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Alternative Facts, Alternative Sciences: The Development of the Concept in Medieval Islam and Its Historical Consequences

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Dimitri Gutas
Dimitri Gutas


The perception of reality, and of what is real and what false, as unproblematic and self-evident in stable societies hides the fact that reality as perceived by members of a society is socially and politically generated. The generation through political fiat of an alternative reality presented as alternative facts in the Unites States during the Trump administration, and the astounding espousal of that alternative reality by nearly half of the population, is a striking demonstration of this fact. In this paper, the development in
medieval Islam of the concept of alternative facts as alternative scientific reality is traced to the historical developments in the Middle East in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, with an account of their consequences which persist to the present day.

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