Richard Rorty believes that philosophy in the West is the result of a conflict
between religion and science. In fact, philosophy seeks to clarify the border
between religion and science, so neither of them would be able to overstep its explanatory
or predictive potentialities. He remarks that we do not have such a thing as
philosophy in the East. This paper intends to ask two questions: what is the
nature of the comparable conflict in an Eastern country, Iran, and what are its
effects on aesthetic studies? I will draw on the idea of the conflict between
theology and mysticism. The main difference between these two sides is the
methods each uses to achieve the truth: literal and symbolic interpretation.
This conflict happens inside religion and not between religion and science. Consequently,
all aspects of society would assemble under the influence of a single paradigm,
religion, that dominates all other aspects, including philosophy and science and
their practitioners. Nevertheless, with the introduction of modern science and
philosophy, and also the historical exhaustion of mysticism, there is a new
type of conflict. Now, religion finds itself jointly in conflict with both modern philosophy and science.
What is at the center of this conflict is aesthetics.
aesthetics, conflict, mysticism, philosophy, religion, theology, science
Believing both in a benevolent creator and in the results of modern science
might seem to be intellectually irresponsible to some well-educated people who
study philosophical texts of the past one hundred years or so. In fact, neither
religion nor science has the ability to fully explain or predict the world we live
in. Richard Rorty, in a lecture on “The Compatibility of Religion and Science,”
examines the ideas of James and Dewey on “intellectual irresponsibility.”
It seems quite justifiable for a philosopher like Rorty to talk about the
compatibility of religion and science because through examining this
relationship he can get closer to a better definition of the border between
these systems in a democratic society.
Consequently, neither of them can make promises he is snot able to fulfill.
Rorty briefly clarifies the boundaries of science and religion and the
times they may overstep these boundaries. In fact, science and religion are
competing paradigms for explaining the world. He asserts, “Although there are
alternative descriptions of things, descriptions useful for different purposes;
none of these get close to the way things really are.” He finds such a
description at the heart of the functional description in the pragmatism of
James and Dewey. From a pragmatic viewpoint, we may not find any description of
things thoroughly detachable from our needs. Rorty finds Nietzsche, Heidegger
and Derrida supporting a conception of truth that is against the correspondence
theory of truth that regards truth independent of our needs. For the sake of
argument, he believes that there is no definite way to test the correspondence
between our conception of reality and the way things are actually in themselves.
Rorty’s lecture mainly centers on the rejection of the idea put forth by
some scholars who consider religious people as intellectually irresponsible. He
claims that there are some people who do not feel any tension when they are
asked to present a justification for their life while their life seems to be
smooth and happy. Therefore, philosophy or philosophical reading and thinking
are not an urgent need for everybody, and we cannot condemn such people for not taking intellectuality as
seriously as some others do.
As we know, there are different approaches to the relationship between
science and religion, from complete convergence to absolute divergence.,
The proponents of each side seemed to be more inflammatory earlier, for example
in the seventeenth century, and more peaceful recently, in the postmodern era.
Now scholars talk about a constructive approach or integrative approach or they
try to find ways that religious and scientific discourse can add to each other.,
For example, McGhee Orme-Johnson asserts, “Bruno Latour offers an
argument for what constitutes the purposes of religion and science, and argues
that because of these purposes religion and science do not have a connection.
Stephen Jay Gould says that while religion and science are inseparable, there
is no convergence between the two. I have suggested ways to understand their
arguments and still allow for a converging connection between religion and
The contradiction between scientific and religious ideas, as Rorty claims,
might not be necessary to resolve. These
ideas are two different ways of explaining the world; however, one may seem to
be crude and simplified, that is,
religion, and the other refined and precise.
For Rorty, since the beginning of modern science, religious beliefs and
scientific beliefs serve different purposes, the former to predict and control things in space and
time and the latter to give our life a kind of purpose. Religion may overstep
its boundaries by trying to have a predictive function and science may overstep
when it tries to convince us not to believe in God.
