Alternative Sociology Probing into the Sociological Thought of Allama M. T. Jafari


Author(s): Seyed Javad Miri

Publisher(s): London Academy of Iranian Studies Press

Category: General Miscellaneous information:

Alternative Sociology: Probing into the Sociological Thought of Allama M. T. Jafari

by Seyed Javad Miri

Institute of Humanities and Cultural Studies Tehran, Iran

Copyright © 2012 by Seyed Javad Miri

London Academy of Iranian Studies (LAIS)

ISBN: 978-0-9552298-9-3

Published by London Academy of Iranian Studies Press, London, UK, 2012. 121 Royal Langford, 2 Greville Rd, London, NW6 5HT, UK.

Copyright© 2012 by Seyed Javad Miri


When one speaks of sociology, places such as the US, UK, Germany, and France come to mind. To western or even eastern students of social sciences, the very idea that outside Europe and America one could come across sociological debates or theoretical debates on socio-cultural issues comes as a surprise, to say the least. In this work, the author presents the work of Allama M.T. Jafari, an Iranian, contemporary social thinker who worked within the parameters of Primordial School of Social Theory. This work is an attempt to enrich the existing literature on comparative sociology and social philosophy.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


In The Heart of Man: Its Genesis for Good and Evil, in Religious Perspectives (1964. p 93), Erich Fromm argues that ‘’our conscious mind represents mainly our own society and culture, while

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our unconscious represents the universal man in each of us.’’ If we could conclude the project of Allama Jafari in one sentence that would be what Erich Fromm stated about the role of unconscious and its relation to the universal in each of us. In other words, Allama Jafari was working on the poetry of awakening the ‘universal being’ in the heart of human self in a dialectical fashion that the unconscious would turn conscious and the universal would get fused with the conscious heart in a dynamic mode.

In 2010, I wrote a book on Allama Jafari entitled Reflections on the Social Thought of Allama M. T. Jafari: Rediscovering the Sociological Relevance of the Primordial School of Social Theory, which was published by University Press of America.

There I attempted to reconstruct the theoretical significance of Allama Jafari within the broad parameters of social theory by arguing that he belongs to a school of thought which has been undertheorized in the Iranian context as well as not known in the global context of social theory.

While thinking over the repercussions of such bold assertions in regard to a thinker who, is not even recognized within Iran as a relevant social philosopher (let alone a social thinker or social theorist and sociologist), I came across an unpublished manuscript by Allama Jafari entitled Sociology and Human Being dated 1976.(1)

In these unpublished lectures, he precisely takes issue with sociology as a field of knowledge and mentions the works of Western sociologists and even

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1- This work is composed of 180 pages in Persian. At the Center for Allama Jafari Studies in Iran the lectures have been edited by one of my students at Sharif University of Technology namely Vahide Sadeghi who has gone through all the papers and edited them in a presentable fashion. The book has not been published yet but the director of the Center for Allama Jafari Studies, i.e. Ali Jafari is intending to carry out the task by this year. In other words, the reason I have not given page numbers whenever I have quoted from this work is that it has not been paginated yet. Therefore I have referred to chapters rather than pages in these lectures. Additionally, the lectures were conducted in Persian and the translations are mine and I have not rendered literally. On the contrary, I have translated freely and used aspects of these lectures. However, I should mention that I have looked at other works of Allama Jafari in regard to sociological questions too.

quotes Durkheim and other classical sociologists at length. Reading this work I realized that we are faced with a thinker who is a many-sided theoretician that is indispensable for all who are interested

in alternative sociological imaginations. In other words, the sociological works of Allama Jafari represents a novel fashion in doing sociology based on primordial school of social theory. To put it differently, we who studied disciplinary sociology and grew within the parameters of discursive rationalized imagination have come to believe that reflections over the destiny of humanity is tantamount to the principles of disciplinary rationality.

However, as Syed Farid Alatas has demonstrated cogently the alternative sociology is desirably possible when the students of social sciences get in touch with their respective traditions which enable them to build new concepts for explaining ‘other’ historical experiences and social realities. (2006) One creative mode of relating to alternative traditions is to build upon the works of thinkers who belong to an intellectual tradition in an intellectual fashion and not long for a tradition in a fetishistic manner.

In other words, Allama Jafari is rooted in the soil of perennial tradition of religio perennis but that has not stopped him to establish constructive dialog with other traditions such as European, Russian, Chinese, Indian, and many other schools of thought.

In this work, I have attempted to demonstrate the contours of an alternative approach to sociological problematiques within the work of Allama Jafari which is aimed at reviving the ‘’universal’’ within the parameters of human

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sciences. In other words, the revival of alternative discourses is only possible when one’s classics are different than the disciplinary canonical paradigm but this does not mean to exclude other streams of thought such as disciplinary discourses embodied in the pantheon of sociological temple.

Last but not least, I would like to emphasize that any attempt to identify the thread that runs through Allama Jafari’s writings will soon uncover an unequivocally humaneistic (1) worldview. From the 194os on to the end of his life in 1998, this was Allama Jafari’s guiding principle.


Rudolf J. Siebert(2)

Professor of Religion and Society

Department of Comparative Religion

Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

Seyed Javad Miri’s book “Alternative Sociology Probing into the Sociological Thought of Allama M. T. Jafari’’ deals fundamentally with the modern antagonism between the religious and the secular, the sacred and the profane, religious revelation and profane enlightenment, faith and autonomous reason.

Erich Fromm and the critical theorists of the Frankfurt School defined religion as non-authoritarian, non-dogmatic humanistic X-experience, as movement toward Universality and Wholeness, as longing for the totally Other than the horror and terror of nature and history, for perfect justice, for unconditional love, and as the hope, that the murderer shall not triumph over the innocent victim, at least not ultimately.

They defined enlightenment with Sigmund Freud as the attempt to put Ego, where Id is, and as making the Unconscious conscious, as the effort, to free people from their fears, and to make them masters of their fate.

Seyed Javad

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1- I used by purpose this term as humanism has come to refer to secularized inclinations. Although I have argued elsewhere that humanism in the pristine sense of the term cannot be but a revival of humane tendencies in the heart of human being and in the body of human community. Nevertheless I have decided to employ another term to remove any trace of confusion in regard to the universe of Allama Jafari’s thought. In other words, by humaneistic I intended to emphasize the humane dimensions of the work of Allama Jafari which could be interpreted as an antidote against alienating forces of modernism by paving the road towards realization of wonderful possibilities of human spirit.
2- Rudolf J. Siebert was born in Frankfurt, Germany. He studied history, philology, philosophy, sociology, psychoanalysis, and theology at the University of Frankfurt, the University of Mainz, the University of Munster, and the Catholic University of America, Washington D.C. from 1947 - 1955. Professor Siebert has taught, lectured, and published widely in Western and Eastern Europe, the United States, and Canada. He is a professor of Religion and Society in the Department of Comparative Religion at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. He is the director of the Center for Humanistic Future Studies at Western Michigan University since 1980, the director of the international course on the "Future of Religion" in the Inter-University Center for Post-Graduate Studies in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia / Croatia since 1975, and the international course on "Religion and Civil Society" in Yalta, Crimea, and Ukraine since 1999. The Inter-University Center is sponsored by the University of Simferopol, Simferopol, Ukraine, and Western Michigan University. Professor Siebert's main works are The Critical Theory of Religion: Frankfurt School, and From Critical Theory to Critical Political Theology: Personal Autonomy and Universal Solidarity. From 1955 to the present, Professor Siebert has developed the critical or dialectical theory of religion out of the critical theory of society, from the endeavors of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt, globally known as the "Frankfurt School," and in continual discourse with sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, economists, philosophers, religiologists, and theologians from the United States, Canada, England, Belgium, Holland, France, Germany, Yugoslavia / Croatia, Israel, and Columbia. The dialectical theory of religion emphasizes the three global alternative futures of society: Future I - the totally administered society; Future II - the entirely militarized society; and Future III - the reconciled society. It stresses the three global alternative futures of religion: Future I - religious fundamentalism; Future II - total secularization; Future III - the open dialectic between the religious and the secular aiming at a post-modern reconciliation between a reformed religion and a transformed secular enlightenment. Rudolf Siebert and his late wife Margaret nee Noyes had eight children and, now, 14 grandchildren.

Miri and his great teacher Allama M. T. Jafari stand on the humanistic, scientific side, being at the same time open toward the religious side. Both humanistic scholars have contributed much in theory and praxis to the prevention of alternative Future I - the entirely administered society, and of alternative Future II - the fully militarized society, and to the arrival of a possible alternative Future III - a free and just society, in which not only personal autonomy and universal, i.e., anamnestic, present, and proleptic solidarity, but also religion and enlightenment would be reconciled.

Seyed Javad Miri, reflects in his new book on the life work of Allama Jafari including mysticism, philosophy, jurisprudence, art, literature natural and social sciences and poetry.

He introduces Allama Jafari’s work and its great Iranian wisdom, which reached a climax in Cyrus, and was different from Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome, their mythos, logos, and ethos, the seedbed societies of the Western civilization, into the globalizing modern Occident: Europe and America. Doing so, he identifies the limits of the present day secular natural and social sciences in understanding and comprehending reality.

To be sure, he is well educated in and takes most seriously Western secular psychology, social psychology, sociology, anthropology, and philosophy as “tools” to understand and comprehend “human being”. But he is also fully aware, that secular sociology fragments and compartmentalizes the human being, and thus doubles up the extreme division of labor and its alienating effects in modern civil society.

The secular methodology loses the

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totality of man, as once projected by Plato and the Neo-Platonists, and most recently by Allama M. T. Jafari: the unified tripartite framework of “human being” - body, psyche, and soul. Persia (Iran) and Europe are not only different; they also have much in common. However, Seyed Javad Miri is correct in his observation, that positivistic sociology is unable to account for human “wholeness” or “integratedness,” not to speak of bringing it about.

Seyed Javad Miri is aware that the dominance of positivistic sociology has damaged the study of human society. Since August Comte, the inventor of the names “positivism” and “sociology”, positivism means the anti-metaphysical metaphysics of “what is the case.”

As positivistic sociology describes, categorizes, mathematizes and puts into statistical form, what is the case in modern civil society, it fails to see and is blinded against what ought not to be, and what in terms at least the Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - is against God and his will, and should therefore be changed.

The Mosaic Decalogue, which all three Abrahamic religions have in common, and which could be summed up in the Golden Rule, which all living world religions share, is revolutionary. Without stealing, murdering, and lying, no modern ruling class could possibly establish bloody retaliation and revenge among individuals as well as among nations.

Seyed Javad Miri is fully conscious of the fact that in the secular positivistic sociology instrumental or functional rationality dominates mimetic or communicative rationality. Secular modernity once promised more than instrumental

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rationality. But as it was immensely successful in terms of the functional natural sciences and technology, it neglected communicative rationality: It sold and lost its soul, including psyche and body.

Modern people travel in the technologically most advanced cars and airplanes, while their families fall apart at home, and the inner cities turn into wastelands, and the neighborhoods are without neighbors, and the wars, which are so costly in terms of human lives and property, take no end.

The life world, which includes family, neighborhood, friends, lovers, aesthetic and religious associations, and which is sometimes still characterized by communicative rationality, and which is still sometimes steered over the medium of religious or secular ethics and morality, suffers inner colonization from the economic subsystem of the total system of human condition and human action system, characterized by functional rationality and steered over the medium of money, and by the political subsystem, which is also characterized by instrumental rationality, and is steered over the medium of power.

Sometimes spontaneous social movements like “Occupy: Wall Street” turn against such inner colonization of the life-world, and try to stop and to break it more or less successfully.

Seyed Javad Miri understands the “humanities” as a methodology of thought, which does not separate physicality from spirit or from metaphysics, or from religion, as the positivistic social sciences have done since the end of German idealism, and its last great metaphysicians and their transcendental or dialectical logic, the first new one after Aristotle, of which Marx became the heir,

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turning it upside down and secularizing it, and which Lenin transformed into the likewise profane ABC of revolution and liberation. Of course, secular liberation is not against the theology of the three Abrahamic religions.

Theology is rather the necessary source and precondition of liberation, as Ernst Bloch, Walter Benjamin, and Erich Fromm have made clear enough. A theology, which while it aims at religious redemption, remains, nevertheless, still open for the secular happiness of the people as the goal of politics, alone can help historical materialism to solve its metaphysical and religious problems in terms of an anamnestic solidarity with all those victims, who became martyrs of freedom, without ever experiencing alternative Future III - the realm of freedom on the basis of natural and economic necessity, and without ever having had their day in court as they fought against the arrival of alternative Future I - the totally administered society, and of alternative Future II - the entirely militarized society.

It is not without good reasons, that there exist today Jewish, Christian and Islamic liberation theologies on all continents, which are of greatest actuality.

Seyed Javad Miri observes rightly, that there are individualistic and collectivistic schools present in modern sociology. The division of these schools reflects the antagonism of individual and collective in bourgeois society. So far positivistic sociology has not been able to reconcile this discrepancy.

Liberalism, the philosophy of civil society, is atomistic even still when it is socially modified by the principle of subsidiarity as it is the case

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in the Roosevelt or New Deal liberalism, which is practiced today in America by the Obama Administration. What is missing in modern liberal capitalist society is universal solidarity.

The unresolved antagonism between the individual and the collective as well as the discrepancy between the rich and the poor classes, the bourgeoisie and the “precariat,” drives civil society beyond itself into alternative Future I, II or III.(1)

Seyed Javad Miri is right, when he identifies, what Max Weber called “rationalization” as “falsely assumed progress.” The sociologies who follow Weber, e.g. structural functionalism, overlook the dialectic of enlightenment. Enlightenment does indeed mean rationalization. However in the real historical process this rationalization often turns against itself. More rationalization of a corporation often means also more irrationality. Enlightenment also means integration.

But often integration leads to more disintegration historical materialism. It is accepted in most forms of sociology, on the Right and on the Left. It cannot be denied, that projection takes place in religion, like in any other domain of human life, e.g. between lovers. However, all projections need a screen against which the projection takes place. That is also true for religion.

The existential theologian Paul Tillich, the friend of Max Horkheimer, the founder of the critical theory of society of the Frankfurt School, and the teacher and friend of Theodor W. Adorno, and the friend of Fromm argued correctly, that from the fact, that anthropological projection takes place in religion it cannot be concluded, that there is no more place for theology any

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1- The economist Guy Standing coined the term “precariat” to try to describe the reality of low wage workers in our modern, global economy.

longer: Also religious projection needs a screen, which has elicited it throughout many world religions for centuries: the totally Other than the phenomenal world with all its injustices.

Seyed Javad Miri would like to reconcile humanistically humano-centered: and theo-centered world views. If it is true, that on one hand the humano-centered secularization process of the past four centuries in the Western civilization, which today is even globalized, cannot really be stopped, and on the other hand, that the world religions have greatly contributed to the humanization of the human species at least in the past 6000 years, then the question arises, how the progressive elements in these religions can be rescued through their inversion or translation into the secular discourse of the expert cultures, i.e. sociology, anthropology, psychology, political economics, philosophy, etc., and through it into the communicative action of the life world, and through social movements even into the behavior in the economic and political subsystems of modern and post-modern action systems.

Such inversion of semantic materials and potentials of religion into the discourse of the expert cultures could lead to a reconciliation of humano-centered and theo-centered world views on the secular side.

Seyed Javad Miri differentiates between a first and second nature of man, between instincts and social survival. Here the problem is how to relate adequately the first nature of instincts and the second nature, which individuals receive through cultural socialization.

The massive, explosive breakthrough of the libidinous aspects- porno industry - and the aggressive aspects - war industry - of

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the Id, the will to life in individuals and collectives, in the modern Western culture, leads us to speak with Freud of the “discontents of civilization”, if not of a failed civilization.

The solution may lay with what the mystics suggested, and what Marx took up: the idea of the humanization of nature and the naturalization of man. So far the bourgeois drive to control and exploit selfishly and absolutely the external as well as the internal nature in the interest of capitalism and of private property and profit, has prevented such reconciliation between the first and the second nature and has promoted their further alienation.

There are ecological catastrophes going on in the ecology of nature and of man. Reconciliation between man and nature could take place in alternative Future III-a classless and free society. If man’s killer instinct, as it is expressed in one retaliation or thievery war after the other, and in the always growing and always more sophisticated weapon industry cannot be sublimated and humanized, the survival of humanity on this planet mat very well be threatened.

What Seyed Javad Miri calls the humanistic and naturalistic approaches to the study of society could be combined in the effort to achieve alternative Future III - a free society, in which not only the antagonism between the sacred and the profane, and the discrepancy between the personal autonomy and the universal solidarity, but also the contradiction between nature and man could be reconciled.

Those sociological approaches can, of course, not be

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value-free in Max Weber’s sense. To be sure, already the intentional or unintentional interference of the sociologist into his or her own object of study renders a value - free sociology impossible. In any case, the humanistic and naturalistic sociological approaches could not be satisfied with the mere positivistic study of what is the case, but would also have to point out its potential and what ought to be in a positive or negative way, and initiate the consequent, necessary practical changes. Seyed Javad Miri’s new book, inspired by the great work of his teacher Allama M. T. Jafari, is doing precisely that in the most excellent way, as he is building a strong bridge between the great Iranian culture and the West.


How could local thinkers be globally presented? Is there any specific mechanism to carry out such a task? Of course, I do not mean that thinkers such as Allama Jafari are not globally significant but the matter of the fact is that in despite of the global significance of his thought the paradigm of Allama Jafari is not known globally.(1) The question of ‘’relevance’’ in the global context could be approached in two different but interrelated sense, i.e. substantially and formally.(2)

Here the question of relevancy is not related to the substantial dimension of Allama Jafari as this aspect could be intellectually appraised and critically assessed by anybody who knows the Persian language and is well-versed in human sciences and philosophy. On the contrary, the question is

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1- In a private talk that I had with my Irish colleague (Peter Stone at the Department of Political Science at Trinity College in Dublin-Ireland he rightly emphasized that … Allama Jafari’s work, no doubt deserves a serious attention … [but] I am pretty confident that most English-language speakers [are] unfamiliar with [Allama] Jafari. We are responsible for this state of affairs as Iranian scholars and intellectuals have not taken any step in presenting the works of such celebrated contemporary thinkers to non-Iranian audience in a systematic fashion. This is, as stated earlier, my second work on Allama Jafari in English but these kinds of projects require the efforts of a team of scholars who discern the destructive challenges of market-driven corporative imperialistic ideologies of global oligarchies – and seize the opportunities in mobilizing conscientious souls across the world in working for the establishment of a sane society (a la Erich Fromm) or intelligible world (a la Allama Jafari). To those who argue that word cannot change the world, I should tell that … in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1). Or … surely we belong to God and to God shall we return. (2: 156)
2- In the course of his extensive research into the nature of social reality, human action, and social interaction, Alfred Schutz returned repeatedly to the phenomenon of relevance. Any attempt to analyze Schutz’s crucial concepts (e.g. the Life-world, Intersubjectivity, Typification, Meaningful Action, and Ideal Types) or to use those concepts in the course of phenomenological social-scientific research will similarly call for an understanding of this underlying phenomenon. Schutz’s theory f relevance is one of the most paradoxical concepts which reflect the nature of social reality in a very paradoxical fashion. (Cox, 1973) Here I have not been concerned with this aspect of phenomenological research as such but touched slightly upon the ‘’relevance’’ of Allama Jafari’s relevance in a global context. In other words, the relevance of Allama Jafari’s relevance itself could be a relevant problematique which may be examined by phenomenologist scholars who are interested in relevance of non-Eurocentric social theories in a Eurocentric context in Europe and America.

of formal significance as it seems the disciplinary rationality by being the dominant mode of reflexivity it does inhibit the presence of other forms of wisdom which struggle against reductionism of soft or hard kinds.

In other words, to present the body of Allama Jafari’s thought is not only a matter of translation or interpretation of parts or all aspects of his writings into globally significant languages such as English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Chinese or Japanese and so on and so forth. Because the act of translation may at its best convey the epistemological dimensions of Allama Jafari’s thought and concerns but it cannot transmit the pre- epistemological concerns of his traditions across the cultures which are of crucial importance in re-presenting a scholar of his caliber in a global stage.

