In the name of Allah

Ma‘rifat-i Falsafi Vol. 8, No. 1

A Quarterly Journal of Philosophical Inquiry Fall 2010


A publication by Imām Khomeini Institute for Education and Research

Editor in Chief: Ali Mesbah Editor: Ri„ā Akbariān Coordinator: Rūhollāh Farīsābādi

Editorial Board:

Dr. Aˆmad Aˆmadi: Professor, Tehran University

Dr. Ridā Akbarīyān: Associate professor, Tarbīyat Mudarris University

Dr. Ghulām-Ri„ā A‘wāni: Professor, Shahid Beheshti University

Dr. Muˆammad Fanā'i: Associate Professor, Imām Khomeini Inst. for Education and Research

Hoj. Ghulām-Ri„ā Fayyā„i: Professor, Imām Khomeini Inst. for Education and Research

Dr. Hussain Ghaffāri: Associate Professor, Tehran University

Hoj. Muhammad Husainzādeh: Associate Prof., Imām Khomeini Inst. for Education and Research

Dr. Muhsin Javādi: Associate Professor, Qum University

Dr. Muˆammad Legenhausen: Associate Professor, Imām Khomeini Inst. for Education and Research

Dr. Muˆammad Sa‘īdi Mehr: Assistant Professor, Tarbīyat Mudarres University


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Ma‘rifat-i Falsafi is a quarterly journal of philosophical inquiry, dedicated to research in philosophy. This journal covers issues concerning the comparison, critique, and analysis of the foundations and ideas of Muslim philosophers, as well as the juxtaposition, scrutiny, and evaluation of theories articulated by Muslim and non-Muslim philosophers. Academically exploring novel and unprecedented issues in comparative philosophy is among the aims of this journal.

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Table of contents

Editor’s Foreword

Mullā Sadra’s Theory of the Gradation of Existence under Debate / Hosein Oshshāqi

A New Interpretation of Allāmah Tabātabā’i’s “Conventionals” (I’tibāryāt) by Comparing his Treatise on Conventionals with Al-Mīzān / Ehsān Torkāshvand and Akbar Mīrsepāh

The Illuminationist Theory of Emanation and its Influences on Mullā Sadra / Monireh Sayed-Maẓhari

Intrinsic Designation under Scrutiny / Mahdi Borhān Yazdi and Mojtabā Meṣbāh

The Gradational Essence of Revelation in the Geometry of the Transcendental Philosophy / Ahmad Beheshti and Mohammad Hassan Ya‘ghūbīyān

The Methodology of Theorization in Humanities; with Reflection on Muslim Thinkers’ Approaches / Hassan Dānā’i Fard and Hossein Bābā’i Mojarrad

A Critical Analysis of Kant’s Idea about the Nature of Truth / Mohammad Ja’fari




Mullā Sadrā’s Theory of the Gradation of Existence under Debate

Hosein Oshshāqi 1

Gradation in existence is one of the pillars of Mullā Sadrā’s Transcendental Philosophy. According to this principle, the essence of existence is a unique and united reality with different levels and stages, in which what makes them different is no different from what is in common between them.

The author in this article tries to show that this theory, despite its privileges over the Peripatetic theory, suffers from weakness in its basic idea as well as shortcomings in its proofs. He discusses six issues that he considers to be weak points in the basic idea of this theory which make it unacceptable.




Keywords: Transcendental Philosophy, Mulla Sadra, Gradation in Existence, The Reality of Existence, Differentiating Elements, Common Elements, Levels of Existence, Principality of Existence.



A New Interpretation of Allāmah Tabātabā’i’s “Conventionals” (I’tibāryāt) by Comparing his Treatise on Conventionals with Al-Mīzān

Ehsān Torkāshvand2

Akbar Mīrsepāh3

Allamah Tabataba’i considers ethical imperatives as conventionals which are human constructs for making an action obligatory. As for ethical evaluative concepts such as good and bad, he has two ideas, suggested in his different works: A) good and bad are conventional concepts conveying the appropriateness of an action with one’s temper or otherwise. Since people’s tempers differ, good and bad also can differ from one person to another. B) Good and bad shows the congruence or incongruence of an action with favorable end.

