Concluding Thoughts

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


From the foregoing chapters it appears that virtuous cognitive activity is a progressive sequence for the Qur’ān. The central idea is to make a conscientious effort to avoid ignorance and attain knowledge. However, knowledge by itself is not the only epistemic goal and a holistic understanding of various areas of life is the next target. At the third and final stage the goal is the attainment of wisdom. Here knowledge and understanding have to be employed to reinforce and sharpen the intellectual and moral conscience or taqwā. This cognitive activity, wherein knowledge and more particularly understanding works to enhance our ability for living a life of falāḥ or comprehensive success, is the ultimate epistemic and moral goal. At the heart of this progressive epistemic sequence lies the Qur’ānic concept of taqwā, which is moral and intellectual conscientiousness based in a natural ability of the human nafs or self to distinguish right from wrong. This comprehensive reflective and motivational conscience is primarily an acquired stable disposition based in an initial natural ability to distinguish right from wrong. It expresses itself though specific intellectual virtues required for the attainment of the goal of knowledge or understanding or, ultimately, wisdom. In an ideal situation attainment of knowledge in various fields must lead to acquisition of understanding and, in turn, understanding should streamline its insights to sharpen the ability of the reflective and motivational conscience to make appropriate moral and intellectual decisions for living well or wisely. This latter part is a way for the understanding, attained through conscientiousness, to turn upon itself to streamline its own insights for strengthening and sharpening the very conscientiousness which had produced it in the first place. Wisdom, therefore, is a cognitive activity through which our comprehensive conscience strengthens itself by utilizing its own achievements of knowledge and understanding. It is what might be called reflective or meta-understanding, which leads to strengthening of our epistemic and moral dispositions for the right beliefs and actions.

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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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