A Branched Model For Substantial Motion

Journal of Shi‘a Islamic Studies 2:53-67 (2009)
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The seventeenth century Muslim philosopher Muhammad Sadr al-Din Shirazi, known as Mulla Sadra, introduced the idea of substantial motion in Islamic philosophy. This view is characterized by a continuity criterion for diachronic identity, a four-dimensional view of individual substances, the notion that possibilities change, and the continual creation of all creatures. Modern philosophical logic provides means to model a variety of claims about individuals, substances, modality and time. In this paper, the semantics of formal systems discussed by Carnap, Bressan and Gupta are reviewed with regard to the issue of substance and identity. Next a model introduced by Storrs McCall is described that is able to build upon and yet resolve some of the issues about substance and identity as characterized by Bressan and others. McCall’s model is also shown to be able to provide an illustration of Mulla Sadra’s doctrine of substantial motion.



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Muhammad Legenhausen
The Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute

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