At the end of his
lecture, Rorty draws some conclusions that perhaps could add more weight to the
purpose of this paper. Rorty believes that philosophy had a mediating function
between science and religion in the Western culture. There has been a conflict
between religion and science since the Renaissance, and philosophy was
responsible for resolving this conflict. He says, “We developed this thing
called philosophy as an academic specialty precisely because we are in a
civilization with a conflict between science and religion and we invented this
third discipline to be the mediator.” He claims that in Eastern civilizations
there has not been such a conflict between religion and science, so we don’t
have a discipline called philosophy.
As far as this idea
is related to my home country, Iran, I can agree with Rorty that there was not
such a conflict in Persian culture between religion and science. Most
scientists or thinkers were primarily religious, and we did not nearly have any
major secular scientist or someone like Galileo.
Here in this paper I would like to ask two questions. First, I
would like to find out if, as Rorty believes, there was not such a conflict
between religion and science in Iran, then what kind of possible conflict did
we have instead? Secondly, how has this
conflict affected aesthetics and related
Regarding the first
question, a brief historical look at Iran’s philosophy is helpful. Iran’s
history is conventionally divided into two eras, before the Muslim conquest of
Iran (651) and after that. The most prominent philosopher of the first era was
Zarathustra, who is mainly considered a prophet rather than a philosopher.
However, in the second era, Avicenna was the most significant Islamic
philosophy was the result of the first translations of Aristotelian philosophy.
Early Islamic philosophy starts with two independent lines. The first line was
al-Kindi (801-873), Rhazes (854-925) and their followers, who were closer to
Neo-Platonism, and the second line was the Aristotelians of Baghdad, like
al-Farabi (872-951). These two lines merged in the philosophical and scientific
investigations of Avicenna (980-1037). He was the first philosopher whose
philosophical writings had internal consistency, a system of independent parts
based on the syllogistic logic of Aristotle. His philosophy marked the end of
ancient and the beginning of scholastic philosophy. Avicenna’s thoughts were
dominant in Islamic philosophy afterwards.
Among Islamic philosophers, we may find a very few who had
some nonconventional ideas, like al-Razi. “There were even thinkers who seem to
have been influenced by Greek skepticism, which they turned largely against
religion, and Ibn ar-Rawandi and Muhammad ibn Zakariyya’ al-Razi presented a thoroughgoing critique
of many of the leading supernatural ideas of Islam.”
Their critique was partial, and they always remained devoted to the religion
but asked a few different questions. For example, al-Razi asked, “If God is the
creator of the world, why hadn’t he created the world before he created the
may say that the dominance of Avicenna on Islamic philosophy is comparable with
Descartes’ influence in the West. Descartes, contemporary with Galileo, was
more of a scientist than a philosopher. He intended to reach a kind of
certainty in philosophy that we could find in mathematics. Avicenna, on the
other hand, was a religious person who intended to justify Islamic theology
with rational philosophy. He tried to prove the existence of the soul and God
with some strong logical reasons. Both Avicenna and Descartes proved the
existence of God, mainly under the influence of Aristotelian metaphysics. But
the difference I would like to stress is the most essential and inherent one in
their approaches to philosophy. The difference is in the point of intellectual
departure, the stand each of them takes to start his philosophizing. The one
who only believes in God and not much in religion starts with doubt, and the
one with faith to God and religion, Avicenna, starts with a kind of confidence
that can usually be found in religious people.
Avicenna, there seems to be a kind of confidence that is derived from his
belief or faith in God, a benevolent creator or, as he philosophically described
it, as a “necessary existent” in comparison with human existence, which is
contingent. We may claim that such a faith, or strong dependence or devotion,
is not rooted in philosophical investigations, for certain, as Aristotle
himself believed in the “necessary source of movement who is unmoved;
everlasting being engaged in never-ending contemplation.” Aristotle’s version
of God seems to be more acceptable for a philosopher or even a scientist in
Avicenna had made himself exceptionally familiar with Aristotle; he was also a
very competent scientist and, at the same time, a very devoted Muslim. We can
clearly see that while he is rather meticulous about propositions in his
exegesis on Aristotle’s metaphysics, he is rather easy-going concerning
religious ideas and dependence on metaphysical realms. We might be inclined to
ask if Avicenna was intellectually irresponsible? This question sounds quite
ridiculous, at least to those who are familiar with his philosophical and
scientific texts. So we may think that there are two possible suppositions
here. The first one is that a religious person, aside from his philosophical
knowledge and investigations, would at least have some unreasonable and
unjustifiable thoughts. The second supposition is that religion gives us a kind
of certainty and devotion we cannot find either in philosophy or science, since
Avicenna was both a competent scientist and a fervent philosopher.
