Quarterly of the History of Philosophy

Volume 46



Zoroastrian Wisdom and the Magi Religion in Ancient Greek and Roman Sources


Hojjatollah Askarizadeh


The impact of Zoroastrian religion and worldview on Greek philosophy, ancient philosophers, and generally on history of philosophy as a fundamental topic regarding the historical development of philosophy has always been of interest to researchers. Ancient thinkers have always spoken of Zoroastrian wisdom and philosophy and connected them to the Magi religion. The present paper examines Zoroastrian philosophy and its origin in the Magi religion based on ancient Greek and Roman sources. Based on such sources, the founder of this school of philosophy is a Zoroastrian who is much older than Zoroaster, the author of Avesta, who lived in the time of Gostāsp. Therefore, if we wish to study Zoroastrian wisdom and philosophy from the viewpoint of ancient Greek and Roman thinkers, we must seek its roots in the Magi religion; a religion that is apparently one of the oldest philosophical schools of ancient times and first appeared in Iran.


Key Terms: Zoroaster, Magi, Wisdom, magic, philosophy



God's Will in Ṭūsī, Mullā Ṣadrā, and 'Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā'ī


Armin Mansouri

 Ali Allah Bedashti


The howness of God's Will is one of the problems that has provoked a lot of discussion in the field of theology. Although all philosophers have accepted God's Will as a Divine Attribute, there are several disagreements in its interpretation. The purpose of this paper is to investigate, compare, and evaluate the views of Khwājah Naṣīr al-Dīn Ṭūsī, Mullā Ṣadrā, and 'Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā'ī in terms of the semantics, origin, and ontology of God's Will. Ṭūsī maintains that will is the same as motive, which is the same as knowledge of the goodness of act, and thus believes in God's essential will as an essential attribute. Mullā Ṣadrā also adds the sameness of love with will to the sameness of the knowledge of goodness of act with act and introduces will as an essential attribute. Moreover, he justifies the Infallible Imam's narrations regarding the sameness of will with act by changing its meaning from having the intention to perform an act to the making and changing of its level from essence to the level of actual existents. However, 'Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā'ī views the identity of free will with the knowledge of the best system as a verbal conflict and a merely different denomination. He disagrees with equating free will with any essential attribute (such as love) other than knowledge. Thus he maintains that free will is not an essential attribute but is, rather, abstracted from the level of act and is one of its attributes. He also introduces the essence of an act that occurs in the outside or the presence of perfect cause for the act as its source of abstraction. It seems that ٬Allāmah's change of ontological view of free will and considering it an actual attribute in justifying rational constraints are more accurate than regarding it as an essential attribute without paying attention to the conceptual difference between free will and knowledge and love, which has been propounded by Ṭūsī and Mullā Ṣadrā.


Key Terms: God's Will, essential, Actual, Khwājah Naṣīr al-Dīn Ṭūsī, Mullā Ṣadrā, 'Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā'ī



A Study of the Sinan System of Definition: An Analysis of Ibn Sīnā's Encounter with Aristotle and Fārābī


Mohammad Hosseinzadeh


The Sinan approach to the theory of definition is an explanation and expanded from of Aristotelian definition. He has accepted Aristotle's definition of objects based on analyzing their quiddity in terms of their genus and differentia and extended it. Moreover, Ibn Sīnā has added some innovative views to it that have not received the attention that they truly deserve, and researchers have not explained and organized them in a consistent and structured from. Following a descriptive-analytic method, this paper explains the theory of Sinan definition within a consistent framework and analyzes the quality of Ibn Sīnā's encounter with the views of Aristotle and Fārābī. Moreover, it refers to Ibn Sīnā's innovations regarding the problem of definition and, by emphasizing its less studied aspects, responds to the following questions: to what extent is the unknown nature of objects' differentia consistent with Ibn Sīnā's theory on the definition and knowledge of objects? Does the theory of Sinan definition merely target quiddative affairs, or does it also extend to non-quiddative affairs? Which mechanism does Ibn Sīnā provide for defining non-quiddative affairs?


Key Terms: Definition, term, real term , nominal term, expansive term, urgent term, Ibn Sīnā



