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Fatness or Swelling; an analysis of (non)scholarly articles in humanities

 
Seyyed Hassan Eslami Ardakani, PhD
Associate Professor at URD
 
While it is supposed that scholarly articles that are published in academic journals contain the newest data or findings in related fields, in fact most of them, especially in humanities, lack this feature and have nothing new to say. In fact, these articles in spite of following the required rules, such as writing abstracts, keywords, and hypotheses, are worthless, time-wasting, and we should not bother ourselves by reading them. This article tries to analyze this kind of articles and show what is wrong with them. After reading many of these articles carefully, the writer's findings show that instead of having specific aims or problems to solve, they are some sort of collage-writing, deceiving, and non-scholarly articles in disguise.

Keywords: research ethics, academic society, ethics of science, scholarly articles-pathology, knowledge-creation.

published in: Methodology of Social Sciences and Humanities Journal, Vol. 19, No. 74-75, Spring&Summer 2013.

Abstract

With regard to human cloning or artificial human reproduction - and contrary to the opinions of Sunni scholars - Shiite thinkers have not held a unified position. After Having surveyed a number of Shiite fatwas and analyses on the subject, this essay will classify them into four groups. The first group states that we are granted absolute permission to engage in human cloning; while the second group believes that there is limited permission; the third group argues that cloning as such is primarily permitted but because of its consequences and secondary grounds it is prohibited and unlawful; and the fourth group is of the view that cloning as such and by itself is prohibited and unlawful. In what fallows, the author has examined these four views, ending in support of the permission theory. 


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In our modern society, we usually consume industrial meat as a basic part of our eating regime, believing that it is necessary for our health. But this article tries to show that industrial meat-eating, regardless of health issues, is unethical. The writer uses two moral arguments to prove his claim. The first one is the argument from evil treatment of animals in the factory farming, and the second one is the argument from destroying the environment. The factory farmers to produce more industrial meat in low price, use cruel methods that are ethically unacceptable. Furthermore, factory farming has huge negative impacts on the environment. So, to live responsibly and ethically, the writer argues, we have to stop industrial meat-eating and try to start a healthier and more ethically diet by being totally vegetarian or at least consuming the meat of free-range animals.

Keywords: cruelty to animals, factory farming, industrial meat, vegetarianism, consumption ethics, protecting the environment.

This paper (in Farsi)  is published in: Ethical Research (Quarterly Academic Journal of University of Qom), Vol.3, No.9,10, Autumn,Winter 2012.  


Full text in Persian

Analyzing a Hadith on Four Cardinal Virtues

In this paper, the writer tries to analyze a hadith (i.e. tradition) on the virtues which is attributed to Imam Ali (p.b.u.h). According to this hadith, the cardinal virtues are: wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice. Tracing this tradition the author wants to show that this tradition is a brief account of Greek virtue ethics rather than Islamic ethics, and also is a translation of Socratic and Platonic thoughts on virtues. He first analyses the meaning of arête (virtue) in Greek culture, and the importance of those above mentioned four virtues. Then he describes the transmission of these virtues into Islamic culture and their acceptance by some Muslim ethicists. Finally he compares these virtues with the main virtues introduced and emphasized by the Holy Quran and argues that this tradition is, probably, defective and apocryphal one.

Key words: Islamic ethics, Islamic virtues, virtue ethics, apocryphal tradition, Islamic moral philosophy.


This paper is published in: Ulum-Hadith, no. 43, Summer 2007.

Recently, I read a translated book on negotiation. While discussing the importance of economy of thought and language, or the principle of parsimony, the writers referred to "Ockham's Razor" as the foundation of this approach and explained this principle, saying, maybe something like, "As Ockham's Razor says…"
But the Persian translator has thought that this phrase refers to somebody known as Ockham's Raze. So, he misunderstood the main point of the writers.
In a Persian post, I have reported this misunderstanding and have given some historical remarks on William of Ockham, to whom this principle is attributed.

The Status of Aristotelian logic in contemporary Western thought
Seyed Hassan Eslami Ardakani
Associate professor at University of Religions and Denominations
 
Abstract
Aristotelian logic, as a part of Islamic philosophy, from the very beginning has been attacked by some opponents amongst Muslims. So, some of Muslim philosophers have attempted to defend it against the criticisms raised by these opponents, and strengthen its validity. Beside the old criticisms, recently some Shi'a scholars under the name of Maktebe Tafkik, (The Separation School) have raised new criticisms against Aristotelian logic, claiming that this system of logic has been refuted and abandoned in the Academic circles of the West and has been replaced by the scientific method introduced by Francis Bacon. Therefore, based on some faulty arguments, they call for letting Aristotelian logic aside. This article tries to evaluate this claim and show its falsehood.

