The Qur’ānic Hints about Epistemic Responsibility: An Analysis of Etymological Variants of ‘i-l-m in the Text

  • M. Ashraf Adeel
Part of the Sophia Studies in Cross-cultural Philosophy of Traditions and Cultures book series (SCPT, volume 29)


In this chapter we examine some of the verses about perceptual, intellectual, and revelatory knowledge. It is argued that these Qur’ānic verses are best understood as ways of defining knowledge in terms of certain natural and acquired epistemic dispositions or virtues. Human beings are held accountable by the Qur’ān for the proper use of their perceptual and rational faculties. The Qur’ānic concept of revelation as God’s testimony is highlighted along with the Qur’ānic emphasis on the Prophet’s responsibility for proper communication of the content of revelation. It is argued that knowledge for the Qur’ān seems to involve effective exercise of our natural perceptual, rational, and intuitive faculties as well as acquired dispositions or intellectual virtues. The Qur’ānic verses talk both about proper use of natural faculties and exercise of acquired intellectual virtues for acquisition of knowledge. Hence, it is suggested that the divide between responsibilist and reliabilist camps of virtue epistemology needs to be bridged. Some developments in this direction are noted.


Epistemic responsibility Perceptual knowledge Intellectual knowledge Revelation Acquired intellectual virtues Natural faculties as virtues 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Ashraf Adeel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyKutztown University of PennsylvaniaKutztownUSA

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