would go with the second supposition, as I think Rorty would. It seems that
religion has a prominent feature that always comes first, that is, a religious
person always suppresses other intellectual investigations and occupations in
favor of a religious set of ideas, and it appears that we cannot call it an
intellectual irresponsibility since we can see the same approach both in
ordinary people and in some philosophers (and scientists).
feature of religion, the suppression of conflicting ideas, gives rise to a kind
of conflict. In the Western tradition, religion is in conflict with an exterior
realm of science, and philosophy works as a mediator between the two sides. But
it seems that in the Eastern tradition, the conflict happens inside the realm
of religion; there is an intrinsic conflict between two different interpretations
of religion, namely theology and mysticism. The first believes in the literal
exoteric interpretation of religious propositions, and the latter in the
symbolic esoteric interpretation of those propositions.
This conflict is partially different
from what Bertolacci finds. He believes that, “Outside the narrower
scope of philosophy and its history, it is interesting to note how the
introduction of a foreign pagan discipline, like metaphysics, into a
monotheistic social context, like the Islamic one, determines either the
accordance or the antagonism between philosophical theology and revealed
theology, or, in other words, between the quintessence of Falsafa, on the
one hand, and the speculation of Kalām, on the other. The study of the
ways in which this confrontation took place in the Islamic culture of the
Middle Ages may shed light on the contemporary debate on the relationship
between reason and faith and contribute to the promotion of dialogue among
Bertolacci understands the conflict between reason
and faith, in other words, between a field that tries to reasonably justify
religious propositions (Kalām) and a field that tries to
practice reason and logic apart from religious preconceptions (philosophy).
Both fields are Islamic; however, they both include a great deal of faith and
reason and we can also find mystic inclinations in both groups. So it seems
that the difference here between philosophical theology and revealed theology,
as Bertolacci understands it, is categorical and linguistic. The conflict
between faith and reason is more of a Western conflict than an Islamic one.
Therefore, the conflict in Persian culture is, as this paper
claims, a methodological difference between mysticism and theology. While the
former sets up a spiritual odyssey to find the truth, the latter uses logic to
reach it. Both theologians and philosophers may have mystic attitudes and may
even shift from theology to mysticism. Despite this, the
difference between them remains as one of the most prevailing cultural features,
that there are some people who care about the surface side of religion and
those who intend to find the core meaning.
Persian literature comprehensively elaborates on the conflict between these two
sides. Those who are religious try to
act as closely as possible to theological findings, and those who believe
religion is only a way to achieve a higher personal truth, the truth that all
existents are just One (the idea of Unity of Existence). We may claim that this
conflict is the main theme of classical Persian literature.
nature of this conflict is quite different from the one we find in Western
culture. This conflict is not between two competing paradigms, but is within a single,
suppressing system that emphasizes purity, faith, and acceptance of truth on
both sides. The result is
the integration of all aspects of life, including political, social, personal,
and scientific realms. Consequently, the tolerance of different ideas and
difficult or nearly impossible and would lead to accusations of heresy.
the introduction of Western or modern perspectives in philosophy and science, a
competing paradigm arises. Mysticism, which was an old and difficult practice that
was exhausted over time by the struggle against the suppressing and
overwhelming power of theology, gave its place to newer and stronger realms,
that is, modern philosophy and science.
in the modern period we came to the same conflict as in the West but with a
considerable difference. Traditionally in Iran, philosophy and science were
part of a bigger paradigm of religion, and distinguishing between the two did
not seem practical. Presently, postmodern interpretations and dialogues can be
used by the religious paradigm to widen its dominance, and to present pluralistic
and pragmatic interpretations of its existence with the interest of keeping its
dominance. Thus, from one side, religion emphasizes its dominance through conventional
means like theology and a weakened, controlled version of mysticism, and from
the other side, it uses the potentialities of newer interpretations of science
and philosophy while being fully aware of their inefficiencies to empower its
dominance. Here stands aesthetics: a representative of paradigms of modern
science and philosophy.
