In the name of Allah

Ma‘rifat-i Falsafi Vol.5, No.1

A Quarterly Journal of Philosophical Inquiry Fall 2007

A publication by Imām Khomeini Institute for Education and Research

Editor in Chief: Ali Mesbah

Editor: Ghulām-Ri„ā Fayyā„i

Coordinator: Muˆammad Fūlādi

Editorial Board:

Dr. Aˆmad Aˆmadi: Professor, Tehran University

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

Dr. Muˆammad Fanā'i: Assistant 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

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 comparative 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

An Analysis of Knowledge and its Current Challenges

Muḥammad Ḥussainzādeh

The Methodology of Illuminative Philosophy and Its Epistemological Validity

Raḥmat-Allah Riḍā'i

The Methodology of Islamic Philosophy

Rasūl Nāderi and Ḥamīd Khudābakhshyān

Plato's Method and Model; with Special Emphasis on His Timaeus

Hassan ‘Abdi

The Subject Matter of Transcendent Philosophy: Unconditional Existence

Murtaḍā Ṣafdari Niyāk

The Purification of the Soul; an Elaboration and Evaluation of its Role in Transcendent Philosophy

Raḥīm Qurbāni

Foundations of Ethics: Human Nature, Need, and Voluntary Action

Muḥammad Ali Shomāli


An Analysis of Knowledge and its Current Challenges

Muḥammad Ḥussainzādeh 1

Defining, or analyzing, knowledge is among the essential issues dealt with in an epistemological approach, based on analytic philosophy. Most of the philosophers in analytic tradition try to suggest a philosophical, or realistic, definition of knowledge. To do so, they begin with criticizing the traditional definition of knowledge as “True Justified Belief”, and continue with its modification, ending up with a definition that is supposed to be comprehensive. They not only have not come to a consensus, but also their disagreements has widened. On the other hand, there are those who see it inappropriate to analyze knowledge.

The author doubts that a philosophical or realistic definition of knowledge is needed. He even deems it impossible. Instead, he suggests that it is enough to have a conventional definition of knowledge, by which the dispute is resolved. Although some contemporary theoreticians share the idea of denying the possibility of a realistic definition for knowledge, the article tries to suggest a substitute to solve the dispute.

Keywords: Analysis, Knowledge, Propositional Knowledge, Self-evident Concepts, Conventional Definition, Common Terms.

The Methodology of Illuminative Philosophy and Its Epistemological Validity

Raḥmat-Allah Riḍā'i 2

Reliance on intuition and illumination (Ishrāq) is one of the main pillars of the philosophy of Ishrāq. One important question about this method, however, concerns the place of intellect and its relation to illumination. This issue raises questions about the place of the philosophy of Illumination among similar schools.

This article tries to answer these questions through an inquiry into the methodology of Ishrāq, by explaining this method and the situation of intellect in it. The author’s thesis is that intellect and illumination are two ways for discovering truth. However, when we are dealing with analyzing, explaining, and transforming those data into a system of thought, the only acting force is intellect. Since devotion to reasoning and argument is the salient feature of any philosophical school; therefore, Illuminative Philosophy should be regarded methodologically a type of philosophy.

The final part of the article deals with an appraisal of the method of Shaykh Ishrāq. It suggests that intellect and illumination can disagree in some instances, and therefore, one cannot conclude the logic and validity of illuminative intuition through intellectual arguments, as intellect is no sufficient for exploring about the truth in all domains. This suggests the methodological superiority of illuminative philosophy over its rivals as well as ‘irfān.

Keywords: Ishrāq, Illumination, Intuition, Intellect, Philosophy, Reason, Irfān, Mysticism, Epistemological Validity.

The Methodology of Islamic Philosophy

Rasūl Nāderi3 and Ḥamīd Khudābakhshyān4

This article tries to elaborate on the issue of the methodology of Islamic philosophy in the light of the theories of three main currents in Islamic philosophy, namely, peripatetic, illuminative, and transcendental. In the first part, it examines demonstrative method, its premises, and its primary criteria. This section studies the type of demonstration used in philosophy, and concludes the possibility of employing another premise in demonstrations on the basis of analyzing ideas presented by philosophers and logicians.

In the second part, the authors deal with the illuminative method, the idea of different philosophers, and the way they have treated it in their systems. The role of illuminative method plays in Islamic philosophy, and its effects on philosophy in general, are discussed too.

In the third section, the possibility of employing narrative methodology in philosophy and its framework in Islamic philosophy is appraised. The article comes to an end with a set of suggestions for a more sophisticated philosophical system.

Keywords: Methodology, Demonstration, Demonstrative Method, Illuminative Method, Narrative Method, Islamic Philosophy, Peripatetic School, Illuminative School, School of Mullā Ṣadrā.