Generally speaking, the frame of Allama Jafari’s discourse is consisted of seven broad streams of philosophy, jurisprudence, mysticism, art, literature, natural and social sciences, and poetry.

In other words, to understand the landscape of Allama Jafari’s body of thought one need to take into consideration these complex dimensions within the Irano-Islamic context in a multicultural fashion. In addition, the incessant dialog of Allama Jafari with other global traditions such as European, Russian, Indian and Chinese philosophies and literary discourse should not be disregarded as the totality of what he has left behind is inseparable from all these various streams. Anyhow, to know all these intricate issues will not enable us to fathom the very spirit of Allama Jafari

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and the traditions which have come to be materialized in the body of his thought as the ethos is very different than logos and both seem to be not very close to pathos and mythos.

One could argue that the question of translation is impossible if we do not adopt a hermeneutic approach to the world of Allama Jafari which is a conceptualized text embedded in a textualized ‘’conceptic universe’’ of complex structures. In addition, one could ask about the prospected concept where the body of Allama Jafari’s thought is supposed to be transmitted in a meaningful fashion.

If we have chosen the English as the medium of dialog then we have tacitly accepted the rules of engagement which are operating in the context of modern worlds. In other words, the four dimensions of ethos, logos, pathos and mythos within the modern world should be taken into consideration and contrasted before we can think of a conceptual re-presentation of Allama Jafari’s intellectual system in a global context which is not based on the background assumptions of religio perennis.

There are many concepts which we use very carelessly across intellectual traditions without realizing the pre-conceptual textures of these concepts which may be similar lexically but different pre-conceptually. One of those crucial concepts which has been incessantly employed by Allama Jafari is the concept of ‘’human being’’ and, as a matter of fact, constitutes the very ground of pre-epistemological concern of his thought.

When the translation is based on the ‘’lexical accuracy’’ without realizing the

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‘’pre- conceptual truthfulness’’ the result will be a transmission of words without worlds which lie at the heart of any systematic discourse that is aimed at restoration of humanity as a universal reality.

Why do we speak? What happens when we are unable to talk? It seems we speak because we need to establish relationships and when we are unable to talk the process of relating gets disrupted. The disruption of relation does not only affect the flow of words but distorts the constitution of worlds in the minds of those who are engaged in the dialog.

When you are incapable of getting your message across the ‘’other’’ then the world between you and the ‘’other’’ becomes completely other in a conflicting sense which may lead to a totally incomprehensible state of incommunicado – where communication with the ‘other’ (who is now turned into an out-sider) is not possible.

To translate a text in a lexical sense without taking into consideration all those fundamental aspects would lead to incommunicado which is the opposite of communication where a sense of communion may be achievable. In other words, if a sense of unity between the text and the reader is established then we may hope to reach to some kind of relationship where the message of Allama Jafari along with the universe of his thought reach across at a global stage.

To put it differently, what we need to do is the recreation of ingenious creativity which has grown in the soil of tradition

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and embedded in the textures of Allama Jafari’s thought. However, a thinker is not only confined by his words and the words cannot express the worlds of a scholar in an integrated fashion. In other words, the appropriate question is how to bridge between the world of theory and the context of praxis? To work out the broken bridge when the world of the author has broken into myriad pieces and only kept intact in the body of words is not an easy task.

This is where the question of multiple readings and interpretations set in. In other words, at the global stage, what kind of Allama Jafari or what type of tradition we would like to present and re-present? Where does our allegiance lie? To what direction does our heart aim? Are we trying to exegete Allama Jafari or the task is to recreate a tradition in a new global context where the audience could establish a meaningful relationship with the message?

What is the message of religio perennis tradition? If you are looking at human existence from the heights of the wings of Gabriel then the message is to realize the potentials of intellect in the bosom of human self. But the wings of Gabriel have lost its mythos within the global context where religio perennis is not the dominant modality of relevance as well as relatedness.

In other words, what should be done in a context where Gabriel is not present in the textures of cogito? Maybe a

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detour on history of civilization would be appropriate in order to understand the complexities of ideas and the nature of social theories at metatheoretical levels.

Through late 14th century Old French magique, the word ‘’magic’’ derives via Latin magicus from the Greek adjective magikos used in reference to the ‘’magical’’ arts of the Magicians i.e. the Zoroastrian astrologer priests. This is the etymological background of the term which goes back to the land of Iran. In the modern context, magic has been conceptualized in contrast to science and by certain scholars as an extension of religion.

In other words, this concept in current English refers to the art of manipulating aspects of reality either by supernatural means or through knowledge of occult laws unknown to science. It is in contrast to science, in that science does not accept anything not subject to either direct or indirect observation, and subject to logical analysis, whereas practitioners of magic claim it is an inexplicable force beyond logic.

Magic has been practiced in all cultures, and utilizes ways of understanding, experiencing and influencing the world somewhat akin to those offered by religion, though it is sometimes regarded as more focused on achieving results than religious worship.

This is what is claimed by modern historians who view the scientific rationality as the criterion of reasonability. In other words, the land of magic is Iran. Magus resided in Iran. Iran is the locus of incantation or enchantment. The world has been disenchanted in the Occident. Orient is

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where the sun rises. The enchantment of the world comes from Iran.

How could one distinguish between styles of thought? In the contemporary context, one could make a distinction between paradigms which fall within either the parameters of ‘disenchantment paradigm’ or ‘enchantment paradigm’. What does these terms mean within the context of sociology? By disenchantment, we refer to Entzauberung which is a term in the social sciences that describes the cultural rationalization and devaluation of Das Heilige apparent in modern society.

The concept was originally coined by Max Weber to describe the character of modernized, bureaucratic, secularized Western society, where scientific understanding is more highly valued than intellectual knowledge, and where processes are oriented toward rational goals rather than eschatological significance. (Bell, 1997) The disciplinary sociological imagination is the map whereby we can trace the disenchantment of the world which has confined us to the walls of the ‘Iron Cage’.

But the term ‘enchantment’ which is used less in the context of disciplinary sociology refers to an existential approach that enlivens the sense of ‘wonder’ or wunder in the contemporary world. The word enchantment is related to incantation and magic and both

are etymologically related to the ideas of Iran (the land of incantation) and Magus (practitioners of wonder). Allama Jafari belongs to a tradition which could be classified as the seer of enchantment. As Max Weber lays out the contours of the disenchanted world of ‘’Iron Cage’’, the work of Allama Jafari could be seen as the roadmap towards how to redeem

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humanity from the ‘’Dungeon of Necrophilia’’.

As the ancient Greeks did not understand the paradigm of illuminated magus in Iran by ascribing to them acts of hocus pocus the modern scholars have not comprehended the enchanting character of intelligibility which is aimed at reviving the Das Heilige by making the ‘’Iron Cage’’ a passé. In other words, to re-present the world of Allama Jafari in the context of modern mind is a challenging task as the boundaries of modern imagination is based on the textures of disenchantment rather than enchantment.

To put it otherwise, Verzauberung in the world of Allama Jafari is a mental construction which is reflected in his work solely. This mental construction which is based on the poetical union between realms of body, mind and spirit is not accessible to everyone who has no access to the world beyond the confines of disenchanted cage.

In other words, the act of translation needs to go beyond lexical transmission of concepts by opening novel avenues. Of course, I should add that by Iran, I do not refer to the political reality on the contemporary world map but to the idea that does not distinguish between the path of intellect and the course of incantation where word (Logos) and world (Kosmos) merge into a united reality in the heart of human self. In brief, disciplinary rationality could be concluded as an attempt to reduce the self into an index of the ‘social’ while the primordial intelligibility is aimed at elevation of

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the self as a mirror of the ‘cosmos’ without disregarding the ‘social’ per se.

What does ‘transplantation’ as a concept mean? What does philosophic transplantation mean? Is it possible to transplant an idea? By transplantation I refer to the act of removing something from one location and introducing it in another location. To put it otherwise, in the very texture of transplantation there are two momentous episodes of ‘’removal’’ and ‘‘introduction’’.

The first one refers to the spatial dimension while the second episode refers to the mental aspect. In order to be able to transplant an idea within the mental location of the

‘’other’’ the totality of the stranger should be recognized and this recognition cannot be realized if the cognition is not involved in a comprehensibly intersubjective fashion. Although it is a hard task but the transplantation of ideas has repeatedly happened in the course of human history. For instance, Locke’s ideas were transplanted to America by Madison and Jefferson.

To put it differently, the doctrines of the Socinians represent a rational reaction to a medieval theology based on submission to the Church’s authority. Though they retained Scripture as something supra rationem, the Socinians analyzed it rationally and believed that nothing should be accepted contra rationem.

Their social and political thought underwent a significant evolutionary process from a very utopian pacifistic trend condemning participation in war and holding public and judicial office to a moderate and realistic stance based on mutual love, support of the secular power of the state, active

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participation in social and political life, and the defense of social equality. They spoke out against the enserfment of peasants, and were the first Christians to postulate the separation of Church and state.

The spirit of absolute religious freedom expressed in their practice and writings, determined, more or less immediately, all the subsequent revolutions in favor of religious liberty. The precursor ideas of the Socinians on religious freedom later were expanded, perfected, and popularized by Locke and Pierre Bayle. Locke’s ideas were transplanted to America by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson who implemented them in American legislation.

The rationality of the Socinians set the trend for the philosophical ideas of the Enlightenment and determined the future development of many modern intellectual endeavors. (Hillar, 1994. Pp 22-57)

In other words, the transplantation of Allama Jafari’s episteme is possible provided one is conscious about the differences between disciplinary and primordial epistemes or textures of disenchantment paradigm and enchantment framework. To put it otherwise, if we attempt to reconstruct the image of Allama Jafari as a scientist then we are playing in a ground which is constructed by architects of disenchantment and additionally is not what Allama Jafari intended to achieve.

Said differently, we need to resuscitate the imago magus as Allama Jafari is a contemporary magus which in the context of Islam is equivalent to ‘’Hakim’’. Last but not least, it should be emphasized that there is no specific mechanism in globalizing local thinkers as what is needed is a recreation of magical poetry

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or magikos poiesis embedded in the universe of religio perennis which targets the inner tapestry of human soul as its subject-matter in re-presenting perennial ideals.

Said differently, we cannot solely rely on translation of ideas based on lexical accuracy without realizing the poetry of intellection which is the fundamental principle of coherency in the body of background assumptions underlying Allama Jafari’s universe.

Apart from the question of incommensurability which may exist when the coherency principle is based on rationality vis-à-vis intelligibility there is the issue of dialectics of temporality and spatiality in Allama Jafari. In other words, if we assume that each thinker formulates her/his thought in accordance to a context and the text is defined in regard to an audience then what is left for future?

Futurologists argue that humanity will enjoy increasing political and economic liberty, as well as increasing freedom from ignorance and superstition. Humanity will enjoy increasing prosperity and steady progress within the limits defined by the laws of physics. Effective immortality may result from technology allowing the human mind to sustain its brain or perhaps reincarnate itself as an intelligent artifact.

Human civilization will experience neither salvation nor extermination by nature, machines, aliens, or gods. Humanity will spread throughout the Solar System and into the Milky Way, and be enriched by contact with other intelligent species and artifacts. Eventually humanity's descendants will so improve their genes and minds that Homo sapiens will exist primarily as a revered memory.

Religion will decline due to the ongoing loss of

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faith. In other words, world religions such as Christianity will be hollowed out and diluted into a bland mysticism. Islam will follow along the same track but about 150 years behind. Being already more mystical, Hinduism and especially Buddhism will linger as phenomena more ethnocultural than religious, much like Judaism and Shintoism already are.

The interesting issues in these predictions are the concepts of ‘’liberty’’, ‘’immortality’’, ‘‘humanity’’, ‘‘human being’’, ‘‘sapience’’ and ‘’religion’’ which in the eyes of futurologists would lose their essential connotations. Now the question in relation to religio perennis, enchantment paradigm and the universe of Allama Jafari is what could be offered to a world that has lost its soul? In other words, if the future of homo sapiens is ominous as predicted by futurologists then is there any chance the flapping of Gabriel’s wings

will not fall on deaf ears of reincarnated intelligent post-human artifacts? To answer this question, we need to write another long treatise but the short answer is:

… that man can have nothing but what he does … and his deeds will be seen. Then he will be recompensed with a full and the best recompense … and to your Lord is the End (Return of everything). (Koran, Chapter 53. Verses 39-42)

Chapter 1: Relocating Scientific Rationality in Humanities

Science in Retrospection

Once upon a time the term science was associated with prestige, status, kudos, power, superiority, and truth. However today it is very difficult to associate all these wonderful aspects with scientific enterprise due to intellectual turns which have brought havoc upon the pantheon

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of science.

In particular, the truth-claim of science is not shared by all members of scientific community today. In other words, issues of truth and feasibility in both ontological and epistemological fashions have separated their paths and each has become the sources of many controversies and conflicts as well as ideological battles and methodenstreit.

This is not to argue that the scientific enterprise is passé but nobody can deny the crisis of western scientific enterprise in 21st century. Of course, by western we don’t refer to an ethnic group, ideological camp or geographical location but to a mode of doing science and conceptualizing reality in all its multifaceted dimensions which is built upon the Cartesian philosophy.

Another way of talking about the crisis of modern science is to talk about the end of hegemony of logical empiricism which resulted in the births of various post-positivistic philosophies in science and social sciences as well as diversified discourses of postmodernisms along with hermeneutic approaches as well as phenomenological philosophies.

Looking retrospectively one could easily discern that there was a great time when science was considered as the cream of human intellectual achievement and science was equivalent to natural science and among them the physics was the towering model in rationalistic approach to reality. In other words, to approach the gamut of reality in any dimension, one was inescapably dependent upon the natural scientific models which provided the best mathematical pattern in conceptualizing as well as quantifying the complexities of realities in any field.


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put it differently, the authenticity of an intellectual activity was appraised in reference to its propinquity to available models and patterns in the discipline of physics. When the social sciences entered the stage in late 19th and early 20th centuries their relevance in terms of scientificity was measured by their compliance to the established norms in the disciplines of natural sciences such as physics, biology, chemistry, and so on and so forth.

The reign of quantification and the inherent disability of humanities and social sciences to succumb to total demand of quantification put them under incessant suspicion by naturalistic-oriented authors who ruled out the possibility of scientification of humanities unless they turn humanities into natural scientific fashions.

Of course there were thinkers who opposed these conformist pressures but the mainstream social scientists took up the challenge of turning humanities into science of man, science of society, and behavioral approaches in psychology and discourses on mental and spiritual dimensions of human leben. In other words, reductionism was justified both on philosophical grounds and institutional demands in all academic discourses by all parties in West and East.

However what is of significance for us in this context is how in Iran science was received by thinkers who happened to be outside the modern academic institutions such as Tehran University or centers for sociological researches. In other words, how a social thinker such as Allama Jafari looked at science, the scientific enterprise and more importantly conceptualized the sociological enterprise while not being a sociologist in

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the disciplinary meaning of the term.

Schools of Sociology

Within the discipline of sociology we have various paradigms and schools. For instance, we can speak of Marxist sociology versus academic sociology or positivistic sociology versus post-positivistic sociology and interpretative sociology versus legislative sociology. However these distinctions are not exhaustive and still we can categorize sociological orientations in a different fashion by classifying theories based on their respective traditions such as ‘Conservatism’, ‘Liberalism’, ‘Socialism’, ‘Libertarianism’, ‘Anarchism’, ‘Communitarianism’, ‘Islamism’, and so on and so forth. Again this manner of categorization could not be taken as the sole form of classifying sociological orientations.

For instance, we can talk about theories based on their ontological characters such as positivism versus transcendentalism or on metatheoretical basis such as collectivism versus individualism or primordialism. In other words, there are various ways of looking at the sociological enterprise and each is debatable and open to negotiation.

For example, we can look at sociology based on existing perspectives such as functionalism, structuralism, structurationism, conflict theory, and so on and so forth. All these different fashions in categorizing sociological imagination lead us to the problem of paradigm within sociological field.

The word paradigm has been employed in science to describe distinct concepts. In despite of the historical usage of the term,

‘’paradigm’’ has come to refer very often now to a thought pattern in any scientific discipline or other epistemological context. Thomas Kuhn gave paradigm its contemporary meaning when he adopted the term to refer to the set of practices that define a scientific discipline

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at any particular period of time. Nevertheless in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Kuhn defines a scientific paradigm as: ‘’universally recognized scientific achievements that, for a time, provide model problems and solutions for a community of researchers.’’ (1996. p 12)

Kuhn himself did not consider the concept of paradigm as appropriate for the social sciences. He explained in his preface to The Structure of Scientific Revolutions that he concocted the concept of paradigm precisely in order to distinguish the social from the natural sciences (1996. p x). While writing his book Kuhn observed that social scientists were never in agreement on theories, methodologies, background assumptions or concepts.

He explains that he wrote this book precisely to demonstrate that there are no, nor can there be any, paradigms in the social sciences. Ritzer, on the contrary, applies the Kuhnian idea of scientific paradigms to sociology and demonstrates that sociology is a science consisting of multiple paradigms. (Ritzer, 1974)

In other words, we have, on one hand, many philosophers of science who argue stridently against the possibility of social science as a scientific paradigm, while, on the other hand, we can easily witness many social scientists who applaud the existing theoretical/methodological/conceptual diversities as indications of multi-paradigmaticality within the context of social sciences, in general, and sociology, in particular.

To put it otherwise, the question of classification is not separated from the problematique of classics and the latter is very much intertwined with the problem of classicality and all are related to the project of canonization in sociological

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context. What do, in concrete terms, all these entail? When a scholar attempts to classify an issue the act of classification is carried out in reference to a framework.

This framework is not a sole product of an instant imagination without any precedent or antecedent as everybody works within parameters of existing situations. In other words, within the context of disciplinary sociology there are certain paragonic scholars who have been appropriated as models for doing sociology in a disciplinary fashion. Analogous to the process of canonization within the context of Catholic Church there is a disciplinary form of canonization which influences the fabric of sociological enterprise in a meaningful fashion, i.e. shared symbolically by all those who are initiated in the pantheon of sociological temple.

Said differently, the classicality is not a sole product of imaginative reworking of existing conceptual frameworks but constructed in a dialogical manner in relation to complex historical trajectories where a scholar happens to be situated in the multifaceted cross-roads of all these diverse factors. Put it differently, the act of classification within scientific context may look as a pure intellectual enterprise but the rational tool of mental reorganization is shaped in a pre-intellectual space which is conditioned by various para-discursive elements.

Having said this, I would like to turn to the problem of classification in Allama Jafari’s work now. He comes from an Iranian context where the disciplinary sociology was approached from a non- disciplinary perspective. The alternative outlook has colored the contours of his classificatory

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schemes and sometimes one may feel irritated as it seems Allama Jafari is talking about two different things without distinguishing them conceptually in a feasible fashion. However this irritation is constructive as alerts us to realize what

could ‘’alternativity’’ mean in practical terms. In other words, Allama Jafari classifies the disciplinary sociology in an undisciplinary fashion and this paradox is of crucial importance for all who are interested in working within alternative paradigms as this paradoxicality is the raison d'être of many contemporary incommensurability between competing discourses in Iran and outside Iran in relation to human sciences.

In brief, Allama Jafari divides sociology into two broad orientations: 1) Positivistic Sociology and 2) Theoretical Sociology. This distinction may seem to be rooted in the context of Iranian metaphysical tradition where philosophy is divided into theoretical and practical orientations. However this is not the whole story of Allama Jafari’s metatheoretical narrative as one could discern elements of discursive positivistic tendencies within the parameters of his classificatory paradigm.(1)

Positivistic Sociology

This school of sociology is a branch of science where the logic behind the assumptions is based upon sound reasons, explicit laws and inferred directly. In other words, the methodology in the context of this school is designed in a manner that any well-versed researcher in this branch of science and conscious about causality relation between a cause and its social effect (phenomenal effect in a social context) could be able to deduce the assumption in regard to the object under sociological analysis.