3. Aesthetics and mysticism
is the field that brings up the nature of the conflict discussed above. Since
in Islamic teachings making pictures and statues is unwelcome, academics who
intend to study aesthetics have to find the roots of aesthetics in mysticism,
in which there exists various discussions of beauty. The kind of beauty we can
find in mysticism, however, is an ontological one that is the result of the
creation of God. Conventionally, it is said that God was a hidden treasure that
wanted to be known. As a result, He created the world to be understood and
appreciated. So the job of humans is the appreciation of that beauty. This
appreciation is the same as falling in love with God. So beauty and love are at
the beginning of the creation of the world. Hafez says:
When beamed Thy
beauty on creation’s morn,
The world was set on
fire by love new-born.
Thy cheek shone
bright, yet angels’ hearts were cold:
Then flashed it fire,
and turned to dam’s mould
The lamp of Reason
from this flame had burned,
jealousy the world o’erturned
in Islamic philosophy is important, since “Many of the problems of religion versus philosophy arose in the
area of aesthetics.”
The reason aesthetics is more problematic for Islamic philosophy is that it is
a new and subjective field of study. As we know, aesthetics found its present
connotation in the eighteenth century, with the definition of Baumgarten. After
the eighteenth century, aesthetics regarded fine art as an independent field of
philosophy. Before the introduction of aesthetics to Islamic dialogues, Islamic
philosophy was occupied with poetry and saw it as a logical form. “One of the
interesting aspects of Islamic philosophy is that it treated poetry as a
logical form, albeit of a very low demonstrative value, along the continuum of
logical forms which lie behind all our language and practices.”
Islamic academics who intended to study the aesthetic aspects of their cultural
heritage needed to have more than poetry, so they had to look for a broader
perspective to study. Islamic theology rejects the idea of image-making or
other kinds of art for different reasons. Therefore, mysticism appeared to
match the goals of the academic field of aesthetics. Mysticism is the field in
which scholars can find long discussions about love, beauty, creation, and
truth. These terms are very similar to those we find in modern Western
aesthetics. Accordingly, mysticism is the field that can be used for aesthetic
studies. However, beauty in Western aesthetics is related to humanity or nature
but, in Islamic mysticism, beauty is an ontological and holy idea. The meaning
of fine art, therefore, is not reachable in the realm of Islamic aesthetics.
There are few books
on Islamic Aesthetics dealing with the conflict presented here. Gonzalez, in a
book called, Beauty and Islam, Aesthetics
in Islamic Art and Architecture, attempts to theorize a formulation showing
the presence of aesthetic thought and tradition in Islam. He uses the term
“aesthetic phenomenology” to show how Islamic art and beauty can be justified.
He asserts, “Aesthetics, and particularly aesthetic phenomenology, forms a
specific and new field, which is still not taken into account in the realm of
Islamic studies, although it is fully integrated into contemporary analytical
works on art and art theory."
He finds the same conflict presented in
this paper, the fact that phenomenology is a Western philosophical tradition
that sounds inappropriate for Islamic cultural order. But he believes we
shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that aesthetics did not properly exist in
Islam. Instead, he refers to a book written by Vilchez that outlines the
history of aesthetics in classical Arabic thought. But Gonzales himself
confirms that this book, in spite of its name, has a historical, sociological,
and descriptive point of view, and scholars should look for some aesthetic
foundations. He states, “Very few scholars take the initiative to use
aesthetics as theory and method in order to understand the conceptualization
and the forms of works of art.”