The authors in this article suggest that the second meaning shows that Allamah considers the concepts of good and bad to be secondary intelligibles, although he has not made it explicit. They think that it is important to draw the line between the two meanings in Allamah; a point which is ignored by others. The authors try to do this by juxtaposing Allamah’s ideas from his treatise on conventionals and those in his Qur’anic exegesis, Al-Mizān to show the difference between his view and that of relativists and agnosticists.

Keywords: Conventionals, Good, Bad, Aught, Imperatives, Ethical Values, Allamah Tabataba’i, Al-Mizan.



The Illuminationist Theory of Emanation and its Influences on

Mullā Sadra

Monireh Sayed-Maẓhari 4

Historians of philosophy, theologians, and many sages have pointed out that one of the objectives of the theory of emanation is to explain the relation between God and the creatures, and the process of the emanation of multitude from unity. From among Muslim philosophers it was Farabi, and then Ibn Sina, who first theorized about this issue. Sohrawardi criticized the peripatetic approach, and came up with a new model of the theory of emanation in which he accepted the core structure of Ibn Sina’s theory while adding new elements and basing it on a different footings. This new plan has influenced Mulla Sadra.

The author in this article tries to show that Mulla Sadra has been influenced by the Illumationist theory of emanation in at least four areas: a) taking objective aspects into consideration in explaining the emanation of multiplicity from unity; b) rejecting the delimitation of intellects in ten; c) accepting latitudinal intellects; d) employing the principle of the possibility of the nobler in explaining the emanation system.

Keywords: Illumationist Philosophy, Mulla Sadra, Emanation, Longitudinal Intellects, Latitudinal Intellects, Principle of the Possibility of the Nobler, The Light of the Lights.



Intrinsic Designation under Scrutiny

Mahdi Borhān Mehrizi5

Mojtabā Meṣbāh6

Muslim epistemologists have suggested three theories about the problem of “designation”. Most of them think of designation as being in actu and “intrinsic” (pertaining to demonstration) to mental forms. But professor Fayyādi believes that designation is “essential” (pertaining to Isagogue) to knowledge by representation. He thinks of the nafs of the knowing subject as the real designator, and of mental forms as the mental existence of the ones which are designated. On the other hand, professor Mesbah believes that the process of designation is an innate process in which human mind relates mental forms to their designated entities. He considers the act of designation in potentia, the actuality of which depends on true affirmation.

In this article, the authors argue that the difference between the three ideas stems from their different analysis of “designation”. So they try to put forward an analysis of designation to criticize the common view as well as that of professor Fayyādi. They also refer to the negligence of these views of the role of the knowing subject’s intention in the process of designation.

Keywords: Contingent Designation, Intrinsic Designation, Common Analysis, Philosophical Analysis, Knowing Subject, Intention, Levels of Knowledge.



The Gradational Essence of Revelation in the Geometry of the Transcendental Philosophy

Ahmad Beheshti 7

Mohammad Hassan Ya‘ghūbīyān 8

Mulla Sadra as a comprehensive thinker, reviews various philosophical, theological, and mystical approaches to the problem of revelation and its essence, and tries to assimilate all the different elements in his predecessors’ interpretations into his own epistemological view in this regard. This is why one encounters three approaches in Sadr al-Muta’allihin’s various works that he works toward their unification and solving their inconsistencies.

The authors in this article try to show that Mullah Sadra connects different approaches with diverse foundations into the geometry of his Transcendental Philosophy in order to argue for the idea that the essence of revelation is an existential fact, rather than a quiddity. As a result, it has a gradational character which begins with the Imperative Qur’an (Qur’an Amri) and ends with the Created Furqān (Furqān Khalqi). Such an understanding of revelation brings with it a special understanding of the Qur’an with an existential flavor. His attention to diverse levels and dimensions of revelation has prevented him from falling prey to reductionism by reducing revelation to one of its features, such as its verbal discourse or rational understanding.

