ʿAqīl المُصْطَفَوِي

ʿAqīl المُصْطَفَوِي



The concept of ‘vision’/‘seeing’ being solely reduced to sense-perception is an empiricist tendency that is largely modern. Seeing also very much refers to apprehension—as someone once put it to me:“philosophy is the science of seeing”.

Our everyday expressions we use also betray our pre-reflective realisation that ‘seeing’ is intertwined with our cognitive activity: e.g. “I *see* what you mean”, “he is a *clear* writer”, “my writings are *obscure*, etc. The root of “clear” is clarus(bright) i.e. what is…

easily seen. The roof of “obscure” is obscurus(dark/shady) i.e. what is not easily seen. To ‘elucidate’(explain) comes from lux(light). All instances of systematic thinking are just different modes of seeing things—active seeing.

The most basic form of which is ‘comprehending’ i.e. to grasp something. A higher level of comprehension is ‘definition’ i.e. a firmer and more precise mode of grasping by actively marking out the boundaries of what-is-seen (‘finis’ means limit/boundary)

Another is ‘judgement’ which is seeing a fact as a visible character (e.g. “A is B” or “C is not D”) The most complex is inferential reasoning which is movement from premises(what is seen immediately) to the conclusion(what is not seen immediately but is to be rendered visible)

The last form is imagination which is seeing a spatial form but not through sense-perception. We are also so used to the fact that ‘passive seeing’ only involves sense-perception but the Islāmic tradition offers another mode—receptive intellection…

known as ‘kashf’. Kashf literally means ‘uncovering’/‘unveiling’, which is again, just another way of saying that you are able to *see* something. Hence, philosophy, which is a theoretical effort in its most purest form, is an attempt at seeing.

‘Theoretical’ comes from the Greek ‘theōrein’(θεωρεῖν), which simply means ‘to see’. Therefore, any form of thinking is simply seeing in its most profound sense. (Taken from my notes on Platonism) Wallāhu aʾlam.

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