Plato's Method and Model;

with Special Emphasis on His Timaeus

Hassan ‘Abdi5

Plato has called the content of some of his philosophical works, including his Timaeus, as “ortos mythos” and “eikos logos”. From a methodological standpoint, the question arises as to what he means by these two terms. This article tries to answer this question. Myth shapes the essence of some of Plato’s treatises. Such myths are purified through dialectical dialogues, so he calls it “ortos mythos” (right myth). However, because one can find justifications for the content of such treatises, and in this way to become closer to “logos”, he calls it “eikos logos” (quasi-true discourse). A subtle point in this issue is that in Plato’s view, the relation between these two, not only is not one of opposition, but rather one can say that “mythos” is alongside “logos”. This means that “mythos” is considered to be a way to “logos”.

In understanding Plato’s model, it is taken for granted that for him, “ideas” are the prototypes for explanation, including for explaining how the world has come to existence and how it changes. The only problem remains in superposing explanations with such prototypes. Plato, however, never gave up in this process; rather he encouraged others to try to find the complete and ideal explanation.

Keywords: Plato, Methodology, Timaeus, Eikos Logos, Mythos, Ortos Mythos, Logos, Prototype, Ideas.

The Subject Matter of Transcendent Philosophy:

Unconditional Existence

Murtaḍā Ṣafdari Niyāk 6

Ṣadr al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Ibrāhīm Shīrāzi (Mullā Ṣadrā) in his “Transcendental Philosophy” tries to come closer to ‘irfān (Islamic mysticism). One of the occasions of such a conversion is in the debate over the subject matter for his philosophy. By suggesting “unconditional existent” as the subject matter of transcendent philosophy, he aims a kind of harmony and conversion with theoretical ‘irfān. Of course, each of them approaches the issue with its unique methodology, namely, rational argument in transcendent philosophy, and intuition and heart-illumination in theoretical ‘irfān. The article tries to elaborate on this conversion.

Keywords: Conventions of Existence, Generic Quiddity, Conditioned, Unconditioned, Non-conditioned.

The Purification of the Soul;

an Elaboration and Evaluation of its Role in Transcendent Philosophy

Raḥim Qurbāni 7

The purification of the soul and its relation with knowledge is a question that should be studied from an ontological perspective as well as an epistemological one. This issue has not received proper attention in the tradition of Islamic philosophy, and has not been studied systematically and academically. This article deals with the issue on the basis of the foundations of transcendent philosophy. It begins with explaining the relevant philosophical principles and goes on to depict Mullā Ṣadrā’s view about the role of the purification of the soul on the acquisition, preservation, and effectiveness of knowledge. At the end, it tries to mention and answer some critiques about this viewpoint.

Keywords: Purification of the Soul, Knowledge, Ḥikmat, Rational Understandings, Soul, Perfection.

Foundations of Ethics:

Human Nature, Need, and Voluntary Action

Muḥammad Ali Shomāli 8

A variety of theories in the philosophy of ethics have dealt with the problem of the source of ethics, among them we can refer to the theory based on natural law, the theory based on human nature, the theory based on needs, and the theory based on inter-personal agreements. Some of these theories, such as the latter one, have severe problems and are incapable of explaining ethical experiences. Some others, such as the one based on human nature, faces serious questions, although it seems that one may offer a new version of them that survives all difficulties.

The author in this article suggests a theory that has a lot in common with the second and the third theory. In fact, it tries to combine the positive points of both while answering objections they face. This article explains the essence of “ethical command” and distinguishes it from social customs and conventions. Evaluating the view that considers “loving oneself” the only fundamental motivation, the author tries to explicate the role of other human desires in the formation of ethics and ethical decisions. The influence of different elements on ethical judgment is distinguished from each other, and the procedure of abstraction of ethical concepts is analyzed: comparing the relation between human nature, voluntary actions and attributes, and their positive and negative effects on a human being.

Keywords: Philosophy of Ethics, Human Nature, Human Needs, Customs, Conventions, Ethical Concepts, Relativism, Ethical Ideal.

1 Associate Prof. of Philosophy, Imam Khomeini I. E. R.; Received: 2007.12.1; Accepted: 2008.2.21

2 Ph.D. Student of Philosophy, Imam Khomeini I. E. R.; Received:2007.11.6 Accepted: 2008.1.13

3 M.A. in Philosophy, Bāqir al-Ulūm University.

4 M.A. in Philosophy, Qum University. Received: 2007.10.12 Accepted: 2008.1.18

5 Ph.D. Student, Tehran University; Received: 2007.12.1 Accepted: 2008.2.19

6 Graduate Student of Islamic fiqh, Hawzah; Received: 2007.12.26 Accepted: 2008.2.25

7 M.A. in Islamic Philosophy and Theology, Qum University; Received: 2007.12.1 Accepted: 2008.2.19

8 Assistant Professor, Imam Khomeini I. E. R.; Received: 2007.11.3 Accepted: 2008.2.13