For instance, when a sociologist approaches

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1- Allama Jafari speaks of episteme and the nature of knowledge in a fashion which seems to be similar to positivist outlook. Of course we need to see his epistemological position in an integrated fashion but this does not rule out the possibility of positivistic tendencies in Allama Jafari’s sociological theory. He argues that … original science should result in gnosis (i.e. integrated knowledge) and the scientific enterprise should lead to the establishment of scientific laws. In other words, the science should lead to generalization and also provide reasonable answers for our quests. A scientific enterprise which does not lead either to scientific laws or abstain from generalization it could not be qualified as a branch of science. For instance, if someone travels around Iranian cities and villages by reporting about communications systems, transportations systems, ethnic diversities and cultural diversities and so on and so forth this mere observation and sheer reporting could not be qualified as a scientific approach to sociological issues of Iran. In other words, by having statistical data and observing group relations one could not be considered as a sociologist. To obtain the merit of scientificity, the sociologist should unearth reasons, discover factors, infer conclusions and establish scientific laws which could enable us to interpret phenomena in reference to the established laws. To put it otherwise, observation of phenomena is one step in the process of scientific inquiry but if it does not lead towards constitution of laws it cannot be considered as scientific inquiry. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 3)

the problem of multiple personality in a society s/he would probably need to inquire about the societal impact of contrasting ideas which could create the effective factors for generation of multiple personality. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 3)

When individuals are exposed to different ideas and ideologies their personalities could be-come glassy, fragile and brittle.

This brittle state could become even more aggravated when a person is exposed to towering personalities or fascinating ideas and ideologies. (1976. Ch. 3) In other words, in the shadow of totalitarian ideologies one may lose and give up her/his autonomy and be under the tutelage of others. This is to state that in a context where opposing ideas or ideologies rule supreme it could lead to the breakup of glace of human personality. (1976. Ch. 3) One may fall in a denial pattern by refusing to admit that s/he has lost her/his autonomy and instead turn into a cracked and fragmented personality and finally lead to herd-mentality.

There is, in Allama Jafari’s view, a deep correlation between fragmentation of personality and the question of truth. Individuals who refuse to conform to dominant social norms based on their autonomous views regarding fundamental issues of human existence they may be able to assert themselves above the herd- mentality.

It seems Allama Jafari is touching upon the question of socialization and taking a position on debates such as ‘nature versus nurture’ or ‘heredity versus environment’ by arguing that personality is a reality which could be realized and when the individual

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takes seriously the call of conscience then this may lead to forms of truth. In other words, the reality of human being is consisted of what Allama Jafari terms as ‘unification of being’ that underlies the very core of human personality which makes possible … the act of discernment, the yearning for free-will and the desire for freedom. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 3)

In Allama Jafari’s words, the positivistic sociology is a branch of science where phenomena and facts are observed in a systematic fashion and interpreted in reference to established laws. This methodology reigns in other branches of science too. Thus, in a nutshell, it could be argued that positivistic sciences are those branches of knowledge where the laws have been verified and currently dominant in academia. (1976. Ch. 3)

Theoretical Sociology

We have certain theoretical issues that fall within the scope of theoretical sociology. Allama Jafari believes that in the theoretical context, we are faced with problems which have not been verified scientifically. The main task of theoretical sociology is to present grand theories related to social phenomena and aspects of society. In the theoretical sociology, the sociologist is looking for quantitative and qualitative laws and principles which are beneficial for the betterment of social life.

In other words, the difference between the theoretical sociology and the former paradigm which was discussed earlier is that within the theoretical paradigm, theories are presented to the scientific community without being considered as science. To put it otherwise; problems discussed within this paradigm will be subjected

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to the high court of verification and if the theory is verified then it is considered as a scientific fact.

This is a danger that threatens science and additionally reduces its value/significance. For instance, the importance of Freudian Libido or Malthusian Catastrophe was discussed initially as a theoretical matter but later it was considered as a scientific fact which inhibited the realization of inquiring spirit in vital matters of humanity. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 3) It seems Allama Jafari refers to the dominant spirit of scientism which has disarmed many intellectuals in asking serious questions in regard to the fundamentally significant dimensions of human destiny.(1)

Disciplinary Turns and Intelligible Approach

Today there are many thinkers and various discourses where all aspects of science and the scientific enterprise are critiqued in a very detailed fashion but four decades ago in a developing country such as Iran where science, technology and social sciences were held in high regard to speak critically about scientific study of society, if not considered as an audacious adventure surely it could be seen as a sign of intellectual integrity where fads and foibles ruled supreme.

In other words, to critique science in 60s and 70s were unthinkable for Iranian intellectuals who appraised the development of human knowledge by reference to the western achievement in science and the scientific models which were produced in Europe and America. In other words, the ceiling of knowledge was not measured by intellectual criteria but by reference to eurocentirc vision of reality in all its dimensions.

Of course, European thinkers and

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1- Scientism is the view that all real knowledge is scientific knowledge—that there is no rational, objective form of inquiry that is not a branch of science. There is at least a whiff of scientism in the thinking of those who dismiss ethical objections to cloning or embryonic stem cell research as inherently “anti-science.” There is considerably more than a whiff of it in the work of New Atheist writers like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, who allege that because religion has no scientific foundation it “therefore” has no rational foundation at all. It is evident even in secular conservative writers like John Derbyshire and Heather MacDonald, whose criticisms of their religious fellow right-wingers are only slightly less condescending than those of Dawkins and co. Indeed, the culture at large seems beholden to an inchoate scientism—“faith” is often pitted against “science” (even by those friendly to the former) as if “science were synonymous with “reason.’’ (Feser, 2010)

philosophers were deeply involved in a critical dialog with science as a novel way of doing rational conceptualization of reality but these dialogs took the shape of a revolutionary movement when the reign of logical positivism was questioned by many celebrated philosophers and historians of science along with many distinguished scientists.

In brief, one could state that Logical Positivism, also called logical empiricism, was a philosophical doctrine formulated in Vienna in the 1920s, according to which scientific knowledge is the only kind

of factual knowledge and all traditional metaphysical doctrines are to be rejected as meaningless. (Beckwith, 1957) In addition, it should be emphasized that the logical positivist school differs from earlier forms of empiricism and positivism (e.g., that of David Hume and Ernst Mach) in holding that the ultimate basis of knowledge rests upon public experimental verification rather than upon personal experience.

The main figures included Rudolf Carnap (1891-1970), considered the leading figure of logical positivism, Herbert Feigl (1902-88), Philipp Frank (1884-1966), Kurt Grelling (1886-1942), Hans Hahn (1879-

1934), Carl Gustav Hempel (1905-97), Victor Kraft (1880-1975), Otto Neurath (1882-1945), Hans Reichenbach (1891-1953), Moritz Schlick (1882-1936), and Friedrich Waismann (1896-1959). They were primarily concerned with the logical analysis of scientific knowledge, which affirmed that statements about metaphysics, religion, and ethics are void of cognitive meaning and thus nothing but expression of feelings or desires; only statements about mathematics, logic and natural sciences have a definite meaning.

According to logical positivism, all meaningful statements can be divided in two classes, one containing the statements that

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are true or false in virtue of their logical forms or in virtue of their meaning (these statements are called analytic a priori), the other containing the statements whose truth or falsity can be ascertained only by means of the experience (called synthetic a posteriori).

Logic and mathematics belong to the class of analytic a priori statements, since they are true in virtue of the meaning ascribed to the logical constants (the words 'and', 'or', 'not', 'if') and to the mathematical terms. The class of synthetic a posteriori statements includes all genuine scientific statements, like those of physics, biology, and psychology.

A statement is meaningful if and only if it can be proved true or false, at least in principle, by means of the experience or in virtue of its meaning. Moreover, the meaning of a statement is its method of verification; that is, we know the meaning of a statement only if we know the conditions under which the statement is true or false (i.e. the verifiability principle).

Thus statements about metaphysics, religion and ethics are meaningless and must be rejected as nonsensical. Also traditional philosophy is often regarded as meaningless. (Nagel, 1961) Many alleged philosophical problems, like the controversy between realists and instrumentalists, are indeed pseudo-problems, the outcome of a misuse of language. (Carnap, 1974)

They do not concern matters of fact, but the choice between different linguistic frameworks. Thus the logical analysis of language was regarded by logical positivism as a major instrument in resolving philosophical problems. (Friedman,

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1999) Characteristic of this aspect was the intense analysis of scientific language performed by Carnap and Hempel.

Practical aspects of scientific research were not considered by logical positivism, which was not interested in the real process of discovering, but was concerned with the rational reconstruction of scientific knowledge, that is the study of the logical (formal) relationships between statements, hypothesis, and empirical evidence.

When others such as Karl Popper (refusal of verifiability as scientific criterion and replacement of falsifiability as criterion of scientific norm), A. J. Ayer (distinction between strong and weak verification), Hilary Putnam (meaninglessness of distinguishing between theoretical and observational), W. V. O. Quine (critique of the distinction between analytic and synthetic statements and the reduction of meaningful statements to immediate experience), and Thomas Kuhn (impossibility to provide truth conditions for science independent of its historical paradigm) paved the way for the fall of Logical Positivism, this generated a benign climate for social sciences which suffered for years from inferiority complex vis-à-vis ruling natural sciences which happened to be framed within the parameters of positivism and its various naturalistic schools.

For instance, sociologists start to talk about paradigms in social sciences and the multi-paradigmatic character of sociology which has been lacking in natural sciences.

In other words, a sociologization or culturalization of scientific enterprise set in and the self-image of social sciences came to be interpreted in novel fashions rather than aspiring to look similar to natural sciences of any kind. George Ritzer, for instance, argued that sociology is

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a multiple paradigm science and this multi- paradigmaticality has a deep impact upon sociological enterprise.

By applying Kuhn's idea of scientific paradigms to sociology and demonstrating that sociology is a science consisting of multiple paradigms Ritzer attempted to prove the falsity of historical claim against social sciences and humanities. He further discussed that the fall of logical positivism and the rise of multi-paradigmaticality had deep-rooted implications for the field of sociology and the very notion of science as we have understood it in the past two centuries. (Ritzer, 1974)

On the other hand, the disintegration of scientific rationality led to a deeper crisis of metatheoretical nature, i.e. the collapse of notion of ‘law’ in the frame of scientific worldview.

In the memorable word of distinguished Polish-British sociologist Zygmund Bauman, we are now in a state of liquid modernity (Bauman, 2000. p 8) where the whole human value of the scientific worldview (i.e. the legislative character of scientific inquiry) is being questioned once again- and instead we have entered into a time where science is better off to take on the mantle of understanding (i.e. the interpretative character of academic investigation) where phenomenological approaches should be embedded in a particular ‘life-world’ or ‘communal tradition’. In other words, Bauman makes a pitch for interpretive reason rather than legislative reasoning.

Having said the aforementioned about the ‘Disciplinary Turns’ within academia in the past two decades one would achieve a better understanding of Allama Jafari’s intellectual project in regard to sociology and human being. I do not

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intend to suggest that there has been a direct relationship between the two traditions in East and West but it is doubtless that there seems to be at some level some kind of

‘Confluence of Thought’ in regard to interpretive approaches in academic social sciences and the intelligible approach proposed by Allama Jafari. For instance, what Jurgen Habermas says about the distinction between lebenswelt and systemwelt finds an appropriate echo in Allama Jafari who seems to reject the idea of reduction of human experience into a reified episode. Based on this intelligible refusal Allama Jafari approaches science and sociology with a great emphasis on the indispensability of being of human individual in epistemic problematique.(1)

For Allama Jafari, the leben of human being has a qualitative importance which could not be reduced to any other kinds of lifestyles. In his sociological understanding, the life of human self is the fundament for all epistemological inquiries. As in parallel universes theories, it seems there are profound similarities between proponents of continental phenomenology and Allama Jafari on the importance of ‘life’ in the context of human self.

For instance, the importance of phenomenological concept of erlebt and intelligible idea of being have not been explored thoroughly yet but could have profound consequences for conceptualization of sociological analysis as both are pre-epistemological stepping stone for interpretative analyses and configurations.

Chapter 2: Human Sciences and Being

Normativity versus Descriptivity

Allama Jafari is one of the contemporary Iranian thinkers who have looked at the nature of scientific inquiry in a very systematic fashion. Very little is known

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1- It would be very interesting to compare Allama Jafari and Jurgen Habermas as both thinkers seem to be worried about the existential state of humanity in a world that is in transition. Of course, by ‘’transition’’ I do not refer solely to the global changes in the contexts of politics and economics. On the contrary, I view the concept in a different light where the existential position of humanity as a species, within the context of modern world-system, is changing dramatically. In other words, within a system where religio perennis has been absent in its makeup we are witnessing a gradual return of all that matters in the sojourn of human self. In our upcoming work we shall look at religion based on the works of Allama Jafari and Jurgen Habermas.

by the scientific community around the globe about his metatheoretical engagements on the nature of science and the relation of scientific rationality in natural sciences and the distinction of the former from humanities and all branches of knowledge that touch upon the question of human existence.

What is science? This has been one of the most perplexing questions in contemporary era as the building-blocks of rationality have undergone serious metamorphoses. For instance, Chalmers argues that science is not equivalent solely with empiricism.

In What Is This Thing Called Science? (1976) he outlines the shortcomings of naive empiricist accounts of science, and describes and assesses post-positivist attempts to replace them. Allama Jafari in Iran during 70s in a series of lectures on Sociology and Human Being approaches the questions of science, human sciences and the most crucial of all concepts within humanities, i.e. ‘human being’ in a very novel fashion, which will be unfolded along the course of this research.

Allama Jafari talks about ‘scientific inquiry’ in the context of his sociological debates. One may pause and ask what does it mean and how did Allama Jafari define the inquiry in a scientific framework?

In the philosophy of science, models of scientific inquiry have two functions: first, to provide a descriptive account of how scientific inquiry is carried out in practice, and second, to provide an explanatory account of why scientific inquiry succeeds as well as it appears to do in arriving at genuine knowledge of its objects. Such accounts tend to reflect different

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philosophical positions in epistemology.

In other words, the search for scientific knowledge extends far back into antiquity. At some point in the past, at least by the time of Aristotle, philosophers recognized that a fundamental distinction should be drawn between two kinds of scientific knowledge — roughly, knowledge that and knowledge why.

It is one thing to know that each planet periodically reverses the direction of its motion with respect to the background of fixed stars; it is quite a different matter to know why. Knowledge of the former type is descriptive; knowledge of the latter type is explanatory. It is explanatory knowledge that provides scientific understanding of the world. (Salmon, 1990)

Allama Jafari agrees that our inquiry should not only lead to explanation but also be based on certain rules. In other words, he argues that there is a fundamental rule in any scientific enterprise which is unchallengeable due to the nature of epistemological inquiry in relation to subject.

The issues which are discussed over have very general or common natures that are not appropriate to be considered as a subject for the scientific inquiry. (Jafari, 1976. Chapter 1) Said differently, in any scientific inquiry one needs to have a subject-matter and a set of problematiques as well as appropriate methods for analyzing the field of inquiry. To put it differently; within human sciences we need to distinguish between two broad realms of normative and descriptive fields.

This distinction would enable us to elaborate on the specificities of human sciences in contrast to

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other fields of knowledge such as physics, biology and mechanics or chemistry. In Allama Jafari’s view, the general issue that is discussed within the context of human sciences is ‘human being’. (Jafari, 1976. Chapter 1) This is to argue that the subject-matter does have deep- rooted effects upon the nature of problematiques and even how we approach the issues within the field of inquiry.(1)

By looking at the history of ideas one could easily discern that the study of human cultural life is not an easy task and as a matter of fact fraught with many serious controversies and heated debates which, some would suggest, could cast doubt upon the very possibility of having a science of man.

A cursory look at the terms which are related to the study of human life would reveal the complexity of this field of inquiry: human science, humanistic social science, moral science, behavioral sciences, social science, and Geisteswissenschaften or spiritual sciences.

In other words, we have different discourses whereby some prefer to emphasize on the moral aspect of human existence while others choose the behavioral dimensions of human activities and again some others influenced by the Romantic Movement favor to view the spiritual significance of human leben and still other scholars who endorse the scientific over against the humanistic approach to the study of human society.

In Explanation and Understanding, Georg Henrik von Wright, argues that human science (also, humanistic social science, moral science and human sciences) refers to the investigation of human life and activities

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1- Within disciplinary social sciences, one could mention the works of Clifford Geertz who attempted to turn anthropological concerns towards the frames of meaning within which various peoples live out their lives. In other words, the role of meaning in the universe of human person is an issue which could be compared in the works of Allama Jafari and Clifford Geertz. Very little is known about the similarities between these two thinkers in relation to the constitutive role of meaning in the makeup of human self and human community.

via a phenomenological methodology that acknowledges the validity of both sensory and psychological experience. It includes but is not necessarily limited to humanistic modes of inquiry within fields of the social sciences and humanities, including history, sociology, anthropology, and economics.

It’s use of an empirical methodology that encompasses psychological experience contrasts to the purely positivistic approach typical of the natural sciences which exclude all methods not based solely on sensory observations. Thus the term is often used to distinguish not only the content of a field of study from those of the natural sciences, but also its methodology. (von Wright, 1971. Pp 4-8) To complicate the question, one could take into consideration the very concept of science in the context of, what Rene Guenon terms as ‘The Reign of Quantity’.

To put it differently, ambiguity and confusion regarding usage of the terms 'science', 'empirical science', and 'scientific method' have complicated the usage of the term 'human science' with respect to human activities. The term 'science' refers to ‘scientia’ i.e. 'knowledge'.

'Science' may be appropriately used to refer to any branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged to demonstrate the operation of general laws. Nonetheless, according to Positivists, the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge which comes from positive affirmation of theories through strict scientific method. As a result of the positivist influence, the term science is frequently employed as a synonym for empirical science.

Empirical science is knowledge based on the scientific method, a

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systematic approach to verification of knowledge first developed for dealing with natural physical phenomena and emphasizing the importance of experience based on sensory observation. However, even with regard to the natural sciences, significant differences exist among scientists and philosophers of science with regard to what constitutes valid scientific method. (Popper, 2002)

In the course of the 20th century, usage of the term has been extended to the study of human social phenomena as well. Thus, the natural sciences and social sciences are commonly classified as science, whereas the study of classics, languages, literature, music, philosophy, history, religion, and the visual and performing arts are referred to as the humanities.

Imprecision in regard to the meaning of the term science is aggravated by the common employment of the term formal science with reference to any one of several sciences that is largely concerned with abstract form that cannot be validated by physical experience through the senses, such as logic, mathematics, and the theoretical branches of computer science, information theory, and statistics.

We can even make the situation more complex by relating other conceptions on the study of human being such as the approach endorsed by people like Droysen, Windelband, and Dilthey who firmly opposed what they considered as the Comtean intrusions into traditionally humanistic areas.

Partly in reaction to the establishment of positivistic philosophy and the latter's Comtean intrusions into traditionally humanistic areas such as sociology, non- postivistic researchers in the humanistic sciences began to carefully but emphatically distinguish the methodological approach appropriate

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to these areas of study, for which the unique and distinguishing characteristics of phenomena are in the forefront (e.g. for the biographer), from that appropriate to the natural sciences, for which the ability to link phenomena into generalized groups is foremost.

In this sense, Droysen contrasted the humanistic science's need to comprehend the phenomena under consideration with natural science's need to explain phenomena, while Windelband coined the terms idiographic for a descriptive study of the individual nature of phenomena, and nomothetic for sciences that aim to define the generalizing laws. (von Wright, 1971. Pp 4-8)

Geisteswissenschaften and the Intelligible Model

Dilthey brought nineteenth-century attempts to formulate a methodology appropriate to the humanistic sciences together with Hume's term ‘’moral science’’, which he translated as Geisteswissenschaft - a term with no exact English equivalent. Dilthey attempted to articulate the entire range of the moral sciences in a comprehensive and systematic way. Meanwhile, his conception of “Geisteswissenschaften” encompasses also the abovementioned study of classics, languages, literature, music, philosophy, history, religion, and the visual and performing arts. He characterized the scientific nature of a study as depending upon:

1) The conviction that perception gives access to reality

2) The self-evident nature of logical reasoning

3) The principle of sufficient reason

But the specific nature of the Geisteswissenschaften is based on the Erleben, the Verstehen of the meaning of expressions and understanding in terms of the relations of the part and the whole – in contrast to the explanation of phenomena by hypothetical laws in the natural sciences. Thanks to the recent developments, ‘’human science’’

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has been used to refer to a philosophy and approach to science that seeks to understand human experience in deeply subjective, personal, historical, contextual, cross-cultural, political, and spiritual terms.