Traditionally it is
believed that “religious knowledge is unquestionably the highest form of
Such a presupposition leads to the idea of Islamic
science, which seems to be independent from Aristotelian methodology. Islamic
scholars also talk about shifting from Western human sciences to an Islamic one,
the need for reforming and conceptualizing the human sciences from Islamic
perspectives, and the need for Islamic grounds for human sciences. What
actually happens, however, is some historical
investigations that find diverse quotes from different Islamic figures and
texts about different issues without any integrative approach or theory.
One example is
interpreting Persian miniatures that seem confusing. The confusion lies in the
fact that most Persian miniatures follow the same conventions, such as no
tendency to imitate nature, two dimensional flat scenes without perspective,
decorated background, extension of light all over the scene, and unreal colors.
There are very few aesthetically
idiosyncratic paintings whose painter has put his or her fingerprint on the
Persian painting was
an inseparable part of book decoration, a major art in Iran. A group of artists
would get together under the supervision
of a patron, usually a king or a member of royal family, to design, write
(calligraphy), bind, and decorate a literary text. Painting was just one of the
processes of making this work of art. Little by little, these arts or skills
separated from each other until each stood on its own traditions and the conventions
that influence them to the present day.
It seems that any
study of Persian miniatures has to consider that, first, Persian painting was
an integrated part of making beautiful books, it was not an independent art,
and second, while Persian painting slowly became independent, it was not fully
to the time of Qajar (1784-1925) and when it did become independent, the
specific rules of creating and interpreting this art was never clearly
The most popular
theory for interpreting Persian painting is a mystic theory that considers
Persian paintings as representation of the Other World. Nasr believes that the
‘non-three-dimensional’ character of Persian miniature is “a recapitulation of
space of another world and concerns another mode of consciousness.”
He views European perception of perspective during the Renaissance as a kind of
betrayal of natural perspective. In this theory, all pictorial elements of
Persian paintings are the symbol of the “imaginal world” or alam al-khial.
As a matter of fact, alam
al-khial is a metanarrative that is highly inclusive in the way that it can
interpret any pictorial element of Persian miniatures with a fixed, simplified
viewpoint. In this approach, we can simply interpret elements like space, time,
movement, color, and form as symbols of a secret language referring to some
metaphysical ideas. However, this approach does not to have enough explanatory
potentiality to describe and interpret Persian painting.
Therefore we may say
that, while Persian paintings represent real figures, the underlying reasons
and justifications have remained unclear. These paintings have their roots in
Chinese paintings and old Iranian illustrations (Mani), that narrated classical
Persian stories under the influence of Islamic culture. As different traditions
have mixed together and evolved during a long history, one cannot find any aesthetic
theory underlying Persian paintings.
4. Possible approaches to aesthetics in Iran
main options remain for an academic scholar of aesthetics in Iran. The first
and most popular approach is working on different aspects of Islamic cultural
heritage and imposing on them Western aesthetic classifications and discussions
to make them capable of being the subject of scientific study. This approach is
mostly affected by
historicism, and it (un)intentionally strengthens the political power relations
and cultural conventions. Also, academic scholars who use this approach will
win most of the budgets allocated to universities, and their research results
enjoy greater attention. In this approach, the incompatibility of method,
approach, and the subject of study is ignored, making the result semi-scientific. For example, they study subjects such as mosques’ arabesque
and calligraphy with the principles of Western aesthetics in a scientific way. However,
the raison d’etre of these handcrafts
does not match any Western theoretical framework. Islam has encouraged arabesque
and calligraphy mainly because they do not involve any pictures.
main reason for their dominance in Islamic tradition is first, ideological, and
then, political, not by the free will of artists. People who made them had not considered
themselves as independent subjects who create beautiful objects but were
thinking about making the mosque, or “house of God,” as beautiful as possible
based on the teachings and norms of the tradition. Imposing any Western theoretical
framework on studying these handcrafts ignores the main reason for their
formation. Most importantly, they are pure forms without any content and can
only be interpreted symbolically.
