Hierarchy of epistemic concepts (13 steps)

Let’s start with definition of some important terms. Epistemological questions: “What can I know? How can I distinguish those things I am justified in believing from those things I am not justified in believing? And how can I decide whether I am more justified in believing one thing than in believing another?” Philosophical skeptics: There […]

Avicenna’s proof of God and its corollary

From al-Farabi, Avicenna (Ibn Sina) inherited the Neo-Platonic emanationist scheme of existence. Contrary to the classical Muslim theologians, he rejected creation ex nihilo and argued that cosmos has no beginning but is a natural logical product of the divine One. The super-abundant, pure Good that is the One cannot fail to produce an ordered and […]

Hegel and the Persian

HEGEL, GEORG WILHELM FRIEDRICH, eminent German idealist philosopher (b. Stuttgart, 1770; d. Berlin, 1831). Hegel belongs to the tradition of the German Romantic thinkers who revolutionized German thought and literature, and he depicts his position as the dialectical climax of the intellectual endeavors of civilized humanity. The influence of Iranian civilization is apparent in two […]

David Hume’s critique of causality

Causation The medieval synthesis Thomas Aquinas (1224–74) forged between Christian theology and Aristotle’s science and metaphysics set the terms for the early modern causation debate. Aristotle (384–322 BCE) drew an absolute categorical distinction between scientific knowledge (scientia) and belief (opinio). Scientific knowledge was knowledge of causes and scientific explanation consisted in demonstration—proving the necessary connection […]

Hafez and Goethe

GOETHE, JOHANN WOLFGANG von (1749-1832), the most renowned poet of German literature, was already from his youth deeply interested in the East and in Islam. He planned to write a drama about Moḥammad, as witnessed by the poem Mahomets-Gesang. But it was not until later, during his period of romanticism, that the poet devoted his […]

Descartes: The Mind-Body Problem

Introduction One of the deepest and most lasting legacies of Descartes’ philosophy is his thesis that mind and body are really distinct—a thesis now called “mind-body dualism.” He reaches this conclusion by arguing that the nature of the mind (that is, a thinking, non-extended thing) is completely different from that of the body (that is, […]

Central and Peripheral Vision of Mind

The linear one-at-a-time character of speech and thought is particularly noticeable in all languages using alphabets, representing experience in long strings of letters. It is not easy to say why we must communicate with others (speak) and with ourselves (think) by this one-at-a-time method, life itself does not proceed in this cumbersome, linear fashion, and […]

Introduction of Zen Schools into Japan

Historically, Zen may be regarded as the fulfillment of long traditions of Indian and Chinese culture, though it is actually much more Chinese than Indian, and since the twelfth century, it has rooted itself deeply and most creatively in the culture of Japan. The Rinzai School of Zen was introduced into Japan in 1911 by […]