Human science is the science of qualities rather than of quantities and closes the subject-object split in science. In particular, it addresses the ways in which self-reflection, art, music, poetry, drama, language and imagery reveal the human condition. By being interpretive, reflective, and appreciative, human science re- opens the conversation among science, gnosis, poetry, theology, religion, art, and philosophy.

In other words, to study the being of human self in an individual and collective fashion have sensitized us to be conscious about the intricate nature of human societal dimensions which are deeply fugacious. Allama Jafari has been conscious about this fugacious nature of human self and vehemently emphasized on indivisible mode of being in the fabric of human personality.

However, he is conscious that to study a subject one needs to have an appropriate approach as well as logic of categorization which would enable us to comprehend the question in a systematic fashion. Allama Jafari argues that if this broad concept (i.e. human being) is to be considered within the scientific realm then it should be broken down into more specific issues and categorized into more detailed problematiques.

This is tantamount to argue that the subject matter of human sciences is this particular aspect of human being and within this specific field of inquiry we are concerned solely with this peculiar

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dimension of human being. For instance, when we take into consideration the subject of jurisprudence as a field of scientific inquiry it will be evident that human individuals in their social relations are engaged in a reciprocal process of right and debt which constitutes the frame of human agency in the middle of social action, which, in turn, is the subject of science of law.

On the other hand, human being is capable of expressing her/his own emotions in a creative fashion which could be the subject matter of art that is an aspect of human reality. As perceiving art and being an artist are aspects of being a human being then art and issues related to creative cognitions are surely parts and parcels of human sciences. (Jafari,1976. Chapter 1)

Human Being and the Myth of Creation

Allama Jafari regards ‘’human being’’ in an integral fashion where all dimensions of being should be integrally incorporated within the body of self. To understand the integral approach of Allama Jafari vis-à-vis the pre-epistemological notion of human person one needs to reread the multilayered features of modern mythological conception of ‘’Man’’. In other words, what is the dominant archetype of modernist narrative of human being within the body of disciplinary episteme? The modern concept of ‘Man’ is deeply intertwined with the mythical image of Prometheus.

The mythical character of Prometheus has a mythological importance which does not concern us in this context. On the contrary, the modernist interpretation of this myth is what makes this mythological story of profound significance in

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our comparative sociological studies.

The question that interests us is not the mythologem of Prometheus but the prophecy concerning the liberation of Prometheus, which is developed into a poesis on the future of humankind. This liberation has been interpreted as Enlightenment which came to be synonymous to man's release from his self-incurred tutelage in the Kantian perspective.

In other words, the modern liberty in the Western context has taken a mythical dimension where Zeus and Prometheus waged war against each other and finally Reason (metaphysical interpretation) or Fire (mythical construal) won over religion (as the ecclesiastical establishment) or God (as the epitome of transcendental values).

This story which runs over, between and under the modern stream of disciplinary weltanschauung is not shared by Allama Jafari. In other words, we are faced with two cosmogonies and myths of creations: the Euro- Hellenic cosmogony and genesis and the Koranic cosmogony and genesis.

In the former, Prometheus stands against Zeus and brings the torch of gnosis to humanity where Zeus has kept humanity in the darkness while in the latter Iblis is working against Adam and Eve – whereas Allah endows upon Adam (the person who is made from clay without having any gender attributes) the ability to contemplate and think. In other words, in the former the road to redemption is to stand against God while in the latter the path to realization is to embrace God.

These archetypical images and myths run through these disciplinary and primordial discourses and at metatheoretical levels cause

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deep-rooted differences which one should take into consideration if we agree that sociology is about to found the parameters of ‘sane society’ and ‘self-realized personality’.

Two of the most important demarcating factors in the context of human sciences discourses are scientia imago and homo imago, namely what kind of images of science and human person we hold in the frame of our discursive paradigm. There are scholars who argue that the human being becomes dehumanized when studied “scientifically”.

Prominent sociologists and psychologists have charged that any “natural science” of persons either must, or usually does, “depersonalize” or “reify” the subject of study. Specific issues have been raised about the image or concept of the human being (“determined” “free” etc.) and about the appropriateness of applying a natural science perspective to the study of persons.

The charges are serious and mounting day by day in all corners of the globe where non-Eurocentric or alternative discourses are taken seriously by theorists, for instance, in Iran and other parts of the Islamic World. In other words, the contemporary theories on self does not consider the being of human person embedded in any kind of ‘permanent selfhood’ equipped by a ‘universal conscience’ which is capable of discerning the ‘path of transcendental realization’ beyond the ‘boundaries of socio-cultural constructions’.

Of course, one should take into consideration that the concept of ‘depersonalization’ is a very multifaceted notion within human science discourses. While in psychiatric context the concept of depersonalization, for instance, refers to an anomaly of the mechanism

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by which an individual has self-awareness (Radovic Radovic, 2002. Pp 271-9) nevertheless the idea of depersonalization within the context of social psychology, in general, and identity- theories, in particular, has a different meaning by referring to ‘’the stereotypical perception of the self as an example of some defining social category’’. (Turner Oakes, 1986. p 238)

However, it seems that when social theorists speak about depersonalization they refer to a subjective experience of unreality in one's sense of self. In addition, there is another state related to ‘self’ where the sense of lack is not connected to the inner tapestry of being but aimed at the external dimensions of reality.

In other words, while depersonalization is about the unreality of one’s sense of self, the unreality of the external world is what social psychologists call derealization, i.e. feelings of déjà vu or jamais vu. Although most authors currently regard depersonalization (self) and derealization (surroundings) as independent constructs, many do not want to separate derealization from depersonalization. (Radovic Radovic, 2002) How would Allama Jafari view these problems?

As one may note, at the bottom of these debates on self is the question of reality and how we perceive reality and what we consider as the nub of realness. In other words, when we reduce the concept of reality into a discursive construction and treat it as an epiphenomenon then what is at stake is not a psychological question but the loss of metaphysics of self which is of essential nature.

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To put it differently; the question is not the loss of self but the self which has been lost in the midst of constructive policies in a city where soul has no place in its universe.

Allama Jafari has focused on human identity based on the spiral theory of human self where there is no dissociation between various levels of being. In current theories of self, one comes across a dissociative picture of human self where body, psyche and soul are in a disintegrative state of relationship. In other words, a human reality in the discursive paradigm is characterized by partial or complete disruption of tripartite reality which constitutes the very basis of human self.

Allama Jafari argues that human being is constituted of three dimensions of body, psyche and soul. Of course it should be noted that the psyche as such cannot be the subject of scientific inquiry as itself is constituted of various different dimensions and each is the domain of distinct field of disciplinary investigation such as psychology (and its various sub-disciplines), psychiatry (and its different sub- disciplines), and psychoanalysis (and its diverse schools of inquiry). (Jafari, 1976. Chapter 1)

The Scientific Inquiry and The Concept of Human Being

One of the most important tasks in any scientific inquiry is how to classify various fields of knowledge into different disciplines and domains. Allama Jafari has paid a systematic attention to sociology based on the subject matter of sociological inquiry, i.e. ‘human being’.

He argues that in the sociological investigation, the subject matter of the inquiry is ‘human being’ and

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for this reason one should clarify the specific domain of sociological analyses within the fields of human sciences. In order to reach at the nub of our research we should leave broad generalizations aside and look at the question in a specific fashion.

This is an immemorial tradition in all branches of knowledge which is not only a productive approach but also a scientific prerequisite. Because if the topics overlap each other this would lead to a chaotic epistemological state of affairs which would finally divert us from adequate understanding of the subject matter in a substantive fashion. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 1)

To put it otherwise; when we, for instance, working within the field of jurisprudence and law we should conceptualize specific kinds of relationships based on the concepts of right and debt among social agents as to discuss abruptly in the middle of a legal debate problems related to anatomy would, to say the least, seem ridiculous and bizarre. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 1) In other words, it may seem to the uninitiated scholars that Allama Jafari takes side with individualists over against collectivists or vice versa.

The debates on the primacy of agency over against structures or the difference between the proponents of individualism versus collectivism are part and parcel of Allama Jafari’s emphasis on ‘’Human Being’’ in metatheoretical reflections. We need to elaborate at some lengths these terms before deciding the overall position of Allama Jafari in this regard.

In a nutshell, one could argue that the term individualism refers

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to the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that stresses the moral worth of the individual. Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance while opposing most external interference upon one's own interests, whether by society, family or any other group or institution. (Gray, 2008) On the other hand, the concept of collectivism is defined as the theory and practice that makes some sort of group rather than the individual the fundamental unit of political, social, and economic concern.

In theory, collectivists insist that the claims of groups, associations, or the state must normally supersede the claims of individuals. (Ratner Lumei, 2003. p 72) The quarrel over the primacy of individualism versus collectivism is not over yet and in current sociological discourses one may encounter aspects of these debates under different names such as the problem structure versus agency.

Central to sociological theory are the concepts of structure and agency. Structures are typically seen as the more fixed and enduring aspects of the social landscape. As used by Durkheim and others working within a similar tradition, structure is a metaphor that denotes qualities of society that are akin to the skeleton of a body in the field of anatomy, or to the frame of a building in architecture.

Durkheim's work was heavily influenced by his desire to establish a sphere of study for sociology that was distinct from both biology and psychology. To this end he insisted that there are

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structured ways of acting, thinking, and feeling that are general throughout a society and that act as external constraints over its members.

This was to emphasize the role of society in the process of causation, as opposed to individual or group agency. Some writers taking issue with this position went to the other extreme. Weber, for example, emphasized the role of individuals and rejected the idea that terms such as “society” or “group” could refer to any reality other than that of individuals and their actions. For writers seeking to include both structure and agency in their analytic frameworks, the Durkheimian emphasis on structures is maintained.

Now, however, agency is conceived as the more processual, active, dimension of society – analogous to the physiology of an organism. However, these quarrels have not been solved within social theoretical discourses yet. In other words, the problematique has undergone some changes and the most notable position is the one presented by Anthony Giddens who argues for the structuration theory rather than conventional rivalries.

The theory of structuration, proposed by Anthony Giddens (1984) in The Constitution of Society, is an attempt to reconcile theoretical dichotomies of social systems such as agency/structure, subjective/objective, and micro/macro perspectives. The approach does not focus on the individual actor or societal totality but social practices ordered across space and time. Its proponents adopt this balanced position, attempting to treat influences of structure (which inherently includes culture) and agency equally. See structure and agency.

Simply put, the theory of structuration

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holds that all human action is performed within the context of a pre-existing social structure which is governed by a set of norms and/or laws which are distinct from those of other social structures. Therefore, all human action is at least partly predetermined based on the varying contextual rules under which it occurs.

Although Giddens attempted to overcome the dilemmas of structure versus agency but the question is not settled considering the multifaceted critiques leveled at the very project of structuration by scholars such as Gregor McLennan. Now, one could look at the position presented by Allama Jafari who seems to lean towards the individualist position while not ruling out the importance of collectivist critiques.

In other words, one could briefly state that Allama Jafari believes in the existence of intrinsic rights of the individual. He believes in the intrinsic value of the felicity of the individual, which gives rise to the rights of the individual. To put it otherwise, he does not either endorse individualism or collectivism but the communal right of individuated self-realized people in the context of human society. To put it differently, Allama Jafari argues that:

… if someone, for instance, puts emphasis on the role of society then this kind of researcher may argue for the position of collectivism over against individualism ... . A collectivist may argue that there is no such a thing as individual or autonomy of individual before the pivotal position of society. But how could one argue that there is no individual

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and everything is reducible to the ‘social’? Just tell me who discovered the law of gravity? Wasn’t Newton?

Weren’t only Newton and no other person who discovered the law of gravity? In every person there are characteristics which belong to the milieu we are from; there are other features which are very personal and unique; and again there are qualities which belong to our personalities in a very unique fashion … all these could interfere in the pursuit of knowledge in a very peculiar manner … .

Of course, this is not to argue that these interferences are detrimental for the sanity of humanity’s culture … and neither against the values dominant in the cultures of scientific enterprises …. As aforementioned a person who has chlorosis and sees everything in yellow … is not guilty … as this is a state s/he finds her/himself in …. As far as the condition of chlorosis is concerned the person in question is not guilty but when s/he attempts to draw conclusions based upon this state and generalize that yellowness is an aspect of reality … then we may be in epistemological danger …. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 4)

Chapter 3: The Perils of Reductionism

Compartmentalization of Mind

Within modern context of knowledge one should bear in mind that ‘specialization’ is a necessary dimension of scientific enterprise. It seems Allama Jafari is not opposed to specialization as such but this does not mean that he supports mental compartmentalization which looks like to be an outcome of disciplinary rationality.

He argues, for instance,

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if someone is interested in sociology of law s/he may need to spend three or four decades in order to master intricate aspects of problems which are of vital importance within the field. To embark upon the path of knowledge with a specialist orientation is a constructive approach. But too deeply inclined towards specialization without having a rounded picture of reality would lead to unidimensionality in the context of thinking.

Thus a jurist could be considered as a specialist in law and treated as an authority when s/he knows not only about legal issues but other fields of knowledge such as psychology too. Because all fields of knowledge are interconnected to each other and without realizing this integral aspect of knowledge one would be lost when studying multifaceted dimensions of human existence.

Human being is, in general, not the subject of any science but it is a very important subject in branches of knowledge which are related to human being. Now and again a specialist delves into the subject of her/his study that s/he may forget everything including the pivotal problem of her/his research, i.e. human self.

For example, an economist may be so infatuated with economic issues that s/he may not take into consideration the human factor in her/his economic analyses. In other words, compartmentalization of knowledge seems to be very deeply connected to disintegration of mental capacity of modern human self which could have grave consequences for life as we have known it for centuries. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 3)


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other words, the birth of ‘’expertism’’ and the professionalization of scientific enterprise as well as the disciplinarization of knowledge inquiry have constituted the backbones of modern weltanschauung on reality and the organization of cogito in relation to the external world. In other words, the institutionalization and professionalization of science that has taken place in the past century has been called the second scientific revolution.

Seen historically, this revolution has resulted from the fusion of rapidly maturing scientific disciplines with western organizational and administrative techniques, enabling large numbers of scientists with varying interests and abilities to be marshaled for massive projects of research and development.

However, this process has had some side-effects upon the very vision of humanity on fundamental issues of life, reality, world, environment, eco-system, morality, and all that matters to be a humane human self. (Beer Lewis, 1963. p 764) One of these deep-rooted backlashes is the peril of compartmentalization which has been dealt with by thinkers such as Herbert Marcuse in Germany, Jacques Ellul in France and Allama Jafari in Iran.

What does ‘compartmentalization’ mean? The term has been employed differently by different scholars in distinct fields of inquiry. For instance, within the psychotherapeutic context, the concept refers to:

…people with a borderline level of organization... [people who should] have to compartmentalize people into "all good" and "all bad"', on the principle that 'compartmentalizing experiences... prevents conflict stemming from the incompatibility of the two polarized aspects of self or other. (Gabbard, 2010. Pp 34-9)

The compartmentalization is fragmentary by nature

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as it is the act of splitting an idea or concept up into parts, and trying to enforce thought processes which are inhibiting attempts to allow these parts to mix together again.

This process is performed in an attempt to simplify things, and to defend against angst in a complex world where human self may find her/himself as a thrown away being. In other words, what is considered as a psychological state of mind is, as a matter of fact, a metaphysical modality which could affect the mode

of being in relation to knowledge and all other aspects of leben. To put it otherwise, the compartmentalization prior to its demonstration on cognitive plane should be dealt with as an existential modality which has to do with metaphysics rather than cognition.

In Allama Jafari’s parlance, one could argue that while the classification of knowledge in terms of management of scientific inquiry is a benevolent act of intellectual clarity nevertheless when one pushes towards compartmentalization of knowledge then we are faced with an anomic state of affairs. Because the cognitive act is an expression of existential modality and based on this the compartmentalized relationship towards reality could cause grave harms for the being and living of human self both individually and collectively as well as metaphysically.

To put it differently, one of the thorniest issues within human sciences is the question of compartmentalization of knowledge which needs to be taken seriously. Within disciplinary frame of reference each branch of human sciences is concerned with a

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particular aspect of human activity but this compartmentalized approach towards human existence has obscured the integral vision of reality of human leben.

In other words, the discontent among distinguished philosophers who are concerned about the destiny of humanity is due to this myopic approach towards human life which is based on empiricism and epistemic compartmentalization. To perceive the gamut of human existence based on these two principles would deprive us from obtaining an integral understanding of human destiny. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 1)

In a nutshell, it could be argued that the compartmentalization of mind is a reflection of ‘spiritual disintegration’ which has overshadowed all aspects of modern self.(1) In the primordial school of social theory there is a long-debated problematique on human self in relation to unity versus diversity which could be employed in unlocking the dead-end of disciplinary outlook on anthropology of modern self which is a torn-apart ego.

The most significant problem in approaching the question of human being within the parameters of disciplinary rationality is the very being of human person that appears before us as an indivisible whole in an indissoluble totality. By breaking the subject matter of human sciences into various different disciplines which would, in the course of academic progress, grow into compartmentalized paradigms in an incommensurable fashion the very question seems to be lost, namely the indissoluble totality called human being.

In other words, how could we construct a human science that is supposed to inquire about the intricacies of human existence without taking into consideration

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1- This question has been discussed by western thinkers such as Carl Gustav Jung who spoke of the awakening of dark gods and modern horror.

the very essence of human life which is expressed by terms such as ‘I’, ‘Conscience’ or ‘Self’? (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 1) What is the subject matter of disciplinary sociology? The first answer could be ‘society’ or ‘community’.

Of course, there are differences between society and community within sociological parlance as indicated by Tonnies who argued that Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft are sociological categories for two normal types of human association. However within the paradigm of disciplinary rationality, there has been a long-term shift from community to market that is often described as modernization, progress, and the triumph of rationality.

In other words, the subject matter of sociology is explicitly ‘society’ but as a matter of fact the main body of research has been engaged on the mechanisms of market rather than poetry of communal relationships between human beings. Anarchists, communitarians, libertarians and primordial theorists such as Allama Jafari have extensively explored this theoretical dimension which has been deeply relegated by disciplinary social theorists and sociologists as well as social scientists.

The Perils of Reductionism

One of the main problems within the disciplinary paradigm is the question of reductionism. The perils of reductionism are profoundly paradoxical within naturalistic human sciences. Proponents of naturalism have fallaciously tried to reduce entities with complex interdependent parts to mere constituent parts.

Since every piece of truth must pass through the brain in order to be understood, the human brain has been the biggest target. But, the mind is not physical; it is metaphysical. The mind has a separate realm of mental states

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and cannot be explained in merely physical terms. The mind is capable of willing action, thinking, predicting, comprehending, and even controlling the brain and the body.

These are acts that are qualitatively different from their constituent neurons. And what of the notion that abstract concepts, such as thoughts, can act on natural things? That is completely out of the realm of the cause and effect relationship that most of the natural world appears to be operating under. There is in reality a dualism with separate orders of phenomena that at its core is very counter-intuitive and problematic for science alone to uncover.

Reductionism is, therefore, self-defeating at its core. Allama Jafari has reflected upon this problematique by arguing that the subject matter of humanity could not be reduced to the object of investigation in natural sciences. To argue that human sciences should follow the model of natural sciences has been one of the grave mistakes of disciplinary social scientists which have brought profound havocs upon humanity at large.

Because the subject matter of natural sciences lacks cogito or subjectivity while the very substance of human existence is its subjectivity. In other words, how could a sociologist dare to talk about the totality of life in regard to human being without taking into consideration the indissoluble totality? The major difference between disciplinary social sciences and undisciplinary approach is the question of reductionism which disregards the profound distinction between the realm of nature and the domain of human.

To put it otherwise, when

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one compares the particular themes within human realm with specific problems within physics by arguing that compartmentalization has not caused any disturbance in this realm so it would not do any harm if we approach human issues based on a naturalistic approach.

