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 Post subject: The Philosophy of the Mutakallemim
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2008 11:56 pm 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
What is this document?

Moses Maimonides was a brilliant Jewish scholar of the 12th century. He wrote several texts wherein he interpreted and explained the sacred texts and the laws of the Jews. In "The Guide for the Perplexed" he tackled many deeply philosophical questions from the perspective of his faith and his beliefs. Of itself it is an interesting read for anyone trying to get an understanding of the medieval Jewish mindset. The Guide was written as a teaching text. Maimonides believed that reading books on philosophical subjects in isolation led to misunderstanding -- therefore he wrote his books with the understanding that they would be used by Jewish scholars to teach Jewish students about the weightier matters of their faith.

A small part of The Guide is dedicated to analyzing the beliefs of other peoples and describing why these beliefs are erroneous from the perspective of the Jewish faith. It's a bit like "Here is what they believe, here is what we believe, now can you see why they are wrong?". I have selected one of these as the basis for the real-world philosophy behind the magic system and it is contained in the attached PDF.

Oh No! It's got atoms!

Yes, the text talks about atoms. Keep in mind while reading the text that this is the Greek definition of "atom" and not the modern definition of atom. One of the things that appealed to me about the text is this very discussion on atoms and their accidents. I think this keeps a continuity with TRoS Core while removing much of what many people didn't like about Core magic (the modern scientific philosophy behind the Core magic system).

Maimonides' attitude to the Mutakallemim

In analyzing the beliefs of the Mutakallemim there is no doubt that Maimonides sees them as somewhat ignorant and their philosophy illogical and easily refuted. This certainly colors his analysis. In no way do I intend commenting on the work of Maimonides, his beliefs, or the beliefs of the Mutakallemim.

So what is the goal here?

Thankfully this is very simple. The objective is to answer a fairly straightforward question:

If the 12 Propositions of the Mutakallemim on the nature of the universe were true, what would a magic system look like that was based on their view of the universe?

On the one hand this is quite limiting. The magic system cannot contravene any of the 12 Propositions. Rather, everything must work within the boundaries defined by the 12 Propositions -- even magic. On the other hand it is surprisingly liberating. There is a lot of room to move within the confines of the 12 Propositions.

So feel free to download the text, have a read, and then join in the discussion threads on how we're going to structure the magic system around this text.


File comment: Chapter 72 of "The Guide for the Perplexed"
by Moses Maimonides
Draft 0.1 of the text

The Philosophy of the Mutakallemim.pdf [96.94 KiB]
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