Ṣadrā's Synthesis: Knowledge as Experience, Knowledge as Being

Ibrahim Kalin

in Knowledge in Later Islamic Philosophy

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199735242
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199852772 | DOI:
Ṣadrā's Synthesis: Knowledge as Experience, Knowledge as Being

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This chapter focuses on two issues. The first is the question of mystical knowledge and the extent to which such a term applies to Ṣadrā's epistemology. Ṣadrā argues that existence can be known only intuitively and that intuition is not only an epistemic but also a spiritual act of encounter and witnessing. The chapter also discusses Ṣadrā's relation to traditional Sufism within the context of Safavid Shiism and the Akhbāri opposition to Sufism and philosophy. The second issue is the definition of knowledge as finding existence. Ṣadrā establishes a close link between degrees of existence and levels of consciousness. A logical result of this is a doctrine of “ontological vitalism” according to which all things, animate and inanimate, have some degree of consciousness by virtue of the fact they exist. It is within this context that Ṣadrā develops his central thesis that when we interact with the world around us, we interact with the various modalities and degrees of existence.

Keywords: Mullā Ṣadrā; mystical knowledge; existence; Sufism; consciousness; ontological vitalism; philosophy

Chapter.  22202 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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