It is exactly here that Allama Jafari differs from the proponents of disciplinary rationality as it is evident that the overriding chaos in contemporary civilization is due to this misconception. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 1)

Is it possible to think on social issues and human dilemmas in the context of society and in relation to the world and reality without following the logic of disciplinary rationality? This is a worthy question for all the students of social sciences who aspire to view the ‘social’ on uneurocentric grounds. It could be argued that Allama Jafari is or could be used as a paradigmatic model in crafting ‘sociological concepts’ –as, for instance, Ibn Khaldun has been used by scholars such as Syed Farid Alatas in the context of Alternative Sociology and non-Eurocentric concept-formation- within the parameters of the primordial school of social theory. In other words,

Allama Jafari distinguishes between disciplinary and undisciplinary sociology and further argues that the disciplinary outlook on human issues has caused severe damages in the body of human societies and civilizations across the globe. In his view, human being has a core which is termed as ‘conscience’ and functions as an integrative faculty in a holistic fashion. In other words, Allama Jafari believes that:

… the modern disciplinary sociology

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is unable to fathom ‘human integratedness/wholeness’ which separates human being from the subject matter of philology or physics. By neglecting this integratedness dimension of human reality the disciplinary sociology has caused severe damage in regard to the wholeness as a fundamental principle in deciphering human existence with its diverse complex layers.

For instance, we have sociologists who look at the historical aspects of human life while the others are interested in religious dimensions of humanity without taking the historical or other indices very seriously in their overall analyses. The products of these researches are interesting but disregard the principle of integratedness which is of inalienable importance in conceptualizing human existence and without as if we have lost touch with the humane aspect of human destiny. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 1)

This, in Allama Jafari’s view, is a serious challenge. Of course, to map out the contours of this serious challenge has been one of the motives behind the sociological enterprise since its early disciplinary days in 19th century.

For instance, August Comte is a prime example of this tradition which has aimed to map out the ills of modern society based on the conviction that the birth of derisive individualism would destroy the social fabric. In other words, society is a possibility where there are feelings of solidarity, togetherness and philanthropy which would enable members of a community to coexist in a societal fashion. Sociology or the sociological imagination was the answer which was crafted by Comte within the parameters of positivism.


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believed that human society follows certain patterns which result in solidarity, togetherness and philanthropic modalities within and without as well as between human beings and communities. However the rapid expansion of industrialization has destructed these bonds which were nourished within the bosom of religion (i.e. Catholic Church) and consequently left individuals in an arid land without any sacred canopy to turn to.

In other words, sociology took the challenge seriously and embraced the task of building a canopy where people could feel the warmth of religious sacrality without being dedicated to any specific religion. This led to a novel tradition within sociological understanding where sacrality was switched into sociality and theodicy metamorphosed into sociodicy.

To put it otherwise, the dehumanizing effects of modernity was admitted by some strata within French sociology but the panacea was sought in the soil of positivism both as an epistemology and weltanschauung. Although positivists argued that ontology is not the prime concern of sociologists who work within the parameters of science but this negative metaphysics did not inhibit them to rule out any meta-rational concerns as meaningless and nonsense.

Some sociologists such as Pareto believed that modernity has triumphed over all other forms of civilizations but this accomplishment has not reached its zenith yet as we still witness the residuals of pre-modern modalities in the midst of modern context.

To put it differently, rationalization was the inevitable goal of all societies even that meant to live within the parameters of ‘Iron Cage’ or ‘stahlhartes Gehäuse’ for sociologists

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such as Max Weber.

He introduced this concept into sociological discourse in order to refer to the increased rationalization inherent in social life, particularly in capitalist societies where communities have been replaced by markets. The ‘Iron Cage’ thus traps individuals in systems based purely on teleological efficiency, rational calculation and control. Weber also described the bureaucratization of social order as ‘the polar night of icy darkness’. (1994. p xvi)

Unidimensionality and Human Personality

Human being is an integral whole but the compartmentalization of knowledge when is moved into the ontological level then the problem is not solely of epistemological nature. On the contrary, the reduction of human existence would lead to the loss of many wonderful possibilities which without human self would lose its humanity. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 3)

Rationalization and the Question of Religare

Rationalization is, in other words, the euphemistic term for a dehumanizing process which has led to a compartmentalized state of human existence where human beings and societies move fast towards depersonalization and absence of conscientious rules.

Sociologists argue that rationalization refers to a process in which an increasing number of social actions become based on considerations of teleological efficiency or calculation rather than on motivations derived from religion, intellect, morality, emotion, custom, or tradition. Many sociologists regard it as a central aspect of modernity, manifested especially in depersonalized societies; as a behavior of the capitalist market; of rational administration in the state and bureaucracy; of the extension of modern science; and of the expansion of modern technology.

However, many sociologists, critical theorists and contemporary philosophers have argued that

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rationalization, as falsely assumed progress, has a negative and dehumanizing effect on society, moving modernity away from the central tenets of enlightenment. (Habermas, 1985. p 2) Allama Jafari agrees that when human motivational patterns are divorced from religion, morality, intellect and conscience the results would be very detrimental on the fabric of human society and human individuals but does not share the optimism of Habermas who endorses the Enlightenment project.

As a matter of fact, Allama Jafari seems to suggest that the death of conscience came about by thinkers and encyclopedia writers who viewed religion (i.e. religare: connecting humanity to God) as fable and a tale of past as expressed in Comtian philosophy of history. Based on Allama Jafari’s reading of history and study of human psychology, the modernist narrative on humanity and its history are based on unsupported assumptions.

Because, human being is possible when there is a conscience which he terms as ‘integratedness principle’ and the history of humanity is the story of conscience which oscillates between the poles of permanent and contingency as embedded in the bosom of human soul.

Now the questions related to dehumanization could differ from those who share the background assumptions of modernity in a metaphysical sense where Man is considered as emancipated when God is relegated to the periphery rather than working wholeheartedly towards a religare telos.

In other words, could one argue that the loss of ‘integratedness principle’ in human vision is tantamount to dehumanization of human destiny? If the answer is

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affirmative then what does dehumanization mean in the eyes of Allama Jafari? In addition, how could one perceive in intellectual terms the destiny of humanity? These and many other questions could be posed within the paradigms of the Primordial School of Social Theory which Allama Jafari is one of its most vocal exponents.

To tackle all such questions one needs to revisit Allama Jafari’s multifaceted discourse on fundamental questions of humanity in general as the modern paradox is not confined solely to epistemological plane. On the contrary, the plague of modernity is anthropological in the sense Feuerbach elaborated but in a ‘’reverse form’.

In other words, the Feuerbachian approach is based on the idea that religion is not something instituted by God, but rather is man- made. It is argued that the idea can be traced back to ancient Greece. But the proponents of this historiography argue that it was not until the 18th century, however, that it began to seem possible to finally prove what had previous been mere speculation. Ludwig Feuerbach, drawing on Hegelian philosophy, set out the idea that the process by which religion was invented was wish-fulfillment.

God, according to Feuerbach, is projection of the strongest desires of humanity. For Feuerbach, much of the appeal of Christianity lies in its promise of immortality. Human beings have many fears, but most of all they fear death. Christianity, in promising eternal life, offers to take this fear away from humans.

If, the argument goes, human beings are willing to

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buy into religion then they can escape from their fear, and live in blissful ignorance of their mortality. This accounts for the attractiveness of religion, the strength of its grip on human minds.

Of course, for this process to work human beings cannot consciously decide to adopt a religion as a means of escaping from their fears. No, the decision must be unconscious; it is the unconscious mind that drives them to religion. To understand God, on this view, one must understand human psychology; as Feuerbach put it, “theology is anthropology”.

This could be the case of modern reading of Christian religion but one should not extend it to other revealed traditions as many Eurocentric scholars on sociology and psychology of religion have mistakenly done. In addition, fear and ignorance are not the only sources of movement in life. In other words, how could Feuerbach explain the question of ‘conscious conversion’ among adults? There are many existential questions which cannot be reduced to fear and ignorance alone. To put it otherwise; then how could one explain ‘sacrifice’ (to give up one’s life for the other or a cause) in the light of Feuerbach’s theory of fear of mortality?

Lebenswelt and Kommunkationstechnik

Sociology is different from physics as both the universal and the particular are of crucial significance in perceiving the complexity of human person. If one in analyzing the human realm separates, for instance, the dimension of art from conceptualizing human existence then what could art mean alone? (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 1)

In other words,

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the subject matter of human sciences is an ‘integrated whole’ which should be taken into consideration in any sociological analysis. Otherwise we may encounter insurmountable obstacles such as one- dimensionality of modern subject in which spiritual growth, aptitude and ability for critical thought and oppositional behavior wither away.

This is deeply connected to the problem of depersonalization which has resulted in the loss of self and destruction of conscience in the contexts of disciplinary human sciences. Allama Jafari has reflected upon these questions in a very systematic manner in his works on ‘The Conscience’ (2002), ‘Intelligible Life’ (1998), ‘Message of Wisdom’ (1997) and ‘Man and Sociology’ (1976).

The main issues in these works could be summarized in five key points, namely 1) loss of individuality, 2) loss of autonomy, 3) lack of individual freedom and absence of free-will, 4) specialization and loss of discernment, and 5) disintegration of value and virtue and separation of both from human existence (leben versus system).

Of course, there is no doubt that the critical wing of social theory has been occupied by similar concerns which could be of crucial importance for the students of comparative sociological studies. For instance, we can refer to works carried out by Barry Smart (1999), Max Weber (1991), Cary Boucock (2000), David B. Grusky (2000), Michael Baurmann (2002), and Samuel Slipp (1981).

Within sociological discourse, one should make an explicit distinction between ‘relationship’ and ‘communication’ as in all kinds of relationships there is an element of communication or relatedness but

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the other way around is not always the case.

In other words, the concept of relation-ship is based on the idea of ‘communication’ which entails a sense of ‘communion’ and related to a human community where ties of friendships, bonds of unions, and webs of affections exist between human individuals while in the context of communication there is a sense of systemness, formality and lack of in-depth affiliation.

For instance, in the modern states of contemporary world system, there are various ministries such as ministry of education, ministry of transport and ministry of communication but there is not a single reference to a governmental office of ministry of relationship. Why is this so? Because the modern government is a machinery of bureaucratic rules, while the textures of human relationship is part of lebenswelt and follows different rules than those represented by systemwelt which works in accordance to kommunkationstechnik.

In other words, in the context of relationship it is the ‘menschliche faktor’ or human element which is of crucial significance while in the context of communication, it is the ‘technical element’ which takes the upper hand. It seems that Allama Jafari has been conscious of these problems and therefore he has argued that when we speak about the subject matter of sociology it should be clear from the outset that the subject of sociological studies is ‘human social relations’.

To put otherwise, the crucial role of human element should not be disregarded or treated as an epiphenomenon and wherever this factor

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is under threat then we, as sociologists, should find out the underlying causes of these detrimental modes in human societies. By reflecting upon the relational nature of social life, he argues that

… there are sociologists who argue that the subject matter of sociology is ‘social relations’. This is fair enough but what does it mean in concrete terms? Does it mean that sociology incline towards society over against individual? Or does it mean that disciplinary sociology is based on an equal approach to both individual and society? As far as I understand, it seems that the disciplinary sociology, in despite of many earnest attempts, has not been able to come to terms with the relation between the individual and the social.

There could be many methodological and metaphysical reasons for such a dash but the brief answer is that the disciplinary sociologists have not taken the subject (equipped with body, psyche and soul) very seriously. The question of human subject is deeply intertwined with the problem of ‘I-ness’ which is of towering importance in any sociological inquiry. (Jafari,1976. Ch. 1)

Modern Disciplinary Rationality

The relation or rather the lack of relation between science and metaphysics is of crucial importance in the constitution of modern disciplinary rationality. The concept of rationality is not an innocent notion within the parameters of human sciences as we are faced with two forms of rationality in the Weberian sense, i.e. the formal rationality and the substantive rationality.

Before getting into the differences between these types and their respective distinction

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with ‘essential intellection’ it would be more constructive to define each of these concepts for the purpose of our discussion on Allama Jafari. By rationality, Weber refers to an orientation to reality which weighs up the means and ends of action in a straightforward and pragmatic manner.

When Weber speaks of rationality, he distinguishes into the formal and the substantive rationality. The primary type refers to a category of decision making which is subject to calculation that goes into an action to increase its chance of success. Its decisive feature is that it eliminates an orientation to values because they are non- technical.

Rationality is formal when problems are solved by the application of technical criteria. The second form of rationality refers to a type of decision making which is subject to values and an appeal to ethical norms.

Substantive rationality does not take into account the nature of outcomes. In other words, Weber argues that formal rationality had replaced substantive rationality, because bureaucracy stresses a technical orientation to means and ends. (Nozick, 1993) To complicate the matter even further, we should note that while substantive rationality within the Weberian paradigm is of crucial importance in terms of existential concerns but it is still operating within a particular form where the diminishing role of values is lamented rather than reflecting upon the significance of virtue in the constitution of self and society.

In other words, while we agree that Weber had been a step further than his contemporary positivist colleagues

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due to his incessant engagements with Russian literary philosophy a la Dostoevsky but this does not mean that he has been disloyal to modern metaphysical vision. By distinguishing between form and substance of rationality, Weber may seem to move towards ethical concerns which have been relegated to the periphery of the spirit of capitalism but this is only on the surface as both form and substance are part of the conceptual realm of cognition.

In other words, the question of essence which is deeply interconnected to debates on ethics, morality, self, reality, religion, metaphysics, and many other essential dimensions of human existence does not have any crucial place in discursive form of rational engagement.

What I want to say is that the crisis of humanities and social sciences is not divorced from these issues and those who are interested in the reintroduction of humanism in the body of modern world system would fail if they ignore these concerns which are of fundamental importance in human existence.

To put it differently, to emphasize on the importance of value over against instrumental outlook on life without realizing that the value is a fruit of the tree of virtue which without it would lose its underlying principle for people who have lost touch with the soil of reality. Allama Jafari belongs to the camp of theorists who endorse the reintroduction of metaphysical concerns in the body of humanities rather than refraining from metaphysical contemplation in the context of humanities. He argues that:

… within modern

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science there is a tendency to avoid metaphysics by arguing that the latter is synonymous to supernaturalism and science has nothing to do with para- rational discourses. The question is not about supernatural para-rationalism but the main issue is human subject that is equipped with a psyche and this very psyche is consisted of thousands of activities. When this multifaceted psyche takes a social shape then this social modality gets multiplied by thousands of facets. This is of crucial importance in delineating metaphysical aspects of the subject matter of sociology, i.e. ‘relation’. In other words, when the term ‘relation’ is employed within our frame of reference we refer to the ‘multifaceted essence’

of relation which has appeared as a complex social modality. In other words, ‘I-relatedness’ should be fundamentally clarified so we could be able to comprehend which relation is of positive or negative nature. This could not be understood empirically but metaphysically. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 1)

For Allama Jafari, human being was the focal point of any attempt to change or transform the state of affairs. In his view, the art of management could be distinguished into two types or kinds; in the first type, the managerial paradigm was aimed to restore human dignity by abstaining from reification of relationships while in the second type, the governing philosophy was aimed to reduce the locus of human element by focusing on instrumental factors in human societies. (Jafari, 1998)

In other words, social systems and personality characters could be viewed in terms of

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necrophilia and biophilia which refer to destructive as well as constructive tendencies in Frommesque style of doing sociology. (Miri, 2010. p 77) This is to state that what Fromm refers to as necrophilic mode is equivalent to Allama Jafari’s reified modality and what Allama Jafari terms as realizing modality is what Fromm considers as biophilic modality.

These kinds of similarities force us to think about the possibilities of confluence of thought and comparative significance of eastern and western paradigms in the works of thinkers such as Allama Jafari and Eric Fromm. To put it differently, could one argue that the concern with the crucial importance of human being in some worldviews is part of the humanist tradition in the context of sociology?

If the answer is affirmative then what is the effect of such a tradition on the body of humanities and human sciences in relation to human issues as well as problematiques? To put it otherwise, how could we establish a connection between the humanist tradition and Allama Jafari’s concern with centrality of humanity (human being, human personality, human character, human conscience and self-realization versus self- alienation) without disregarding the atheistic tendencies in modern humanism which is alien to Allama Jafari’s metaphysical position?

Human-ism or the Question of Self-Realization?

To tackle these questions we need to elaborate the concept of humanism and how it is defined within the sociological tradition. The question of humanism and its relation to sociological imagination is as old as the discipline of sociology.

However, the history of this relation seems to go

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back to Polish philosopher-turned-sociologist, Florian Znaniecki. It is a methodology which treats its objects of study and its students, that is, humans, as composites of values and systems of values. In certain contexts, the term is related to other sociological domains such as anti-positivism.

Humanistic sociology seeks to throw light on questions such as, ‘What is the relationship between a man of principle and a man of opportunism?’ It can be seen that any answer to such a question must draw on experience and facts from many disciplines. In the words of Tom Arcaro (1995),

… humanistic sociology is . It is a belief in human dignity and worth. It is a personal yet rigorously professional effort to push the just a little closer to the .

To bridge between the realm of and is what Allama Jafari tried to accomplish. Humanism has been defined differently by various thinkers within a mixture of distinct intellectual paradigms and also shunned by many religious thinkers in Iran and elsewhere, such as Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Syed Naghib al- Attas.

These latter groups have shunned the position of humanism due to a particular definition which seems to suggest a humano-centered world rather than theo-centered world that is purported to be the true message of revelations. However, Allama Jafari seems to present a more nuanced version of humanism of Frommesque type which does not exclude religious concerns while wholeheartedly includes existentialistic vision of humanism. In other words, Allama Jafari seems to suggest what

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Fromm argued on this issue, namely the belief that

… man is indeed forced to choose between a renewal of humanism- of taking seriously the spiritual foundations of our … culture, which is a foundation of humanism or- having no future at all. (Fromm, 1994: 78)

To put it differently, human-ism or centrality of self-realization is of pivotal significance in the thought of Allama Jafari and it plays a very important role in the constitution of his theories on self, society, religion, politics and lebensphilosophie. By centrality of self- realization in Allama Jafari’s outlook I refer to what Fromm elaborates as

… the supreme concern for the unfolding of those qualities by virtue of which man is man … . (1994: 97)

These qualities by virtue of which an individual is able to progress to the heights of humanity are the essences of constructive mysticism. (Jafari, 2012) In addition, Allama Jafari believes that modernism has targeted these human qualities by virtue of which man could traverse the thorny path of self-realization or humanization of self and society. (Jafari, 1998)

In other words, in the heart of Allama Jafari’s sociological theory there is a reflective dread over the well- being/felicity of human self as well as human society both vertically and horizontally. This may seem by some professional sociologists to be a sinful act as this looks like we are crossing over the boundaries of disciplinary sociology.

This is correct as Allama Jafari is not a disciplinary thinker but a scholar who works within the parameters

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of primordial school of social theory. His sociological concerns are to be understood within a larger context which is similar to continental tradition of lebensphilosophie a la Henri Bergson and Erich Fromm.

To put it differently, this is to argue that every sociological theory is based on some background assumptions and these assumptions as far as disciplinary social sciences are concerned are discursive rationality, rationalism, empiricism, naturalism, negative metaphysics, disjointing of reason and intellect, division of cogito and leben, and the philosophy of modernism.

However, these assumptions are not shared by primordial social thinkers such as Allama Jafari who seems to have different background assumptions which make his sociological concerns very deeply intertwined with concerns embedded within the discourse of lebensphilosophie.

Lebensphilosophie and Human Predicament

There are at least two senses in which the term philosophy is used, a disciplinary and an undisciplinary sense. In the disciplinary sense philosophy is an academic study of the fields of metaphysics, ethics, epistemology, logic, and social philosophy.

However when we employ the term lebensphilosophie in relation to Allama Jafari we refer to philosophy in the informal sense, as a way of life by focusing on resolving the existential questions about the human condition. By human condition within the body of Allama Jafari’s work we refer to a struggle between what is (existence) and what ought (essence) to be.

The human condition encompasses the unique and inescapable features of being human in a social, cultural, and personal context. It can be described as the irreducible part of humanity that is

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inherent and not connected to factors such as gender, race or class. It includes concerns such as a search for purpose, sense of curiosity, the inevitability of isolation, or the fear of death. The ‘’human condition’’ is especially studied through the set of disciplines and sub-fields that make up the humanities.

The study of history, philosophy, literature, and the arts all help understand the nature of the human condition and the broader cultural and social arrangements that make up human lives. The human condition is the subject of such fields of study as philosophy, theology, sociology, psychology, anthropology, demographics, evolutionary biology, cultural studies, and sociobiology.