Keywords: Transcendental Philosophy, Revelation, Essence of Vahy, MullaSadra, Gradational Existence of Revelation, The Qur’an.



The Methodology of Theorization in Humanities; with a Reflection on Muslim Thinkers’ Approaches

Hassan Dānā’i Fard9

Hossein Bābā’i Mojarrad10

In the field of the philosophy of science, the process of knowledge development is based on three approaches, i.e. inductive, falsificationist, and paradigmatic. Despite their differences in their ontology, epistemology, and methodology, they all share in their relativistic approach to human understanding and knowledge.

The authors in this article begin with introducing the three aforementioned approaches and their foundations. Then they turn to an Islamic approach towards the development of knowledge. The authors suggest a methodology they call “intermediate ijtihād” in which all four causes (efficient, material, formal, and final causes) are taken into account, and therefore culminate in rational certainty and religious authority. In this approach, the acquaintance with reality is possible through reason and authentic religious narratives, reality is not considered relative, and the basic principles of understanding will not change during time and in different places. It is also based on Divine worldview, and a cooperation of philosophy and science serves as an instrument, compensating for the shortcomings of modern sciences.

Keywords: Relativism, Absolutism, Methodology, Intermediate Ijtihād, Theorizing, Production of Knowledge, Rational Sources, Narrative Sources, Religious Authority, Humanities, Islam.



A Critical Analysis of Kant’s Idea about the Nature of Truth

Mohammad Ja’fari11

Kant’s theory of truth is of great import because of his influence on the developments in the field of theory of knowledge in the last three centuries. He wrote his Critique of Pure Reason to answer the question of the relation between the object and the subject of knowledge.

The correspondence theory was the single official theory about the nature of truth before Kant. That is why both rationalists and empiricists –despite their main differences— shared the idea of subject-object dualism. Barkley was an exception who walked over the boundaries of realism into the realm of idealism. Kant has no firm position in this regard. In his Prolegomena, he accepts noumena-phenomena dualism, while in his Critique of Pure Reason, he does not acknowledge an independent status for phenomena in the mind. However, he insists on the lack of knowledge of noumena and on epistemic priority of subject over object. In this way, Kant does not believe in the correspondence theory of truth, and is considered the founder of the coherence theory of truth. The author in this article tries to shed light of different aspects of Kant’s theory of truth and to criticize its claim as well as Kant’s arguments for it.

Keywords: Correspondence Theory of Truth, Coherence Theory of Truth, Kant, Object, Subject, Realism, Idealism.

1 Assistant Professor, Research Institute for Islamic Culture and Thought: oshshaq@yahoo.com .

Received: 2010/6/1 Accepted: 2010/8/4

2 PhD Student, Imam Khomeini I.E.R.: Torkashvand110@yahoo.com

3Assistant Professor, Imam Khomeini I.E.R. Received: 2010/7/2 Accepted: 2010/10/7

4Assistant Professor, Islamic Azad University in Karaj: msayyidmazhari@yahoo.com

Received: 2010.9.10 Accepted: 2010.10.20

5 M.A. of Philosophy, Imam Khomeini I. E. R.: mehrizi@gmail.com

6 Assistant Professor, Imam Khomeini I. E. R. Received: 2010/2/14; Accepted: 2010/7/3

7 Professor, Azad University, Tehran. Received: 2010/6/9 Accepted: 2010/9/3

8PhD Student of Islamic Philosophy, Azad University, Tehran: mohammadyaghoobian@yahoo.com

9 Associate Professor, Tarbiat Modarres University. Received: 2010/4/23 Accepted: 2010/9/3

10Ph.D Student of State Management, Allamah Tabataba’i University: h.babaee64@gmail.com

11 Assistant Professor, Imam Khomeini I.E.R; majafari125@yahoo.com

Received: 2010/6/2 Accepted: 2010/9/16