A Critical Review of Natural Law in the Practical Philosophy of the Ancient Greece

Mohammad Hosein Tālebi 1

Scholars of the first period of the ancient Greece used to consider natural law as a universal, eternal, and unique law. It was taken to be the most basic source for deciding about the best criteria for human life. Epistemological problems of the Sophists left a lasting effect on the philosophical ideas of the next generations which led to a debate about the credibility of natural law. Greek philosophers who believed in rational judgments as firm basis for human knowledge defended natural law phenomenon, and Stoics, who had a great role in the development of the debate over natural law, interpreted it as “living according to nature”.

The present article has a critical approach to the idea of natural law as depicted in Ancient Greece. The critiques are divided into two categories: a) general critiques which include all ancient Greek philosophers such as: the conceptual ambiguity, uncertainty in the instances, and doubt about the term “natural law” in that period; b) Specific critiques which targets individual thinkers.

Keywords: Natural Law, Critique of Natural Law, Practical Philosophy, Pre-Socrates, Sophists, Ancient Greek Philosophers, Stoics.

Dependent Beauty and Free Beauty in Kant

Rezā Māhūzi 2

Kant suggests reflective judgment (imagination) as the aesthetics taste. When imagination, independent of understanding and reason, abstracts pure forms of objects on the basis of subjective purposiveness, then “free beauty” is produced. On the other hand, when it combines these forms with the concept of the perfection of an object (objective inner purposiveness), then it develops “dependent beauty”. Kant considers such a combination in dependent beauty to be a combination of good and beautiful. This point has caused a great ambiguity in Kant’s idea about beauty, so much so that some interpreters do not deem dependent beauty as a genuine beauty, but a product of reason.

This article argues for the falsity of this interpretation by explaining Kant’s understanding of free and dependent beauty, and his emphasis on the independence of aesthetic judgment.

Keywords: Kant, Imagination, Understanding, Reason, Free Beauty, Dependent Beauty, Purposiveness.

Popper’s Critiques and the Problems of Falsifiability

Rezā sādeqi 3

Falsifiability was one of the influential theories in the field of the philosophy of science in the twentieth century. However, its success is mostly due to its negative role, namely, in criticizing the opponents. The author in this article reviews Popper’s critiques of such theories as positivism and determinism, while reflecting on the consequences of rejecting Darwin’s hypothesis of evolution as scientific. At the end, the article concludes that falsifiability enjoys no acceptable success on the positive side, and is unable to correctly explain the role of observation in science and its relation to theory.

Keywords: Falsifiability, Positivism, Induction, Proximity to Truth, Realism, Popper, Determinism, Observation, Theory.

History of Knowledge by Presence in the Tradition of Islamic Philosophy

Mohammad Sarbakhshi4

The problem of “knowledge by presence” is a multidimensional issue, one of which concerns its historical background and searching for the ideas of the preceding philosophers in this regard. The main questions that this article wants to answer are: is this issue a new idea in Islamic philosophy or does it have a history, and if it has a history, what is the role of the preceding philosophers in this regard?

The author in this article has pursued this objective through reviewing and analyzing main works of some of the prominent Muslim philosophers. Evidently, his interpretation of them rests on the new findings in the Islamic philosophy. The conclusion is: Muslim philosophers, from the outset, have distinguished knowledge by presence from representational knowledge on the basis of their distinctive features, though under different rubrics. Another finding is that philosophers, at least in some instances, have equated “ta’aqqul” (reasoning) with knowledge by presence.

Keywords: Mulla Sadra, Knowledge by Presence, Knowledge, Presence, Reasoning, Farabi, Ibn Sina, Shaykh Ishraq, Islamic Philosophy.

Ontological and Epistemological Explanations of Common Sense in the Islamic Philosophy

Ahmad Beheshti 5

Mohammad Nejati 6

In the Islamic philosophy, common sense is conceived as a cognitive faculty that perceives sensual, conventional, and intuitive concepts. This article deals with the issue of common sense ontologically and epistemologically.