The philosophical school of existentialism deals with the ongoing search for ultimate meaning in the human condition. Although the term itself may have gained popular currency with André Malraux’s novel (1933) and René Magritte’s paintings 1933 1935, both titled La Condition Humaine, and with Hannah Arendt’s work and Masaki Kobayashi’s film trilogy (1959-1961) which examined these and related concepts, the quest to understand the human condition dates back to the first attempts by humans to understand themselves and their place in the universe.

There are several theories as to what humans all have in common. A popular example is that humans search for purpose, are curious and thrive on new information. High-level thought processes, such as self- awareness, rationality, and sapience, are considered to be defining features of what constitutes a ‘’person’’.

The existentialist psychotherapist Irvin D. Yalom has identified what he refers to

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as the four "givens" or ultimate concerns of human existence - concerns with meaning, loneliness, freedom and mortality. Yalom argues with Sartre that man is ‘’condemned to freedom’’, and must face his ultimate aloneness, the lack of any unquestionable ground of meaning, and ultimate mortality.

In other words, we are faced with normative situations (alternatives, choice, freedom, values, standards, ideals, obligation, and responsibility) and existential predicaments (finitude, alienation, anxiety, guilt, ambivalence, and thrownness).

To put it otherwise; there are at least three prevailing theories on how to respond to the existential question: 1) denial of essence; 2) affirmation of both essence and existence; and 3) denial of existence. In addition, it should be mentioned that religion has been functioning as an attempt to overcome the existential predicament.

In this fashion, we could mention two broad orientations of religious existentialism (religious existentialism holds that there are two levels of reality, essence, which is the ground of Being and existence. Religion is the ultimate concern, in this view) and atheistic existentialism (atheistic existentialism holds that there is one level of reality, existence. In this view, each person constructs his own unique and temporary essence).

Now the question is how to locate Allama Jafari in terms of both the existential question and existential predicament? He seems to answer the existential questions based on the second paradigm where both essence and existence are part and parcel of the same and one paradigm – and his position as far as existential predicaments are concerned leans strongly towards

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the religious existentialist position of thinkers such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Tillich.

One of the perils of modern perspective in a systematic fashion is the question of ‘Atheism’ which has resulted in naturalism both as an ontological modality and epistemological mode as well as an existential praxis. Atheism has been defined by atheists themselves as the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.

But this is not what atheism is all about and the belief in deities is not tantamount to belief in God in accordance to religio perennis or revealed religious traditions. On the contrary, the question at stake is adherence to the principle of intelligibility of life or obedience to the principle of unintelligibility of life which is the demarcating factor between religionists and atheists.

By naturalism, we do not refer to the definition which has been designed by atheists who have moved from the ‘’negating theology’’ towards other domains of intellectual activities. Naturalism has been defined by atheists as a philosophical viewpoint that the natural universe and its natural laws and forces operate in the universe, and that nothing exists beyond the natural universe or, if it does, it does not affect the natural universe that we know.

Said differently, this definition is based on a latent contrast to the principle of intelligibility of life which is endorsed by proponents of transcendental wisdom philosophy. That is to argue that naturalism in this fashion is contrasted with supernaturalism and this latter is defined within the paradigm of atheism which

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is not related to the concepts of ‘nature’ and ‘supra’ as they are understood within the parameters of religio perennis.

In other words, the questions of humanities and the poetry of human person should be sensitized to these fundamental differences which are of perennial importance in the constitution of self and society. Having problematized these questions one could now turn to the problem of naturalism in human sciences.

To put it differently, how should one problematize the concept of ‘human being’ within the context of human sciences? Could one think of humanity in all its dimensions within the paradigm of naturalism? Is a naturalist approach, to say differently, to human problems possible? The publication in 1959 of the University of Cambridge Rede Lecture by C. P. Snow, entitled The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution, is justly remembered for posing this brilliant question before anyone who is interested in humanities and the destiny of humanity at large.

Sir Charles’ account of the growing communication barrier between practitioners of the natural sciences and technical fields, on the one hand, and the arts and humanities, on the other, inspired a veritable blizzard of urbane invective throughout the globe. Allama Jafari has pondered upon this problem by arguing that the subject matter of sociological inquiry should not be reduced to any other phenomenon than being. In other words, if

… a psychologist is working in the field of psychology and interested in problems such as association of ideas, attention, memory and fantasy then s/he should

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not neglect the fact that each of these are organically interconnected and constitute a whole. In other words, the human being should always be taken as a whole as the subject matter of sociology (i.e. human person) is fundamentally different than the subject matter of natural sciences and any negligence in this regard would disrupt the very subject of sociological inquiry.

Now if the reader would ask me why am I insisting upon the indissolubility of human being as an integrated whole? In that case the brief answer would be that if this whole is neglected in the equation of sociological analysis then what we consider as ‘society’ would not be a possibility worthy of scientific inquiry. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 1)

If we consider the questions regarding meaning of life in a serious fashion and constitutive aspects of sociological background assumptions which could color the very backbones of our theoretical engagements then it would be inevitable to take issue with this problematique as the meaning of life problematique occupies a pivotal position within Allama Jafari’s overall sociological enterprise.

The meaning of life is the concept that provides an answer to the philosophical question concerning the purpose and importance of life or existence in general. This concept can be expressed through answering a variety of related questions, such as ‘’Why are we here?’’, ‘’What is life all about?’’, and ‘’What is the meaning of it all?’’ It has been the subject of much philosophical, scientific, gnostic and theological speculation throughout history. There

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have been a large number of theories to these questions from many different cultural and ideological backgrounds.

The meaning of life is fundamentally intertwined with the philosophical and religious conceptions of existence, social ties, consciousness, and happiness, and touches many other issues, such as symbolic meaning, ontology, value, purpose, ethics, good and evil, free will, conceptions of God, conceptions of humanity, the existence of God, the soul, and the afterlife.

Scientific contributions focus more on describing related empirical facts about the universe; they largely shift the question from ‘’why?’’ to ‘’how?’’ and provide context and parameters for meaningful conversations on such problematiques. Of course, the value of the question pertaining to the purpose of life may coincide with the achievement of ultimate reality, or a feeling of oneness, or a feeling of sacredness.

Allama Jafari seems to argue that religion as a model for inquiring about the meaning of life and as one of the most significant dimensions of man’s weltanschauung should be taken seriously in the study of social problems. Because human beings build up features of their personality based on the dialectics between nature and nurture in the soil of society and one of the most pivotal dimensions in the constitution of self and society is the religious impulse.

In other words, when working as a sociologist one should realize that the nature of background assumptions could alter the path of theory-building and concept-formation as the human condition is the stage where a brokenness has occurred between the realm

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of ‘’is’ and ‘’ought-to’’. Within sociological enterprise one needs to take into consideration the significance of meaning o life problematique or weltanschauung as,

… the existence appears before the eyes of a religious personality in a different fashion than a person who lacks the religious impulse. It is noteworthy that religion colors personality in a fundamental fashion. (Jafari, 1976. Ch 1)

How to conceptualize the relation between religion and personality in the primordial sense, which is of significance in Allama Jafari’s sociological perspective, is one of the most interesting comparative questions for anyone who is interested in a non- Eurocentric sociology. Allama Jafari argues that the nature of human life could be conceptualized either in a naturalistic frame of reference or in an intelligible fashion.

In each of these paradigms the very reality of life and the very life of reality are interpreted differently which could affect the textures of sociological theories at the level of background assumptions. In other words, constructive religiosity would change the fabric of personality by altering the frame of one’s reference both teleologically and sociologically. In Allama Jafari’s parlance,

… constructive religiosity … would awaken human being by altering the textures of personality and transform the frame of reference from a nature-oriented paradigm into an intelligible framework. (2012. p 25)

Chapter 4: Sociology and Three Kinds of Relationships


Allama Jafari speaks about three kinds of relationships in his sociological inquiries. In other words, there are three general kinds of relationships between individuals in any society: 1. Natural, 2. Psychological, and 3. Contractual.

Natural Relationship

The most common relation

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is the natural relationship which is divided itself into two groups; 1) Deterministic-Intrinsic Type and 2) Deterministic-Extrinsic Type. For instance, the question of instinctual movement and its saturation are parts of the natural relationship and also of deterministic nature.

Because the instinct exists as a need and a faculty within our body and due to the fact that its presence is of an inherent nature then its relational function is of deterministic character. In other words, the instinctual relationships are of fundamental importance to the integrity of human life. Any human individual is born with this innate ability which makes the relationship between male and female a matter of impulse and not choice.

In other words, when one speaks of free will in this level it should be noted that the very question of impulse is not the issue but how it is exemplified is the problem here. To put it differently; who to choose as a spouse is dependent on the will of the subject but the very question of compulsion to choose the opposite sex is not optional but instinctual.

This is the simplest and also the most essential kind of relationship between human beings. Now we can turn to the question of extrinsic relationship among human beings which are not optional but compulsory within the natural realm of relationship in accordance to Allama Jafari’s approach.

For example, individuals in a society decide to cooperate with each other against external enemy forces or dangers such as flood which would

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assist them in defending themselves. This is an example of a compulsory relationship but of an extrinsic nature as the external dangers either natural or human have forced humanity along its historical course to build coalitions with each other in various different forms of relationships.

It seems both in the past and in the present time most of human relationships have had the same origins, namely building various kinds of relationships within societies against the stronger forces of nature or otherwise as without these alliances the life of the human society may have terminated in toto. Within sociological context one should be able to distinguish between different types of relationships as to treat these multifaceted relations all in the same fashion would be mistaken. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 1)

Psychological Relationship


The psychological relationship is composed of three different but interrelated types of relationships, namely a) Inherently deterministic association of psychological nature, b) Extrinsically deterministic affiliation of psychological nature, and c) Psychological relationship based on freedom and will.

a) Inherently deterministic association of psychological nature

These types of relationships are caused either by philanthropic emotions or passions which are associated to philanthropic inclination rooted in the soil of human self. For example, I, by nature, perceive that you are a human being (part of human species) and similar to me in humanity. In other words, this quality is not dependent upon any external factor.

When you are a human being and my fellowman then this, by itself, is an indication that we have certain common characteristics such as ‘thought’, ‘joys’, ‘pains’ and

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so on and so forth. Thus these common qualities create a sense of fellowship which is called inherently deterministic association of psychological nature. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 1)

b) Extrinsically deterministic affiliation of psychological nature

When the common denominator is ‘belief’, ‘country’, ‘race’, ‘culture’ or whatever else of this category then we are faced by extrinsic affiliations which are of both psychological and deterministic origin. Co-raciality, for instance, is not a matter of physical dimension but rooted in the soil of psychological relationship. Because when two people belong to the same race this sense of belongingness is not authentically of physical but psychological origin.

On the other hand, all of us are born in the same land and belong to the same historical era and by tracing back our genealogical roots we may find the same forefathers or racial family tree. In other words, as these types of relationships are deterministic by definition and they are not either of inherent nature as well as dependent upon external relationships then we can categorize them as extrinsically deterministic affiliation of psychological nature. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 1)

c) Psychological relationship based on freedom and will

We could talk about this kind of relationship when associations are based on shared belief or common ideology provided they are based on self-awareness and freedom-cum-will. These types of relationships do appear in people who have reached certain kinds of intellectual advancements, i.e. those personalities who have achieved the state of reflexivity.

In other words, these types of personalities do not feel content by following the dominant social norms but are able to question the norms,

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look for truths, go beyond the clichés and seek the paths of self-actualization.(1)

They, unlike the majority, do not settle for received wisdom but follow their own profound concerns which may result in novel kinds of associations. In other words, by following their own sublime concerns they create affiliations which are of mental character and also based on free-will. These affiliations are of great significance for the being of human self as an emancipative personality. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 1)

Contractual Relationship


This kind of relationship itself is consisted of two other types, i.e. the deterministic contract and the voluntarily contract.

a) Deterministic Contract

When Allama Jafari talks about deterministic kind of contractual relationships he refers to dominant legal, economic, and political relationships in a certain society. Among individuals, groups and people in a certain society one can discern these kinds of relationships which are involuntarily in the strict sense of the term. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 1)

b) Voluntarily Contract

This type of relationship is consisted of all commitments and voluntary contracts including international/national commitments as well as private and public agreements. To highlight these kinds of relationships Allama Jafari refers to following examples: one may, for instance, commit her/himself to study regularly from the coming week or sign a contract with a factory to produce specific goods on an exact date. The list could be longer but … we settle for the aforementioned examples which demonstrate clearly what it is meant by associations based on voluntarily contract. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 1)

The fundamental principles of human relationships belong to the field of psychology

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1- Self-actualization is a term that has been used in various psychology theories, often in slightly different ways. Although the term was used earlier by thinkers such as Kurt Goldstein but the concept was brought most fully to prominence in Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory as the final level of psychological development that can be achieved when all basic and mental needs are fulfilled and the ‘’actualization’’ of the full personal potential takes place. (Maslow, 1968. p 204) In a work by Allama Jafari entitled Epistemology of Human Being: The Ascendency Path of Growth (2006) one could discern profound similarities between Maslow’s concept of self-actualization and Allama Jafari’s notion of ‘’ascendency’’ (Jafari, 2006. p 171) which require us to carry out systematic cross-cultural comparisons between these two seemingly unrelated theoretical systems. Sayyid Mohsen Fatemi from Harvard University has carried out such a research on psychology and Allama Jafari which is due to be published by London Academy of Iranian Press in United Kingdom in June 2012.

but it should be noted that the aforementioned threefold relationships are demonstrated with different quantities and qualities in a societal context. Although these principles constitute the crucial crux of primary relationships but one should not assume that the boundaries between each of these affiliations are fixed.

On the contrary, the precincts are fluid and hard to territorialize in a solid fashion. In Allama Jafari’s words, when analyzing a case in this context it is not easy to determine to what extent the relationship is of contractual or natural nature.

Thus a sociologist should not treat her/his subject-matters as physical cases in isolated fashions but human relationships should be considered in a constant connection with one another within the webs of societal interactions.

For instance, when the relationship between the opposite sexes is a matter of inquiry it should be remarked that this relationship is rooted in the natural proclivity of human being which means the sexual instinct falls under the category of natural relationship. But it should be carefully noted that the subject-matter of our inquiry is human being which by its very definition it gives birth to psychological problems.

In other words,

… although the instinctual inclinations are of natural origin but these natural proclivities when expressed at the human level could not be confined solely to the natural plane. It is not hard to conceive that when we choose a partner we may have different criteria for our choice such as beauty, personality, and education. This entails psychological issues apart from

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sexual considerations which may primarily come to fore. When the couple is considered in their societal dimension then legal issues may enter to the equation as one will be treated as a husband and the other as the wife as well as the offspring which together give rise to various possible contractual relationships.

Therefore if the relationships are inquired on instinctual basis then the character of affiliations should be seen as purely natural. But due to the fact that individuals in their collective associations and societal life do not settle for this level of relationship and moreover there are issues of procreations in society and adoption of social roles which pave the way for establishment of contractual relationship … … … and legal issues should be erected for the formation of social order and solidification of family institution … . (Jafari, 1976. Ch.

To put it differently, the tripartite relationships are not three disparate issues without any fundamental connection to one another. On the contrary,

… these relationships should be considered in dynamic and interdependent fashions and moreover each of these tripartite associations, in despite of their systemic relationships, go through transformations due to various different kinds of situations. For instance, when the culture and civilization of any nation goes through vital changes then the forms of relationships do get transformed too; namely, some relationships increase and others decrease. In a nutshell, the characteristics and qualities as well as features of relationships follow the cycles of changes and transformations in a fundamental

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fashion. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 2)

By dividing the human relationships into three different but interrelated kinds of associations Allama Jafari argues that we should in the next step split up three tripartite forms of affiliations into three movements in reference to what he terms as transformational trend.

Primary Movement

By primary movement Allama Jafari refers to progressive and prosperous movements such as reproduction in sexual relationships; defensive movements for obtaining power; or progressive movements in domains of civilization and culture and so on and so forth.

The curve of movement in natural relationship could go upward or downward. For instance, in reference to sexual instinct as a form of relationship, the reproductive instinct is per se desirable. The wisdom of nature

… has bestowed upon humanity such a wonderful design that a hefty desire to function as a drive which would assure the cycle of human reproduction ad infinitum. If there was no desire or passion between the sexes the human population could not grow to this extent on the planet. Needles to state that in regard to sexual relationships the main reason could be primarily referred to the importance of ‘desire’ in this context and secondarily one could think of reproduction and having offspring. A cursory look at the social life and its various forms and varieties demonstrate clearly that although not having children could cause some sort of inconvenience nevertheless the more important issue, i.e. ‘desire’ has been fulfilled. Thus the question of desire is an issue on its own right in human context,

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which should not be neglected as an epiphenomenon. In other words, beauty has its own locus within the parameters of human life as human being is essentially aesthete and delights over beauty. It should be vehemently emphasized that this aesthetical yearning is part of being human. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 2)

Psychological relationships in comparison to natural associations seem to be clearer in terms of transformations

… as in the natural relationship the source of affiliation is principally constant (e.g. sexual pleasure and the invariable source of sexual instinct) which makes the possibility of transformation very meager. But as far as the psychological relationships are concerned the transformations and alterations are both prominent and significant. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 2)

Allama Jafari takes a very primitive society as an example. He argues that in such a society the ‘relationship’

… is solely confined to the exercise of power where the powerful rules over the weak and powerless. But along the course of history and due to social growth the geometry of relationships get more complicated and multifaceted which make the very principle of dominance (in the form of dominance of powerful over the powerless), in despite of its presence, in its conventional sense meaningless. Because in more developed societies the very exterior as well as interior dimensions of relationship has evolved in a very unprecedented fashion which makes the antique forms of power relationship unfeasible. The relationship between master and disciple, colleague and coworker, teacher and student, faithful and unfaithful, us and them and all kinds of

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associations which touch the boundaries of dialogue or conflict and cooperation or enmity are forms of psychological relationships. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 2)

Allama Jafari goes even further by arguing that even the relationship between master and slave is not a natural relationship but a psychological association. In other words, the being of humanity is based on the pre-epistemological notion of soul which plays a very vital role in the constitution of metaphysical dimensions of alethia or truth.

To deny this spiritual dimension of human self is tantamount to reduction of psychological aspect into natural relationship. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 2) To speak about ‘Human Being’ is tantamount to hold a normative approach to the subject matter. Thus we need to clarify what kinds of background assumptions we hold.

Do we assume that human self has a human nature? Or do we refer to the socially constructed human person in our sociological analysis? If we reduce the human relationships solely into the contractual and natural affiliations then

… rest assured that the vision of humanity would be a materialistic/unidimensional imago of human self which, in turn, would result finally in degrading relationship in human societies. Because if we assume that the establishment of spiritual relationship is a possibility of highest importance then we can reach to more sublime shores of realization and transcendence which are not feasible within the parameters of either natural or contractual relationships. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 2)

Another important issue is the problem of conceptual unclarity in sociological analyses. Allama Jafari raises a

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metasociological question in terms of whatness of sociology. In other words, the unclarity of sociological concepts seems to be a disclarity problem, i.e. the quality of being inconsistent. To put it otherwise, why is there so much confusion over the very state of social and human sciences? It seems Allama Jafari is trying to find out what are the problems in the contexts of naturalistic versus humanistic approaches to social and human sciences by arguing that our

… conception of mental and substantive concepts is indeterminate and problematic. The concepts are sometimes so disorganized and muddled that a comprehensible debate over human science issues may seem often an unachievable task. If we approach the prime subject of human sciences, i.e. human being from the vantage point of evolutionism then reductionism is the only game in town as in this approach the being of human self is practically no different than those in the animal kingdom. In this context, the quality of ‘relationship’ is not substantially different in the natural context over against psychological dimension. In delineating the boundaries between various schools of sociology the pivotal role of values is undeniable and this is the dominant reason why sociologists are unable to agree upon fundamental questions of sociology. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 2)

Second Movement

While the primary movement is constructive the second movement is downward and destructive. The movement towards

… destruction/demolition/devastation/desolation/despondency is called the second movement such as the fall of civilizations and collapse of societies’ cultures. This kind of movement could occur within the

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context of natural relationships. For instance, when the water resources are dried out in a village and famine may break out then the village could get transformed but this change is not of the first order. On the contrary, the transformation in this case is of the second order, i.e. the downward movement which ultimately leads to desolation and destruction. Another example could be the fall of ancient nations and civilizations where the beneficial factors are considered as harmful and detrimental factors are viewed as favorable trends. By losing sight and embarking upon a mistaken path they may have created the necessary conditions for change in their respective societies but the curve of movement, unlike the primary move, is downward and destructive. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 2)

Third Movement

This kind of motion applies to movements in a constant path within society which

… may lead neither to constructive nor destructive movement but to minor transformations. For instance, when in the mind of an artist or a scientist a new idea sparks this could lead towards some kind of changes within the larger society without being destructive or constructive in the aforementioned sense. However these changes are essentially favorable in terms of transformation by generating a novel element in the fabric of society which, in turn, could be instrumental in the future transformations. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 2)

The ‘Social’ as Demiurge

The majority of debates within the context of social sciences are related to the relation between the individual and the society. In other words, to what extent does the

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society play a role in the constitution of self and vice versa? In addition, what is the role of agency in the constitution of social life?

