Published on 10/22/2020

Doha Institute for Graduate Studies (DI) hosted the inaugural lecture of the current academic year 2020-2021 titled: "History and Philosophy: Epistemological issues within a historical context: an attempt to understand and question," delivered by Dr Wajih Kawtharani, Visiting Professor of History at DI.

Dr Abdelwahab El Affendi, Acting President of Doha Institute moderated the online lecture, which was broadcasted on DI YouTube on October 21st, 2020, and attended by Dean of the School of Social Sciences and Humanities (SOSH), Dr Amal Ghazal, faculty members, staff and students.

Kawtharani discussed the opinion that Aristotle relied on historical data in his philosophy, describing him as a philosopher with a historical approach and thinking, and the first historian of philosophy, as some see, referring to the hypotheses of Jules Bartolomé, who believes that many of Aristotle's historical information are derived from the historians " Herodotus and Tucidide, "and wonders about the significance and meaning of these hypothesis.

Dr Wajih highlighted Ibn Khaldoun "real" position towards philosophy. Where Ibn Khaldoun asks the reader of philosophy to have a knowledge about jurisprudence and interpretation, explaining that Ibn Khaldoun, in the late fourteenth century, indicated in his famous Introduction that the science of history deserves to be considered a science of wisdom. In this context, Kawtharani reviewed what Ibn Khaldun intended with wisdom, and his relationship with history and philosophy, whether he really tried to write a history with philosophical thinking in order to prepare it Contemporaries - today - philosopher of history. Dr Wajih believed that Ibn Khaldoun was binary thinking, defining him as a historian/ jurist and not a historian/ philosopher.

Kawtharani referred to what Voltaire wrote in his problematic text, "Let him write history as a philosopher," wondering what Voltaire meant by the philosopher and historian of his time? Did he call for a "philosophy of history" or a style of historical writing required by the Enlightenment? In comparison with the call of Ibn Khaldoun and Voltaire, Dr Wajih pointed out that there is a similarity in the text, but the radical differences remain between historical contexts.

Focusing on the epistemological problems between philosophy and history, Kawtharani discussed the answers of "Michel Foucault" when asked about the nature of his books and how to classify them? Answering that his books are not philosophical works, nor historical studies, but rather philosophical fragments in historical workshops.

Dr Wajih concluded his lecture by questioning how do we understand these problems after the transformations that philosophical knowledge has witnessed on the one hand, and historical knowledge on the other? He explained that there is no doubt that there is a violation of what philosophy was and what history has been.