In 1993, Karen Harding, a philosopher wrote a paper, Causality then and now: Al-Ghazali and QM. She remarked:

In both cases, and contrary to common sense, objects are viewed as having no inherent properties and no independent existence. In order for an entity to exist it must be brought into being either by God (al-Ghazali) or by an observer (the Copenhagen interpretation).

This doctrine of al-Ghazali is called Occasionalism. It states that actual entities are continuously created, decreated, and recreated by God.

Whitehead admits a similar description of his events. They are actualized and deactualized, that is created and decreated. He also called these 'occasions'.

The family resemblence between his doctrine and that of al-Ghazali and the name he gave to the moment of a creative, actualising act suggests that he might have been influenced by al-Ghazali.

Was he?

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    The continual creation reminds me of a view of God both creating and sustaining reality. The "continuously created" aspect reminds me of "sustaining" reality although that does not seem to need "decreating" it. Jan 18 '18 at 3:40
  • @Frank Hubeny: I like that idea. It means that there wasn't a special moment of creation - that is at the beginning - but that it happens at all times and everywhere. In a sense, it democratises creation. Jan 18 '18 at 9:32
  • @Frank Hubeny: For Whitehead, who espouses a similar metaphysics, actual change, that is change we can grasp or measure, occurs when what is potential actualises, or is created in an act of creation. But if we there was no decreation, then everything would become actual and no change would occur. So we need decreation or repotentialisation. Jan 18 '18 at 9:35
  • One of my problems with "creation", "de-creation", or "sustaining" is that they assume there exists something unconscious that now exists with properties that we can measure, that is, some real object of creation. But according to the Harding quote these objects have "no inherent properties and no independent existence". What we are measuring is not an object (or particle). Jan 18 '18 at 13:12
  • @Frank Hubeny: Malin says that its only when something is actualised or created that we can measure it. I think the Harding quote is not about actuality but about potentiality, and there, there are no measurements that are possible. I think she might mean that they have 'no inherent properties and no independent existence' because it is the whole and not the part we must take into account. Jan 18 '18 at 13:56

The relationship is that in both cases there was a need to account for how macroscopic physical reality, although apparently very regular and predictable, was not completely a law unto itself.

It sounds like Al-Ghazali wanted to effectively give more power back to God in case it was starting to look like the universe was able to govern itself (and perhaps make miracles problematic).

In the case of QM new scientific phenomena had been observed that contradicted the idea that particles could always be thought of as having precise positions and velocities.

Any similarity in the resulting interpretations of reality is likely to be coincidence. Although it is interesting to speculate about how Al-Ghazali would have reasoned differently about all this if he had known about QM.

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