Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

  • Music:

Static in the Mind

  • Wednesday: J and R came over, and there was conversation and games.
  • Thursday: Invitation to an informal dinner gathering with chrisamaphone, wjl, and "8" (error: unmapped handle to realname - btw, hello I am Improv). Many wonderful toppings were made and applied to pasta - this made the best meal I've had in months.
  • Friday: Consumed by migraine which is not really gone yet

Working more on understanding issues in Islamic jurisprudence/philosophy: leads to broader matter of preservation of meaning. "Mafhūn al-mukhālafah": a type of reasoning that is accepted/not accepted as a difference between the 4 schools. Literally: Something like "judgement by negative meaning". If a text says "You should not wear a hat on Tuesdays", does that imply that one may (or must?) wear a hat on other days? (not a real example from Islam, just meant to demonstrate the logical issue) - at least one school of Islamic jurisprudence suggests that, given some carefully laid out preconditions, the answer is yes. The issue is pretty important in Islamic law, as it presumably is the will of Allah, and things we might call "recieved value systems" stake much of their legitimacy on accurately reflecting a "given" source (I consider this a fault, but it is still an interesting constraint to work with - I believe that healthy value systems are semi-fluidly derived from semi-fluid values). Any work of literature, from the US Constitution to the Qur'an, can only have meaning extracted by a process of interpretation, and it speaks well of Islamic philosophy that they have such well-developed systems of literary analysis for the Haditha and the Qur'an. It's a pity on some level that works don't place themselves in such a school of logic when written - if one had a set of markers attached to such works indicating that, for example, Mafhūn al-mukhālafah is kosher for this work given normal qualifiers, one might imagine meaning could be more cleanly preserved. Whether this would be a good thing or not is an open matter - for those who believe that values should be an open book, perhaps this enshrines "recieved" values too much.

Narrowing down a bit further on the example, judgement by negative meaning seems to be something useful in real life (separate from the qualifiers given in that madhab) in a few circumstances - what real-life qualifiers might we imagine for it when attempting to extract intended meaning from a book or instructor?Perhaps:

  • The qualifiers that the meaning swivels around are not part of a "for example" list, e.g. "I will not eat green eggs and ham, example example example" or otherwise clearly not meant as part of an application or result of "narrowing" logic
  • The writing is meant as universal in scope
  • The qualifiers leading to the situation are not negated/reversed improperly, e.g. "given that I have already done this wrong, I am considering doing this other thing to best handle the situation I have created" never flips around to negate or mandate the original wrong (this may be slightly off-topic)
Of course, all this stuff is wonderfully and interestingly messy. Perhaps it is better not to solve this problem yet so legalists and logicians don't come to impose unchanging rules on us all - some people really think that the Qur'an or te US Constitution were written for all of time and the author(s) should have their wishes respected for all of humanity or America. Perhaps the fundamentalists (who largely abandon the careful/scholarly readings of their religion for a populist one) and their "law is simple" counterparts are more dangerous than the scholars in an interprative tradition though?

Have recently been feeling pretty down, having seen other people's working relationships again and remembering what it felt like to have nice routines involving dinner, the joy of having two people doing things that floated in mutual judgement between them, and all that other stuff... sigh.


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