, 70121 Bari, Italy
Received: 4 July 2018 / Revised: 17 September 2018 / Accepted: 6 October 2018 / Published: 7 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Muslim Ethics in the Global Medina)
PDF [640 KB, uploaded 7 October 2018]


In the contemporary legal and political debate a large space is taken by the concept of ‘reasonableness’ as a multifaceted notion. Its plasticity makes it very adaptable to the variety of problems that is called on to solve. Its philosophical underpinnings are located in the tradition of Western thought. On the one hand, we have the modern tradition, including the Kantian and the Humean views and, on the other, the Aristotelian–Thomistic tradition, proposing a different and competing conception of reasonableness. Insofar as the latter tradition proposes an idea relying on perfectionist considerations, I want to inquire into the Islamic tradition of reason and rationality in order to find whether it is closer to the first or to the second model. Concepts such as ‘ijitihad’, ‘maqasid’ and ‘maslaha’, I shall argue, find their better explanation if interpreted along the Aristotelian perfectionist tradition rather than along its competitor. If this move is well-founded, some important consequences for the understanding of contemporary Islamic culture may derive. My basic assumption is that those Islamic concepts (and a few others) embed a religious and cultural core of tension to ‘human development’ that can nicely dovetail with Aristotelian rationality and ethics of virtues. View Full-Text
Keywords: Islamic ethics; Western ethics; reasonableness Islamic ethics; Western ethics; reasonableness
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Mangini, M. Rationality and Ethics between Western and Islamic Tradition. Religions 2018, 9, 302.

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