Sources of Dualism in Modern Rationalist Thought: Implications for Islamic Economics

This paper follows on from the previous one in this series on the incursion of rationalist thought into Christendom. In this paper, I show how the sequence of socio-political events in Europe at the turn of the 16th century provided an opportunistic environment for rationalism to supplant religion as the dominant paradigm for human thought. It gave birth to the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, and their nemesis, the Romantic Movement. All of them sought to assert the primacy of human agency in the process of knowledge generation. But from inception, scientific thought itself was split between the competing claims of both intellectualism and empiricism. After discussing the key features of each episteme, I show how despite considerable efforts in the occidental world to reconcile this bifurcation, none has produced a satisfying synthesis. This dichotomy now abides not only within the individual psyche but also across the entirety of the socio-scientific enterprise and all of its institutions and artefacts. Its implications have been previously described as a watershed in the history of humankind, instituting an intellectual crisis of great import. More importantly for this study, I then juxtapose some of these outcomes vis-à-vis the agenda of Islamic economics and finance, to demonstrate the inherent dissonance between the two systems of thought. Lastly, I introduce the reader to the third and last part of this study, to appear in another edition of this series, where I demonstrate that when mainstream economics fell under the grip of rationalist philosophy, it suffered, as a result, the same fate of atomisation and methodological individualism

Working paper 632
1 September 2016

Related South Africa’s Cities and Growth Spatial Challenges and Policy Interventions Content

Request for Proposals: The role of cities as drivers of growth and employment
Background Urbanization in South Africa is expected to reach 80% by...
Call for Work
South Africa’s future will be decided in our cities
Discussion Document 14 South Africa’s cities face multiple, overlap...
Dieter von Fintel, Justin Visagie, Ivan Turok, Takwanisa Machemedze, Claus Rabe, Sebastian Galiani, Edward Glaeser
Discussion Document
Monitoring South Africa’s metropolitan economies: A survey of the data landscape
Discussion Document 13 Disparities in data across different metropo...
Dieter von Fintel
Discussion Document
Cities, productivity and Jobs in SA: Problems and potential
Discussion Document 12 Cities contribute to national prosperity bec...
Ivan Turok, Justin Visagie
Discussion Document
Place-based economic policies: international lessons for South Africa
Discussion Document 11 Place-based policies are designed to support...
Harris Selod, Claus Rabe
Discussion Document
What luminosity data can and cannot reveal about South Africa’s urban economies
Discussion Document 10 As novel types of data are becoming availabl...
Takwanisa Machemedze
Discussion Document
Crime: A policy-oriented survey
Discussion Document 9 South Africa has a reputation for having high...
Sebastian Galiani
Discussion Document
Virtual CDE Workshop on SA Cities and Growth
Urban economics has provided powerful insights into how the charact...

Search Resources

Ground Floor Brookside Building
11 Imam Haron Road
Claremont, 7700
Cape Town

PostNet Suite # 109
Private Bag X1005
Claremont 7735
Cape Town

Get Social