Muslim philosophers, since Ibn Sina, have adopted an ontologically reductionist approach to common sense by suggesting the unity of nafs and by reducing its faculties to mere concepts and names. In this article, common sense is epistemologically investigated. The question of whether common sense provides knowledge by presence or be presentation is examined first, and then Ibn Sina’s idea is explained with regard to the issue of correspondence. At the end, the authors study the problem of substantial motion in Ibn Sina to answer a challenge to his theory concerning lack of any pivot for absolute knowledge. The conclusion is some sort of epistemology, called gradational epistemology.

Keywords: Common Sense, Conception, Perception, Reductionism, Substantial Motion, Gradational Epistemology.

Movement and Time according to the Foundations of Hikmat Muta‘āliyah

Ahmad Sa‘īdi 7

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, Mulla Sadra, Gradational Existence of Revelation, The Qur’an.

The World of Intellects in Ibn Sinā and Shaykh Ishrāq

Majīd Ahsan 8

Yadullāh Yazdānpanāh 9

Some people think that Surhavardi has done nothing in philosophy but changing technical terms; otherwise, his philosophy is not different from that of peripatetic. The authors in this article go through Shaykh Ishrāq’s ideas about the world of intellects and compare them with those of Ibn Sinā in order to establish the claim that Suhravardi, despite the fact that he benefits from a peripatetic context, and was one of its adherents at the outset, takes a distance from them in the process of his philosophical development.

On the basis of his philosophical principles, Shaykh Ishrāq establishes some levels of being such as the world of horizontal intellects. Moreover, those elements common to his philosophy and that of peripatetics find new interpretation in his homogeneous ontological system. According to the authors, although Suhravardi’s theory suffers from some shortcomings, his analysis seems more accurate in general.

Keywords:Ibn Sina, Shaykh Ishraq, Suhravardi, World of Intellects, Horizontal Intellects, Longitudinal Intellects, Levels of Being.

1 Assistant Professor, Research Institute of Howzah and University: mhtalebi@rihu.ac.ir

Received: 2011/1/1 Accepted: 2011/2/28

2 Assistant Professor, Shahid Chamran University, Ahwaz: r.mahoozi@scu.ac.ir

Received: 2010/8/3 Accepted: 2010/11/24

3Assistant Professor, Isfahan University: rezasadeqi@gmail.com

Received: 2010/7/6; Accepted: 2010/12/1

4 Assistant Professor, Imam Khomeini I.E.R.: sarbakhshi@yahoo.com .

Received: 2010/10/3 Accepted: 2010/12/20

5Professor, Azad Islamic University, Received: 2010/6/2 Accepted: 2011/1/1

6 PhD Student of Philosophy and Theology, Azad Islamic University: m.nejati@iauba.ac.ir

7 PhD Student of Philosophy, Imam Khomeini I.E.R.: ahmadsaeidi67@yahoo.com

Received: 2010/7/10 Accepted: 2010/12/20

8 Ph.D Student, Baqir-al-Ulum University: ahsan.majid62@gmail.com

9 Seminary Professor, Qum Seminary, Received: 2010.11.3 Accepted: 2010.12.20

In the name of Allah

Ma‘rifat-i Falsafi Vol. 8, No. 2

A Quarterly Journal of Philosophical Inquiry Winter 2011

Table of Contents

Editor’s Foreword

The World of Intellects in Ibn Sinā and Shaykh Ishrāq / Majīd Ahsan and Yadullāh Yazdānpanāh

Movement and Time according to the Foundations of Hikmat Muta’āliyah / Ahmad Sa’īdi

Ontological and Epistemological Explanations of Common Sense in the Islamic Philosophy / Ahmad Beheshti and Mohammad Nejati

History of Knowledge by Presence in the Tradition of Islamic Philosophy / Mohammad Sarbakhshi

Popper’s Critiques and the Problems of Falsifiability / Rezā Sādeqi

Dependent Beauty and Free Beauty in Kant / Rezā Māhūzi

A Critical Review of Natural Law in the Practical Philosophy of the Ancient Greece / Mohammad Hosein Tālebi


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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Editor: Ri„ā Akbariān

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Dr. Muhsin Javādi: Associate Professor, Qum University

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

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