An individual who has a purpose for her/his own self-realization and consciously attempts to keep her/his integrity before the social forces what will be left of the uniqueness in each person’s individuality in the midst of social incursion to all corners of human self? Assuming that the impact of society is constructive but still it does not make up for the incursion which stifles the very existence of individuality by pushing everyone towards collective conformitization.

Unlike the views expressed by extreme collectivists who argue that the individual is a product of society (either a product of geographical milieu or social environment), one should not be deluded that it is, in fact, the individual who could make the society.

Because if we assume otherwise and concede to the view expressed by the collectivists then morality (and all the ethical commands such as be good, be humane, act responsible, follow your conscience and so on and so forth) would sound futile. If we assume that all causalities and effects are of social origin then what we have done in practice is to demolish the individual from the equation of life. (Jafari, 1976. Ch.

In order to highlight his point on contingency versus permanence, Allama Jafari gives an example. He argues,

… let’s assume that a young man leaves his homeland and settles in the West. After some time he adopts

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himself to the extent that he becomes assimilated in the new culture. After a while he returns to his homeland. When you ask him what did happen to your first identity before leaving to the West he may answer that the identity that my society has endowed upon me was robbed from me by the new society. In other words, for this person issues such as personality, self and human nature seem ridiculous as aspects such as authenticity, mores, culture and ethic are all of social origin. When you change your social setting to a new one then all these contingent aspects transform too so you need to adopt new mores and manners as morality and ethic have no genuine significance. But the question is how valid is this position? Is this a valid point of departure? This is one of the most important issues

which constitute the backbone of human existence and without the human life could not be considered as an examined life. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 3)

In fact, to what extent could society impact upon individuals and vice versa? To what extent to be under the impact of environment is related to the authority of an individual and to what capacity is dependent on the social factors? To be affected by society is a sign of individual weakness or an indication of totalitarian social organization? (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 3) There are three fundamental questions which could be raised when we think on social life of human beings:

1. How much

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transactions and interactions could occur between human beings?

2. To what extent could the social life confine the individual life?

3. To what extent could the co-existence between individuals in a society lead to suppression of ideas and change of what an individual stand for?

In sum, one should know that the individual life is different than the collective life where social interactions play a crucial role. (Allama Jafari, 1976. Ch. 3) The concept of ‘social interaction’ has not been fully conceptualized within the theoretical framework of Allama Jafari and this may make the issue very complicated.

Because the very concept of ‘social interaction’ has been productively conceptualized by proponents of American social interactionism who have derived social processes (such as conflict, cooperation, identity formation) from human interaction by focusing on the subjective aspects of social life, rather than on objective, macro-structural aspects of social systems.

Chapter 5: Human Sciences, Values and Understanding

Values and Understanding in Human Sciences

The subject matter of sociology is human behavior in society. All social behavior is guided by values. Thus the study of social behavior can never be value-free if value freedom is interpreted in the sense of absence of values because values of the society under investigation form a part of the social facts to be studied by sociology. Moreover social research is in itself a type of social behavior and is guided by the value of search for true knowledge. In other words, the values can operate at three levels:

1. At the level of philological interpretation.

2. At the level of ethical interpretation in assigning value to

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an object of enquiry.

3. At the level of rational interpretation in which the sociologists seeks the meaningful relationship between phenomena in terms of causal analysis. The point of value interpretation is to establish the value towards which an activity is directed.

Sociologists should observe value neutrality while conducting social research. It means that s/he should exclude ideological or non- scientific assumption from research. S/he should not make evaluative judgment about empirical evidence. Value judgment should be restricted to sociologists' area of technical competence.

S/he should make her/his own values open and clear and refrain from advocating particular values. Value neutrality enables the social scientists to fulfill the basic value of scientific enquiry that is search for true knowledge. Thus sociology being a science cherishes the goal of value neutrality. According to Alvin Gouldner value-free principle did

enhance the autonomy of sociology where it could steadily pursue basic problems rather than journalistically react to passing events and allowed it more freedom to pursue questions uninteresting either to the respectable or to the rebellious. It made sociology freer as Comte had wanted it to be -to pursue all its own theoretical implications.

Value free principle did contribute to the intellectual growth and emancipation of the enterprise. Value-free doctrine enhanced freedom from moral compulsiveness; it permitted a partial escape from the parochial prescriptions of the sociologists' local or native culture. Effective internalization of the value-free principle has always encouraged at least a temporary suspension of the moralizing reflexes built into the sociologist by her/his own society.

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The value-free doctrine has a paradoxical potentiality; it might enable researchers/scientists to make better value judgments rather than none. It could encourage a habit of mind that might help sociologists in discriminating between their punitive drives and their ethical sentiments. However in practice it has been extremely difficult to fulfill this goal of value neutrality. Values creep in various stages in sociological research. According to Gunnar Myrdal total value neutrality is impossible.

In other words, chaos does not organize itself into cosmos. To put it otherwise, we need viewpoints. (Myrdal, 1958) Thus in order to carry out social research viewpoints are needed which form the basis of hypothesis which enables the social scientists to collect empirical data.

As a result a sociologist has to be value frank and should make the values which have got incorporated in the choice of the topic of the research of the formulation of hypothesis clear and explicit at the very outset in the research.

The value-free doctrine is useful both to those who want to escape from the world and to those who want to escape into it. They think of sociology as a way of getting ahead in the world by providing them with neutral techniques that may be sold on the open market to any buyer. The belief that it is not the business of sociologist to make value judgments is taken by some to mean that the market on which they can vend their skills is unlimited.

Some sociologists have had no

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hesitation about doing market research designed to sell more cigarettes although well aware of the implications of recent cancer research. According to Gouldner the value-free doctrine from Weber's standpoint is an effort to compromise two of the deepest traditions of the western thought, reason and faith but that his arbitration seeks to safeguard the romantic residue in modern man. Like Freud, Weber never really believed in an enduring peace or in a final resolution of this conflict. What he did was to seek a truce through the segregation of the contenders by allowing each to dominate in different spheres of life.

How all these debates are relevant to Allama Jafari? Of course, the question of ‘’relevancy’’ itself is a very paradoxical concept within sociological discourse as it is not unproblematic to demonstrate the relation between things which may not look related to each other based on the perspective of the beholder.

In other words, to those who consider the works of Allama Jafari as irrelevant to sociological discourses then the debates on the ‘’relevance’’ of Allama Jafari within a sociological paradigm are futile but we have, in the course of this work, showed that this view is unfounded. Because the questions of ‘’value’’, ‘’observation’’ and ‘’episteme’ have occupied the minds of many alternative social thinkers who have not operated within the paradigm of disciplinary social sciences. Allama Jafari, to my view, is one of the paragonic examples of this genre.

To put it otherwise, when Allama Jafari was debating these issues in

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Iran during seventies very few scholars even realized the scope of his critique which later on came to be known as subaltern theories versus mainstream theories. This view was only recognized in Europe and America by very few social scientists, such as Gunnar Myrdal from the 60s onwards. However, today these ideas have gained global momentum and few dare to neglect the problematic state of eurocentricity and other ills of disciplinary social sciences.

The claim of traditional science to analyze, describe and causally explain independently of any particular observers' evaluation and (value-neutrality) is unfounded, as already noted here. Value-neutrality may be important in certain research phases of establishing facts or in mediating conflicts, but if absolutised without it becomes entirely self-defeating. However, the full consequences of this fact have by no means been drawn in the practice of these sciences.

Types of Interventions in Human Sciences

In Allama Jafari’s view, the questions of positions and vectors are of pivotal significance within human sciences and complex to tackle indeed. Perhaps everybody approaches problems within society based on her/his own contextual position and in accordance to this particular viewpoint issues a verdict upon complex issues of human existence.

This perspectival approach to vital questions of human life is a common syndrome which needs to be explored extensively as in issues related to human being and also of primordial importance have metaphysical roots. In all kinds of epistemic pursuits, in general, and in sociology which deals with our destiny, in particular, we are faced with two kinds of interventions, i.e.

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unstudied type of interference, and intentional type of interference. (1976. Ch. 4)

The Unstudied Type of Interference

The first kind of interference is related to what Allama Jafari considers as the natural position of the researcher which is crucial in the fabric of her/his conclusions. Of course the researcher is not guilty of charge in this case, as the onus lies somewhere else which is beyond her/his reach, i.e. the milieu. In Allama Jafari’s words, the factors which were instrumental in the configuration of her/his personality have caused such a makeup. For instance, an individual who is squint-eyed would willy-nilly see one thing in a squinty fashion without being guilty of charge as her/his natural condition has caused such a vision. However, Allama Jafari argues that

…we cannot rely upon his optical vision either as her/his visual perception is not accurate. S/he may be a good person but her/his ocular observations could be unreliable. When, for instance, the moon seems to be two for a squint-eyed person while I can see only one moon in the sky with my own eyes or a telescope then it is verified for me that there is only one moon. Of course, I will not condemn her/him as this is due to the positional interference, i.e. based on her/his conditions the moon seems to be two instead of one. I, on the other hand, should be careful not to follow the verdicts which are the

results of positional interference in a sociological research. There are other characteristics such as specific ideology, race,

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class, and other aspects which may have dominated vital dimensions of the personality of a researcher in a fashion that one could link between worldview and layers of personality. (1976. Ch. 4)

In other words, our unintentional inclinations could color the fabric of our vision in a very fundamental fashion which could turn our research into a deeply biased narrative without any epistemological significance. To put it differently, one should distinguish between evaluative statements and actual value judgments.

All things considered, despite all the flipsides caused by the positional interferences

… it is undeniable that the interference of natural positions in sociological studies is both necessary and normal. When a student of social sciences reads the works carried by another social scientist who may have her/his own ideological inclinations or background assumptions which has driven her/him to conclude in certain fashion and explain the facts in reference to her/his particular framework - s/he could study problematiques and research conclusions without buying into her/his ideological assumptions. Of course, this is not an easy task but it is achievable for those who look at research data with armed sociological eyes. (1976. Ch. 4)

For instance, the primary and fundamental sociological rule in

Durkheim’s perspective is that one should make a distinction between

‘social facts’ and the sociologist who studies these facts. In other words, Durkheim argues that the social events should be approached as a thing out there. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 4) In Allama Jafari’s perspective,

… these two statements should be taken either as a sign of wishful

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thinking or unachievable ideals. (1976. Ch. 4)

Allama Jafari levels a critique at Durkheim by arguing that the validity of his statements are doubtful as well as one should not disregard the philosophical problem in Durkheim’s remarks, as one cannot infer based on the primary sociological rule as does Durkheim. It seems Allama Jafari comes very close to the Weberian position when he states that

… the sociologist should appraise the social fact apart and independent from her/his own position … by considering the society as an independent thing … in a fashion as though the sociologist is a mere spectator. This is not an accurate depiction of the logic of sociological studies … as this would lead us to consider society as a solidified entity … which would not be factually influenced by people’s attitudes. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 4)

The Intentional Type of Interference

The second type of intervention is, in the paradigm of Allama Jafari’s methodological approach, the ‘conscious interference’ in knowing the subject-matter. Our knowledge about natural phenomena and facts are generally outside the orbit of these kinds of interferences. In Allama Jafari’s words, whether we like or dislike a glass is a glass and the researcher’s intentions cannot affect the factual state of glass. Because the objects have realities of their own and our intentions cannot affect their objective positions and even our intentions would for some time cloud the state of affairs these cloudy states cannot endure the test of reality. However,

… when I state that I am a sociologist this would have

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some serious consequences in the future by those who may make assumptions based on my sociological assessments. (1976. Ch.4)

What does Allama Jafari mean by this? He explains his points by giving an example from the history of ideas. He argues when

… we look at the slavery in the history we see that grand thinkers such as Plato and Aristotle by being influenced by the dominant norms in their society assumed that the slavery is an inalienable fact of human social life. In other words, they assumed erroneously that human beings are essentially created as two different kinds of species, i.e. shepherd and herd. Now the question is how could such grand thinkers express such vulgar ideas? (1976. Ch. 4)

This question seems to be directed at Durkheim who in Allama Jafari’s view tended to neglect

… the role of education in making of sociological theories. In other words, when in the pantheon of knowledge we turn Plato and Aristotle as two fundamental pillars of reason then what will happen to young researchers who would like to approach the crucial questions of human paradoxes? Wouldn’t they be influenced by these fads and fables? Wouldn’t our socialization patterns or civilizational norms and cultural horizons affect our judgments in construing sociological theories? (1976. Ch.4)

These are questions which, Allama Jafari thinks sociologists such as Durkheim have neglected and need also urgent attention. Thus

… I may express that the state of society is like this at the current moment but in the course of future transformations our conceptions

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of theories on the social could change. The nature of social knowledge is very different than physical knowledge of material facts. (1976. Ch. 4)

Finally the natural interferences would,

… soon or later, appear and the facts see the light of the day. As in regard to elements and other issues in the history of human ideas many conceptions were naïve and rudimentary but the course of human reasoning changed many misconceptions about reality and the world which have been unprecedented. (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 4)

In other words, Allama Jafari seems to have a critical approach to the principle of ‘scientific accumulation’ as far as human sciences are concerned. To put it differently, he argues that

… one can discern in the history of ideas that our conceptions about natural issues have become more sophisticated but the same is not true about issues in humanities. For instance, the quest for validity of conscience in the constitution of human existence goes back as far as Egyptian Pharaohs but the question is still unresolved and specialists have not agreed upon the crucial authenticity of conscience yet. What is the position of sociology in this regard? (Jafari, 1976. Ch. 4)

In other words, how should we account for the arbitrary state of concepts and conceptual frameworks in social sciences, in general, and sociology, in particular? To put it differently, how far could one go with relativism? What are the underlying problems in disciplinary sociology in the sense that it is unable to equip modern self with a conscientious

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ethos? Said differently, is the absence of religion in the makeup of modern system interrelated to demise of conscience?

It seems Allama Jafari views the problematiques of conscience and religion at the same inseparable plane. In the Old Persian language there is one word for two concepts which we use today in English for conscience and religion, namely Daena. (Clark, 1998. Pp 69-70) Daena refers to religion and conscience in the Old Persian language. In other words, it seems ancient magus or wisdom philosophers did not differentiate between the realms of conscience and religion as modernists do today.

To put it otherwise, the underlying streams which run through the works of Allama Jafari are deeply intertwined with wisdom philosophy tradition where to be religious is tantamount to be conscientious and both are not devoid of insight in the realms of self and society.

Of course, it should be reemphasized that we do not employ the term ‘magus’ in the derogatory sense which was used by early Arab royalists (such as the supporters of Umayyad Dynasty) who considered Iranian people as ‘Majus’.(1)

On the contrary, when we speak of magus the term is used in the paradigm of Hafez (2) who refers to Pir-e Mugan as the principal wayfarer in the path of self- realization. In other words, the intellectual depth which constitutes the background assumptions of Allama Jafari’s theoretical universe has a long tradition that stretches back into antiquity in a successive fashion.

To put it otherwise, the making of alternative discourses in an

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1- This term refers to the Iranian religion which has been mentioned in Koran as one of the ‘People of the Book’ without any pejorative connotations. But later on, it has been employed by Arab royalists in a derogative fashion.
2- Khawja Shams al-Din Muhammad Hafez-e Shirazi, known by his pen name Hafez (1325/1326 – 1389/1390), was a Persian lyric poet. His collected works composed of series of Persian poetry (Divan) are to be found in the homes of most Iranians, who learn his poems by heart and use them as proverbs and sayings to this day. His life and poems has been the subject of much analysis, commentary and interpretation, influencing post-Fourteenth Century Persian writing more than any other author. He may be known as a poet to the world but he is more of a poet-philosopher who has expressed his ideas through the medium of poetry.

Iranian context could come about through working on intellectuals such as Allama Jafari whose discursive universe is connected organically to the streams of their tradition (1) in a meaningful fashion (2) where reason is not divorced from intellect and none is outside the realm of Daena.



Professor Dustin J. Byrd(3)

Western Michigan University

United States of America

In an age where the social sciences find themselves intellectually ghettoized, isolated not only from the broader society within which they function and study, but also from other forms of science and philosophical inquiry into the nature of reality, existence, and existential meaning, there comes thinkers that are able to bridge the gaps between not only the academic disciplines, but the sacred and secular, spirit and matter, East and West, etc., illuminating the elusive wholeness of existence that is so shattered in everyday perception.

In the thirteenth century, it was the Persian scholar/mystic Shams-i Tabrizi, who through his living wholeness, reconciliation of the spiritual and temporal, his mastery of the knowledge of the totality of the human condition – it's fragility, its temporality, its majesty, and it's purposivity – led a young conventional scholar Mevlana Jalaludin Rumi to transcend his everydayness, his compartmentalized mental and spiritual existence, until he became the greatest living poet of mystical union; a union not only of man and the divine, but man and himself.

In the 20th century, it is another Tabrizi, Allama Muhammad Taqi Jafari, that has demonstrated the possibility of a way of understanding reality, the human

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1- By tradition, we do not refer to the modern meaning of tradition which has evolved in the European discourse in the last two hundred years, during the Enlightenment period, as philosophers and thinkers counter- posed the concept of modernity with the concept of tradition, in the context of progress. (Giddens, 2002. p 39) In other words, we refer to the ability and nobility of thinkers such as Allama Jafari and Allama Tabatabai who have not broken up with the intellectual tradition of religio perennis due to hegemonic pressures of progressive ideology of modernism. To put it otherwise, the ability refers to the concept of intellect while the nobility originates from the concept of revelation which in the frame of primordial school is different but interrelated modalities of being present in the world of reality.
2- In figures such as Allama Jafari, we can discern a solid chain of knowledge which is absent in disciplinary epistemic mode. It may sound bizarre but in the context of primordial school knowledge has a very deep humane face while intellect has a rigorous modality beyond any anthropomorphic aspect. In other words, when we trace the chain of masters of Allama Jafari’s school of thought we shall soon or later come face to face with the chain of Being. To put it differently, within the context of disciplinary mode of knowledge this search would lead ultimately to Void. How many of modern professors talk, for instance, affectionately about their teachers? In a rationalized world there is no place for affectionate souls. This is another story which I leave for another treatise in the near future.
3- Dustin J. Byrd is a professor of humanities at Olivet College in Michigan. He specializes in the critical theory of religion (Frankfurt School) and Islam, and continues to work on a critical theory of Islamic modernity and revolution.

condition, and the meaning of human existence through a comprehensive and inter-connected orientation of sociological study; a method of study that takes seriously the metaphysical and spiritual dimensions of human life – a area of uneasiness for many Western scholars.

Allama Jafari points to the integrated wholeness of 'human being' – the tawhid of human existence with a form of communication-reason that takes into account the repositories of human spirit, values, metaphysical assumptions, and religious sensibilities, and humanistic frailties.

For Allama Jafari, no sociological study that systematically neglects, rejects, or fails to comprehend and consider the human being within his totality can be adequate in penetrating into the human condition; in effect, Jafari calls for a profoundly onto-humanistic approach to the study of man that does not systematically distort or deny man's non- physical dimension of being nor his spiritual-religious longings.