second approach is discussing and studying modern Western aesthetics. The
problem with this is that such discussions mainly happened in the Western
culture, and adopting them to domestic perspectives and cultural situations
mostly results in superficial adaptations of the original discussions. The outcome
will, most probably, not be acceptable either within the country or outside of
the country within the Western academic world. Aesthetics scholars with such an
approach will remain suspended between the two incompatible worlds of West and
East. Such academics will remain marginal in comparison with the central world
of Western intellectual culture, and regarded as nonconventional inside the
summarize the condition, we may say that the tension of the second group is
mainly the result of the kind of conflict we had between the Sufists and theologians. This historical conflict resulted, as can be clearly seen from the
political and social situation of the society in the exhaustion of the Sufists’
perspective. This means that the literal interpretation of religion managed to
suppress the symbolic interpretation of it. But with the introduction of modern
science and philosophy, religion has found new rivals.
the meantime, philosophy has become rather secular, linguistic, analytic,
pragmatic, and pluralistic. In the past, philosophy could help religion most when
religion was in need of logical justifications. But now philosophy remains far
from any hardline justifications and keeps its distance from both religion and
science. Philosophy still attempts to discuss science and religion but does not
try to justify them in any way. So now, for religion in Eastern culture, both
philosophy and science are rivals and religion has to fight on two fronts,
modern philosophy and modern science.
oddly enough, we can clearly see that religion benefits most from the critiques
that both science and philosophy make of themselves. Religion has the
capability of using all the improvements and influence of science or philosophy.
Every improvement can be regarded as getting closer to the truth that religion
claims, and every philosophical or scientific assertion shows the absurdity and
incapability of superficial earthly human knowledge in comparison to spiritual
we know, in the mid-eighteenth century the academic field of aesthetics
developed as a distinct area of philosophy. Andrew Bowie truly asserts, “The
often hyperbolic importance attributed to art toward the end of the eighteenth
century evidently has its roots in the decline of theology and the
disintegration of theologically legitimated social orders.”
Self-consciousness is an important feature that can be related to the autonomy
of aesthetics. Self-consciousness replaces the reliance on God, and beauty
replaces the idea of divinity. Such modifications in Western intellectual
culture led, in a corollary fashion, to the academic field of aesthetics.
conflict between religion and science, which was mediated by philosophy,
enhances these modifications. Some may find these modifications as
improvements and some may disagree. However, this is a controversial question
for Eastern academics that sometimes reaches the level of obsession. The
discussions related to the definition of modernity and post-modernity are
seriously followed in Eastern intellectual cultures. Scholars are eager to find
whether these modifications were actual improvements or not, or if they follow
the same path.
formulation of the Western conflict might seem to be an oversimplification of a
larger and more sophisticated problem. But all in all, it is helpful and
enlightening. In an Eastern Muslim country like Iran, theology won over Sufism.
The conflict was ongoing for about five centuries, since the Safavid Empire.
Sufism was suppressed by its rival, which had more political and social power.
As universities and academic fields of science were introduced to the country,
new rivals for religion seemed to appear: philosophy and science.
Interestingly, all these rivals managed to coexist at the cost of
some modifications on all sides. Religion tried to look more scientific,
logical, and up-to-date, while philosophy tried to look supportive of the basic
ideas of religion, and science tried to find justifications for religious
habits and actions.
academic researcher in the field of aesthetics who intends to carry out his or
her research free from social, cultural, and political norms or conventions
will face a dilemma between Western and Eastern perspectives that seem to be
different and even contradictory in their most basic approaches and
methodology. However, they may share the same terminology.
The first step in solving any aporia is formulating the
problem. The conflict between theology and mysticism, as seen here, is the
first step to moving forward. In religious contexts, the problem is typically formulated
based on metaphysical beliefs and ideas, and this sometimes leads to more
confusion and misunderstanding of the problem. This paper was a struggle to
provide the basis for further dependable formulations of this aporia.