Nature in the Views of Greek and Muslim Philosophers


Davood Mohamadiany


Undoubtedly, nature has always attracted the attention of scientists and philosophers as the loci of the genesis and growth of natural existents and its current. Scientists working in the field of empirical sciences mainly seek the knowledge of natural existents and laws of nature, while philosophers basically deal with the knowledge of nature itself and its structure and try to provide an answer to the questions of what the meaning of nature is, what its structure is, what relationship exists between existents and nature, whether nature is the primary source of the appearance of existents in the world, and whether nature, as matter and form, is a cradle for the appearance of various forms of existents. Greek philosophers and, later, Muslim philosophers have provided various responses to these questions. In ancient Greek philosophy, physis or nature means growth, living, and life. This meaning, which had provided the basis for pre-Socratic philosophy, changed into the "content of the world" and "maker of things" in Stoic philosophy. Plato also defined physis as the origin of the appearance of all things. He used the words technē (art) and archē (origin) to explain the emergence of the world and considered the creation of the world as an artistic innovation. Aristotle, who viewed the world synonymous with the whole nature, believed that nature is the source of motion and change in things; however, Muslim thinkers have provided various ideas about nature. Ikhwān al-Ṣafā maintained that nature is the fifth level of the levels of being and the "active" aspect of the world, with matter as its passive aspect. Ibn Sīnā considered nature and the interactions therein as God's act and believed that nature is the cause of the appearance of corporeal substance by synthesizing matter and form. Unlike the Peripatetics, who believed that archetypes are the same as the nature of things, Suhrawardī rejected archetypes and replaced them with luminary nature. Finally, Mullā Ṣadrā viewed the world of nature identical with renewal and change and maintained that the nature of substance enjoys permanent motion and flow.


Key Terms: Nature, physis, Technē, archē, pre-Socratic philosophers, Stoics, Aristotle, Plato, Muslim philosophers


Middle Platonism: Introduction and Analysis of Religious and Philosophical Theorems


Mahbobeh Hadina


Middle Platonism is one of the most important philosophical-religious schools of the first century BC. While claiming to revive the original Platonic school, it is rooted in the fundamental epistemological and philosophical theorems of that time including the essence of the One, God as Creator, descent of the soul, rational knowledge, and salvation. A study of middle Platonists' works reveals that the philosophical principles of this school are mainly based on a reinterpretation of certain religious-philosophical theorems of Platonic, Stoic, Pythagorean, and gnostic schools. In fact, a clear trace of the concern for explaining the problem of the oneness and transcendence of the essence of Almighty, the quality of the creation of the world, and the presence of evil therein can be witnesses in the works of the philosophers that advocate the mentioned schools. The fundamental principles of middle Platonism are basically religious, and this school is mainly concerned with such topics as the duality of the essence of divinity in two concepts, God as the Maker or Creator of the world, the duality of the spiritual and material origin of Man and the descent of the soul, cosmology and the material structure and fate of the world, eschatology with an emphasis on the theorem of Man's salvation through rational knowledge, and finally the discussion of ethics and the definition of its practical frameworks for attaining rational perfection, which is necessary for salvation. The present paper aims to explain and provide a comparative analysis of the principles and quality of the formation of the philosophical theorems of Middle Platonism as a philosophical-religious school.


Key Terms: Middle Platonism, duality of the essence of divinity, descent of the soul, rational knowledge, resurrection



Explaining the Concepts of Illuminationist Philosophy in Iranian Houses


Takameh Abbasnia Tehrani

 Khosro Sahhaf

 Hassan Rezaei

 Abolghasem Qavam


 Illuminationist philosophy is a discoursive-intuitive and light-centered school of philosophy. It has exercised a significant effect on Iranian art and architecture because of the Iranian-Islamic philosophical concepts that it employs. The present paper examines the effects of Illuminationist views as a common language for the design of spiritual houses in the contemporary era. Hence, following a descriptive-analytic method, the authors initially explain some of the concepts and ideas in Suhrawardī's Illuminationist philosophy and then examine their manifestation in the architecture of Iranian houses.


 Key Terms: Illuminationist philosophy, Iranian house, Architecture, spirituality, Imagination, pattern and symbol, Suhrawardī



A Study of the Methodological Development of Interpretive Philosophy in Islam from Kindī to Mīr Dāmād


Seyed Mohammad Hosain Mirdamadi


This study examines the background of pre-Sadrian Islamic philosophers' method of interpretive or t'awīlī thinking following a descriptive-analytic method. Interpretive philosophy has been defined in different ways; however, its general feature is going beyond the surface meaning of concepts and employing both reason and revelation in interpreting a text. A glance at the historical development of this method demonstrates its general growth, although with some fluctuations, in the Islamic philosophical tradition. This is because the process of t'awīl is rooted in the move from the separation of religion and philosophy towards their graded unity. A method of thinking that leads to unity indicates intellectual growth in case it is based on sound reasoning because the intellect advocates unity while imagination is pluralist. From a historical perspective, it can be said that philosophers' interpretive thoughts have gradually moved away from defending the opposition of religion and philosophy to accepting that their truths are inseparable. In the case of the former standpoint, philosophers sometimes followed the exoteric meanings of religion and sometimes took side with the intellect and philosophy. However, later they unanimously concluded that religion and philosophy share the same truth that has been expressed in different languages. Therefore, the important point is to perceive their methods and languages and explain the related constraints. Hence, we are witnessing a process of monopoly and partiality instead of universality and holism.


Key Terms: Interpretation, philosophy, Religion, methodology