Science, Secularity, and Deficiency

Allama Jafari is very aware of the condition that modern man finds himself when he is surrounded in a de-mythologized, technocratic, sterile, and meaningless secular world. Ever since Nietzsche had the courage to announce that which was already becoming obvious to those whose eyes could see, that the rationalization, bureaucratization, and secularization of the lifeworld had caused the “death of God”, that life was becoming increasingly meaningless outside of the individual's limited projection of relative meaning into his / her life, and that as Dostoevsky said, “if God is dead, all things are possible,” man has been faced with the realization that science and the capitalist market, those tools that

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were originally meant to liberate him from his irrationality and his oppressive chains to nature, had actually left in him an existential void.

If God is dead, as Nietzsche's madman exclaimed to the men of the market, then not only is everything permissible, it is permissible precisely because it is meaningless. This meaninglessness is the true specter that not only haunts Europe, but the secularized world as a whole.

The pervasive detachment and disenchantment with the world that secularity birthed into existence has not only become a problem for the everyday man in his lifeworld, but has become a driving undercurrent in the way we approach human existence through the social sciences. As society has devalued the sacred, Das Heilige, the metaphysical meaningfulness of life and existence, it left mankind with little left but a thick description of what is the case.

The Vienna school, better known as “positivism,” is a scientific method that is a symptom of this demystified, de- sacralized, and meaning deprived way of approaching the world. It is rooted in the instrumental rationality of efficiency, calculation, techno-reason, detachment, and mathematization of all sphere's of life – its erasure is meaning, spirit, eschatology, metaphysics, and all things unaccounted due to their non-physicality.

Allama Jafari reads this diminished existence as if it were a horror story written by a depraved author bent of updating Dante's religiously inspired inferno for a modern secular audience who no longer find themselves religiously literate. Like those unable to escape the burning in Dante's

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hell, modern man finds himself somehow feeling trapped within what the bourgeois sociologist Max Weber described as the “iron cage” - it may not be burning on the outside, but the inner torture of perpetual prison burns from within.

The “dungeon of necrophilia,” as Seyed Javad Miri describes it, is not an imaginary nor metaphysical speculation, but a state-of-being within the modern mode of existence; it is an all pervasive ethos of “death- friendliness,” a seemingly inescapable system of hatred, competitiveness, aggressiveness, and violence (both direct and systemic), that modern man finds himself thrown into (befindlichkeit) and made the victim of.

The worst aspect of this dungeon of death- friendliness it that it deprives the imprisoned from the possibility of fathoming that another existence based on Eros and Agape, Taqwa (Piety) and Tawhid (Unicity), is even possible. He abandons his longing for an alternative state of existence and reconciles himself to the reified daily chaos-catastrophe. He accepts his fate – a negative fana' (passing away, melding) into that which is the case.

This pervasive state-of-being redefines the meaning of human life by aggressively dictating man's coordinates of life; his ultimate worth is as a “consumer,” a “a producer of surplus value,” a “cog-in-the- machine,” a “functionary” of a system that allows no true liberating self-determination but regulates by way of law, custom, culture, and duty – a lifeworld divorced from his own existential, ontological, and eschatological concerns.

For Allama Jafari and others within the Primordial School of Social Theory, the “dungeon

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of necrophilia,” the “iron cage,” the “Golgotha history,” and the “history as slaughter bench,” cannot be the last word within the poetic epic of human existence. It is the goal of Allama Jafari, as Seyed Javad Miri discusses, to help build a framework or roadmap from which humanity can find a way out of this twisted maze of confusion and spiritual nothingness that we've weaved ourselves into.

If we are going to find another way-of-being within the world, we must rethink our dominate mode of reason and how it is deployed with the social sciences. It must take into account the spiritual and metaphysical nature of human existence, and not define that which cannot be calculated as absurd, mere speculation, obscurantism, or irrational wish fulfillment.

We must begin to rethink and reevaluate what it means to be human; what are the essential qualities of human existence, what metaphysical and psychological dimension make us a “humane” and not just physically human.

Allama Jafari is right, a social science that cannot account for the “essence” of humanity – the non-physical yet existentially essential aspects of human existence – is not a science that achieves its goal of gnosis, but only one that describes that which is the case within very limited parameters. It settles for the truthfulness of “protocol sentences” - small statements of verifiable facts, that when all brought together, describe a limited dimension of life, but not nearly human existence in all its meaningful totality.

Jafari's thought calls for us to

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analyze and critique the catastrophic results of instrumental rationality within how dominate forms of social sciences and lifeworld. The positivist, scientistic, ideology of materialism or the metaphysics of “what is the case,” has led us to approach all of existence in such a bifurcating way; that the properties of human life that are not somehow able to be calculated or are able to be the subject of scientific experiments are unimportant, irrelevant, or non-existent.

If Freud could not subject his psyche to rigorous lab experiments then it most certainly does not exist, the positivists proclaimed – allowing them to ignore the fact that is the psyche / mind that animates the human, not the organ we call the brain. This scientific reduction of the human existence to its material basis has become the dominant mode of reason that has served as the basis for our (Western) social sciences and has, by virtue of its latent values, skewed the way we understand the human being.

Seyed Javad Miri is correct in his skepticism about a value free sociology, as the dominant mode of sociological research operates under the presupposed value system of material positivity – that what is metaphysical, conceptual, or spiritual cannot be considered in a scientific study of man.

However, man is simply not physicality, but spirituality and metaphysically as well. In fact, it is the symbiotic relationship between the physicality and mentality, spirituality and metaphysicality of man that allows him to be what he is – a comprehensive cognitive

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being that operates both within the world of material and the world of metaphysical speculation and ideas.

Social sciences, especially Western forms of sociology operate under the illusion that man can be studied without taking into account that which animates his existence, provides meaning, directs his ultimate concerns, and connects him / her to the mystical connection with world and people, and leaves those “obscurantist” questions to the non-scientific philosophers and theologians.

Yet, our dominate mode of instrumental rationality neglects precisely that aspect of human being – leaving us a distorted and broken picture of what it means to be human. Human existence is left in a fragmented state in our daily life due to the all-encompassing nature of instrumental-reason and profit driven motivations within politics, economy, popular culture, and civil society.

This same distorting rationality has become the guide, from which the social sciences have followed, leaving the humanities, the unscientific studies of human existence, to be the academic voice of a humanity left undisturbed in its wholeness.

The social sciences, especially sociology, or what has been describes as “disciplinary sociology,” which distinguishes it from critical sociology or primordial sociology, have suffered from a legitimation crisis from the beginning, starting with its progenitor Auguste Comte.

Wanting to be “scientific” in method, but taking the subject matter of mankind and his society, a subject of analysis that cannot even in the most remoteness of thought be considered as purely physical being or phenomenon, left sociology with an inherent problem; the problem of a

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method of inquiry appropriate for natural sciences but ill equipped to study phenomenon that have both materiality and metaphysics.

Sociologists wanted the authority that the natural sciences can provide for their pronouncements and findings based on their empirical experimentation and observations, but at the same time the subject of sociological study remained at minimum partly metaphysical and conceptual. In order to gauge, calculate, observe, and describe the social phenomenon that was the subject of sociological study, they had to systematically distort that phenomenon by isolating it from its historical context, its contemporary associations, and its potentiality and or becoming nature.

In essence, the positivist sociologist had to artificially construct the phenomenon before he could measure it. The result of which is that the phenomenon so constructed does not exist in the way that it is being studied, i.e. divorced from the qualities that cannot be measured. What then is the subject or object of the sociological study? At best, a distorted “semblance” of the original object of study, at worst a completely new phenomenon that has little to no true connection to the original.

The scientific method for studying the social was to originally bring the kind of legitimation and objective proof that the natural sciences enjoy, only to find itself completely without legitimacy as the method was ill equipped for the task.

The scientific method of the natural sciences proved to be very limited in ascertaining truth about society when deployed within the social sciences. What philosophers argued, accepted, and

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moved on from, only decades later is positivist sociology attempting to “prove” beyond a shadow-of-a-doubt, only to find that such purely objective proof is not possible within the methods they employ.

What's worse, is that when the distorted “proof” they produce is understood to be incontrovertible evidence, they are wittingly engaged in ideology (in the best Marxian sense of the term); a false construction of reality based on their ideological commitments that hides and conceals certain social, political, and economic interests. In the face of this distorted form of sociological analysis, Allama Jafari calls for a non- disciplinary perspective that is not susceptible to the pathology of instrumental reason that the positivist sciences have fallen victim to.

Reason, if it is to be a tool from which humanity understands the world, the physicality of its existence, the metaphysics of his / her being, it's conceptual commitments, and it's process of becoming, must operate with a form of reason that doesn't systematically distort that which it wishes to comprehend and understand.

A form of reason that is capable of addressing human frailty, ecological degradation, inter-subjectivity, metaphysics, and the longing for the totally other, is desperately needed as the dominance of instrumental reason leads us closer to nuclear catastrophe, ecological apocalypse, and existential meaninglessness.

Sociological Gharbzadegi

The dialectic of the enlightenment has directed the Western world since the early years of the 18th century, both liberating it from its infantile irrationalism rooted in a christological rejection of reason (Think of Luther's statement that “reason is

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a whore”), the radical de- hellenization of Christianity – which includes the exorcising of the Ibn Rushd, Ibn Sina, al-Ghazali, and other Islamic theo-philosophers out of Christian thought, and its racist and theological hatred of the “other.”

The Enlightenment project emancipated the Jews from their European ghettos, gave birth to the natural sciences that looked to natural causation for natural phenomenon, produced the industrial revolution, and the modern nation-state.

However, as the West progressed through the enlightenment project, it also liberated itself for existential meaning, made it crasser towards human suffering, and learned how to perfect efficient weapons of killing which allowed it to conquer greater territories with ease. As it began to understand the how's of the human mind, social actors learned how to manipulate the masses better – ultimately replacing the totalitarian regimes with their explicit dictatorial powers with hidden persuaders.

Now the dictatorial powers operate tacitly, through popular culture, the market, and the psychological neurosis of “keeping up with the Jones'.” The dialectic of enlightenment emancipated humanity from its fetishistic and fearful relationship with nature, which diminished it to inanimate material objects and meaningless natural occurrences.

However, those objects in nature that once engendered respect due to their mythological sacredness are now seen as bundles of meaningless atomic material that are viewed as a resource to be exploited for profit – to inflict damage on nature is not a sin or a crime against the spirit of nature that dwells within the forest, but is now a

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admirable act as it will create an enormous amount of wealth for the shareholders of the corporation who have an invested interest in the destruction of that once sacred space.

Enlightenment not only demythologizes, it desacralizes, and allows wholesale atrocities on nature and mankind. That which was meant to liberate now dominates and distorts human connectedness to the world around us and to those who inhabit that world as well.

The Euro-centricity of the Enlightenment, as it was objectively different from the enlightened age in classical Islamic civilization, is apparent. As Europe and European civilization's faith in that which isn't physically manifest diminished, so too did its new faith in science increase.

It is clear that a sociological project such as Allama Jafari doesn't fall victim to the distorting nature of Euro-centric instrumental reason, but preserves and promotes a reason that understands its own limitations, but refuses to reject that which it cannot completely comprehend via its own method of analysis.

In classical Islamic thought, reason is understood to be a gift from the divine, a tool that the ultimate sovereign bestowed upon his creation as a way of understanding the natural world around them and by consequence the author of that nature. It would be a grave mistake to fall prey to a social-scientific “garbzadegi” (westoxification) within the Muslim world when the negative consequences of such a method of research are so blatantly visible in much of the world.

A form of reason that dehumanizes the human being to a conglomeration of

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protoplasmic material – a reduction of “being” to the mere physical - must be rejected by those who can still affirm metaphysics and their inherent importance in human existence.

The “objectification” of Western social sciences bears the hallmarks of the objectification of man within his own society – his “beingness,” his spiritual life, his metaphysical commitments, are reduced to irrelevancy, as his worth and value is not within his “being,” but in his “having,” a mode of existence that only recognizes the individual for what he possesses, not what he is (his commitments, his deeds, his spiritual excellence, etc.).

When mankind is reduced to the level of an object, he/she is discarded on the level of an object as well. In a consumer society, where the “new” gleefully replaces that which was just “new” yesterday, it becomes precarious to be in the position of being a human-object that was “new” just a day before; as soon as one “is,” the storm cloud of replacement is on the horizon to render him a “was.”

His very subjectivity, that sacredness of the individual that Immanuel Kant respected in his ban on ever treating a human as a “means” as opposed to an “ends,” is denied. It is that subjectivity of the man and woman that differentiates them as something living from something non-living. The de-subjectivizing nature of positivist sciences and instrumental reason has ended in the destruction of millions of individuals in the 20th century, and prepares the way for the same possibility in

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the 21st.

To argue against a “gharbzegadi” orientation of sociology within the Muslim world is not to say that all positivist accomplishments must be rejected. That would be just as intellectually reactionary as the rejection of all metaphysics by positivists themselves. It is clearly the case that the positivist sciences have produced profoundly important discoveries in the fields of medicine, physics, biology, cognitive sciences, geology, etc.

However, skepticism concerning positivism is rooted in the recognition of the socially destructive or distorted side of our scientific advances as well as the perils of reductionistic social sciences that treat man as an object.

To appreciate the accomplishments of the “hard sciences” is warranted, but one must never neglect to recognize the dialectical nature of those accomplishments, i.e. the more knowledgeable we become about ourselves and our environment, the more destructive capacity we yield towards them, and what's more, the more we operate within a world dominated by instrumental rationality, the more it permeates our interpersonal relationships, whether they be within the family, community, nation, or international.

To abandon this skepticism is to abandon the future of humanity to a method that cannot account for that which makes us human outside of our physicality. In maintaining this skeptical appreciation, Allama Jafari points us to a possible alternative.

Integrated Wholeness – Integrated Method

In the thinking of Allama Jafari, the integrated wholeness of human existence warrants an integrated method of analysis that remains sensitive to the question of human totality – the various realms of human life and their inter-connectedness. A method

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of inquiry that fractures the human being into compartments, that approaches each one of these apartments as independent phenomenon within a individual, that brackets out their relatedness of other realm of human life, cannot adequately address the human condition.

Furthermore, as the structures of modern society are imposed on the modern individual, his / her psyche and lifeworld finds itself already compartmentalized, fractured, and deformed, as his or her moral, ethical, and religious commitments are so often set in abeyance as they conflict with the political-economy of the state and civil society in which they procures their means of living.

Modern man too often lives in a schizophrenic bifurcated world of public secularity and private religiosity / spirituality, which leaves him without a firm ethical grounding; often times leading to existential and ontological confusion – a perpetual state of personal inner-suffering.

This schizophrenic and in some ways sociopathic society emphasizes the supreme value of competitiveness and aggressiveness rooted in the Aristocratic Law of Nature, often thought to be our “first nature,” while at the same time imparts religious and philosophical moral imperatives of cooperation, solidarity, non-possessive love, charity, and selflessness, often identified with our “second nature,” leaves many in a wanderlust of moral vagary or an unquestioned acceptance of the dominant ideology of the ruling class.

The spiritual, religious, and philosophical traditions that once gave meaning to life and offered a moral vision via a theory and code of ethics, are no longer able to resist and or conquer the

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current virtues of vice, avarice, selfishness, greed, and violence.

To address humans from a methodologically compartmentalizing perspective is to further enforce the already fragmented and confused state in which much of humanity finds itself. Seeing the chaotic and catastrophic state of modern human existence– the diminished and nearly defeated soul of “human being,” in its despair over the accepted inevitability of what is the case – Allama Jafari reemphasizes the “indivisible whole and indissoluble totality” of human being, and therefore calls for a re-humanizing of social sciences and the humanities; making them an appropriate method of sociological study of mankind.

The “essence” of what is mankind, the “I”, “conscience,” and “self,” must be considered in our understanding of what it means to be human, as without that consideration, the human object of study ceases to be human and can only truly be “human-like.” What is a human without the ‘‘I’’, ‘’conscious’’, and ‘’self’’? It is a corpse.

Although a corpse appears human, anyone who has ever been in close contact with their deceased loved one knows that although their physicality is present, that which is their “I”, consciousness,” and “self,” is not. Why then should we study humans as if they were corpses? Allama Jafari's serious challenge to the dominant way we do sociological research, i.e. his insistence of reintroducing “wholeness” and “integratedness” back into the study of man, should be taken seriously by Western scholars, even if it means a radical rethinking of scientific methodology within the social sciences.

The hyper-rationalization of

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society, that which is assumed to be progress, has left man in a vulnerable position. For the first time he can experience himself as having the capacity to destroy all of humanity; a thought that was prior to modernity the sole power of the divine.

It is scientific power divorced of moral sensibilities that have led to such a state of being and is rooted in the dialectic of the enlightenment's disconnect of man and his essences. In the face of this possibility, we must ask: what kind of progress is the absolute negation of human life?

Identity, Crisis, and Wholeness

As globalization continues to weave itself into the fabric of every society, the instrumental reason by which it operates continues to fundamentally challenge, change, and overturn traditionally held beliefs, values, religions, philosophies, and ways-of-being-in-the- world that are rooted in a different form of reason; a form of reason that emphasizes the communicative nature of human social relations.

The biophilic ethos of traditional societies, rooted in community and non-possessive love, are being replaced by the logic of profit accumulation, resource acquisition, labor exploitation, and a necrophilic ethos of material gain as the supreme value in life. Traditional societies, especially the Islamic world, have seen their values, principles, and ways-of-being disintegrate within a couple generations. Islam's insistence on the theologically mandated duties to the poor is giving way to the virtues of being wealthy – a Calvinization of the Islamic civilization.

For many scholars, who are sensitive to the social upheavals that are occurring in the heart of

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the Islamic civilization, an identity crisis at the heart of what it means to be both modern and Islamic is identified. What does it mean to be Muslim in the 21st century? Will Islam survive the modernization, secularization, and capitalization of the world? Does fundamentalist reaction to globalization preserve the Islamic identity, or further erode it – especially in light of the fact that fundamentalism is a modern phenomenon itself?

A similar identity crisis has been brewing in Europe for decades, as post-World War II insistence of “multi-culturalism,” which some view as cultural suicide for the benefit of non-European immigrants, as well as the comprehensive secularization of the life-world, has brought many secular philosophers and theologians together to discuss the “awareness of what's missing” in European identity.

In the past, to be European meant to be Catholic; then it meant to be Christian (whether Catholic or Protestant), then it meant to be German, Italian, a Frenchman, etc., but now, after the fall of religion and nationalism, to be European means to be what? The identity of Europeans is so fragmented as not to understand anymore who and what one is.

For many scholars who are sensitive to the suffering of the individual in their “everydayness,” the mental confusion and existential emptiness that comes from the failure to take seriously the “I”, “consciousness”, and the “self”, as Allama Jafari has purposed, is seen in the faces of the lost as they fade into the das mann of the secular-capitalist life- world. European philosophers

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and theologians are unwittingly beginning a precursory rethink of our social-scientific values, as the civilizational price of losing the essence of humanity on the altar of rational progress is becoming ever more apparent.

In this reevaluation of the dominance of instrumental reason, the abandonment of metaphysics, and possible transvaluation of all capitalist and market values, Western philosophers, theologians, and sociologists may find themselves in agreement with the holistic and organic sociological orientation of Allama Jafari. The grounds for agreement are within the essence of mankind – the soul of what makes us human, the recognition of these shared qualities and the inter- subjectivity of cultures and civilizations – and can be the stage in which our sciences re-humanize so that we may once again ground ourselves in our individual and species wholeness.


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About center

In the name of Allah

Are those who know equal to those who do not know?
al-Zumar: 9

Ghaemiyeh Computer Research Institute of Isfahan, from 2007, under the authority of Ayatollah Haj SayyedHasanFaqihImami (God blesses his soul), by sincere and daily efforts of university and seminary elites and sophisticated groups began its activities in religious, cultural and scientific fields.

Ghaemiyeh Computer Research Institute of Isfahan in order to facilitate and accelerate the accessibility of researchers to the books and tools of research, in the field of Islamic science, and regarding the multiplicity and dispersion of active centers in this field
and numerous and inaccessible sources by a mere scientific intention and far from any kind of social, political, tribal and personal prejudices and currents, based on performing a project in the shape of (management of produced and published works from all Shia centers) tries to provide a rich and free collection of books and research papers for the experts, and helpful contents and discussions for the educated generation and all classes of people interested in reading, with various formats in the cyberspace.
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