Dr. Mesfer Alhayyani's Presentation at the Conference
29 January 2024
Dr. Mesfer Alhayyani's Presentation at the Conference

For those interested, the videos and abstracts of the English sessions of the conference are uploaded:

*Presentation Title: Ibn Tufayl’s Hayy Ibn Yaqzan: The Natural Progression of the Mind and Intellectual Elitism

*Presenter: Mesfer Alhayyani (Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Kuwait University, Kuwait City, Kuwait)

Presentation Video


This paper argues that Hayy Ibn Yaqzan, the allegorical fable by Ibn Tufayl, provides a rational defense for monotheistic religions by emphasizing that the human mind can realize the absolute reality of existence through its dependence on itself without the influence of society, scriptures, or prophets. From this position, Ibn Tufayl engaged in a viral debate among Muslim thinkers – and Andalusian thinkers in general – at that time. That is, does revelation provide the only path to grasp the ultimate truth of our existence? Ibn Tufayl, among others, argued that both revelation and the human mind are paths to realizing the ultimate truth. To do that, Ibn Tufayl argued that human reasoning leads to the same core position of monotheistic religions; the claim that only one God created everything. However, despite Ibn Tufayl's defense of monotheism, his concept of the natural progression of the mind toward truth is problematic. His view implies that only a few people have the natural intellectual capacity to grasp the ultimate truth by depending on their minds, which introduces the problem of intellectual elitism. Finally, this paper offers ways to overcome the challenge Ibn Tufayl’s view faces. In its methodology, this paper relies on a critical examination of primary and secondary sources relevant to Ibn Tufayl’s Hayy Ibn Yaqazan.