Majid Heidari has a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Art and is a professor at Ferdows Institute of Higher Education, Iran. Dr. Heidari writes articles in English on aesthetics
and narrative. He also writes novels in
the Persian language.
Published on September 7, 2016.
 Hossein S. Nasr, Sprituality and
Science, the Essential Sophia (World Wisdom Inc., 2006).
 James Proctor, Science, Religion, and the Human
Experience (Oxford: OXford University Press, 2005).
 The Oxford Handbook of Religion and science, ed. Philip Clayton (Oxford
University Press, 2006).
 McGhee More Johnson, Finding Connections Between Religion
and Science (MQP in Religion, 2015).
 The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, ed. Robert Audi, Robert (Cambridge University
Press, 1995, 1999), p. 445,
 Oliver Leaman, "Islamic Philosophy," The
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. E. Craig (2015), pp. 13-16.
following quotes from these two thinkers, I suppose, have never been compared
to each other.
Avicenn (980-1037) starts his book, The Metaphysics of Healing, as
“We shall indulge whatever the truth itself
reveals of its form, giving evidence against the one who disagrees by means of
what [the truth] shows and holds back of itself. That our time be not wasted
and bound up by repudiating and sufficiently opposing every school of thought
….We shall endeavor, as far as possible, to exhibit the truth arrived at by our
predecessors and to excuse what we think they have overlooked unintentionally.
….. God has spared us all this [trouble] and has, in fact, assigned it to
people who have exerted their utmost effort in achieving it and interpreting
their books …. Part of what the measure of our search has yielded, despite the
short space of time we spent therein, is given in the books that we have
written and called collectively The Healing. God is the source of our support
and strength, and in Him we place our trust. From here we start our exposition.” Avicenna, The Metaphysics of Healing,
Translated by Jon McGinnis (Brigham Young University Press, 2009).
Descartes (1596-1650) starts his book, Meditations on Philosophy, with
sentences like the following:
“I am here quite alone, and at last I will
devote myself, sincerely and without holding back, to demolishing my opinions.
I can do this without showing that all my beliefs are false, which is probably
more than I could ever manage. My reason tells me that as well as withholding
assent from propositions that are obviously false, I should also withhold it
from ones that are not completely certain and indubitable. So all I need, for
the purpose of rejecting all my opinions, is to find in each of them at least
some reasons for doubt. I can do this without going through them one by one,
which would take forever: once the foundations of a building have been
undermined, the rest collapses of its own accord; so I will go straight for the
basic principles on which all my former beliefs rested.” Rene Descartes, Meditations on First
Philosophy, translated by Jonathan Bennette (2010-2015).
 Amos Bertolacci, "Arabic and Islamic Metaphysics," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward N. Zalta (SEP, 2015), p. 444.
 There are numerous
historical famous examples of theologians who shift into Mysticism like Molavi
 Toby E. Huff asserts, “Inevitably conflict would arise between the
philosophical and metaphysical presuppositions of Hellenic culture and those of
Islam. On the philosophical level, there would be a major intellectual conflict
over the idea of natural causation…” in The Rise of Early Modern Science (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1993), p. 28.
 Oliver Leaman, "Islamic Philosophy," The
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. E. Craig (2015), pp. 13-16.
 Valeria Gonzalez, Beauty and Islam (London: I.B. Tauris/Institute of Israili Studies, 2001), pp. 1-5.
 Toby E. Huff, The Rise of Early Modern Science (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1993), p. 28.
 Robert Hillenbrand, Persian Painting (London, New
York: University of Cambridge, 2000).
 Hossein S. Nasr, "The World of
Imagination and the Concept of Space in the Persian Painting," Islamic
Quarterly (1968), 134-139.
 Andrew Bowei, Aesthetics and Subjectivity: from Kant to Nietzche (Mannchester
University Press, 2003), pp. 1-3.
 I would like to
dearly thank the reviewers of Contemporary
Aesthetics for reading through my paper carefully. Because of their
comments this paper, I believe, improved significantly and I, myself, learned a
lot. I sincerely appreciate their contribution to this paper.