Keywords: Aristotelian logic, Maktebe Tafkik, Neo-Akhbari thought, Bacon, Islamic philosophy.
 Theological-Philosophical Research, 2011(Issue 3)

Mulla Sadra and the problem of plagiarism; a reevaluation of apologies

Mulla Sadra, or Sadr Al-din Muhammad Shirazi (c. 979/1571-1050/1640) is the founder of Hekmate Mota'liea school of thought and one of the most important Shi'a philosophers in Iran during three past centuries. He attempted to synthesize the rival schools of thought in his period. The result was bringing into being a new synthesis that later was known as Hekmate Mota'liea or the "Transcendent Philosophy" or as some contemporary thinkers prefer, "Transcendent Theosophy". He was prolific author and wrote many significant books, including Al-Asfar Alaqliea Al-Arba'a, or the Four Intellectual Journeys.
More than one hundred years agoAbo Al-Hassne Jelwe, an Iranian philosopher and a famous exponent of Ibne Sina's philosophy, revealed Mulla Sadra's huge indebtedenss to other philosopher's works, without acknowledging it properly.
The problem was that Mulla Sadra had borrowed the exact words, sentences, paragraphs, and in some cases the whole chapters of famous thinkers' works, such as Al-Ghazzali and Al-Razi's books, while he did not mention them appropriately or citing them correctly. So, he was accused of committing plagiarism, by his opponents. To invalidate this accusation, his followers and defenders tried to justify, or in some cases rationalize, his deed by proposing some apologies. According to one of them, for example, plagiarism was not a morally wrong in his period, and according to the other, the borrowed sentences and sections were trivial information and common knowledge, not genuine thoughts.
The author of this paper, first of all, has gathered and classified these apologies into six types. Secondly, has attempted to show that all them are insufficient and cannot prove anything in Mulla Sadra's interest. Finally, the author has come to the conclusion that the accusation of plagiarism that is launched against Mulla Sadra is still powerful and cannot be defeated easily.

This paper (in Farsi)  is published in: Ayeneh-ye- Pazhoohesh, vol. 22, no.5,  Des 2011-Jan 2012.

I delivered this speech at "Figurations and Conceptions of Evil in Different Religious Contexts," Interdisciplinary and Interreligious Workshop at the Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, 19-21 September 2012.

Rumi and the soul-making of evil

 

Prof. Seyyed Hassan Eslami Ardakani, URD, Qom, member of faculty

  

Jalal al-din Muhammad al-Balkhi, or as he is well-known in the West "Rumi," is one of the greatest mystical Persian poets. He actually represents the mystical interpretation of Islam and tries to give a unified understanding of its teaching from a Sufi outlook. As a mystic and Sufi thinker, Rumi has much in common with Muslim philosophers and theologians, but at the same time he has his authentic way for dealing with Islamic teachings and confronting problems he faces as a thinker.

His impact and heritage is so deep and profound that after more than seven hundred years of his death (indeed he passed away in 1273 A.D), no thoughtful Muslim can ignore his mystical poems. For instance, in the contemporary Iran, most people of letter and educated persons, even those who oppose mysticism strongly, quote his poems in their writings and use them orally. His impact is not confined to Persian-speaking world; Quite the contrary, his fame and impact is spreading throughout the world.

To solve the problem of evil and to answer some relevant questions, Rumi combines theoretical and philosophical thoughts and arguments with metaphorical and poetical language and then he puts them in long poetical narrations and old fables. As a result, any sophisticated reader can appreciate his thoughtful assertion, while ordinary readers can enjoy his poems and accept his claims.

In my paper, I have discussed Rumi's approach for confronting evil, and have come to a conclusion summarized as below:

1. Good and evil have one origin and are created by one God. So, the Magians, or Zoroastrians, who believe in two sources for good and evil, are mistaken.

2. Evil is willed by God, and without his will no evil would appear in the world.

3. There is no absolute or pure evil in the world and even the worst evil that we can imagine, is in some respect good. At least it is good for itself. In short, good and evil are inseparable.

4. Therefore, good and evil are relative and to name one particular thing as good or evil depends to our outlook. For instance, the poison of the snakes look evil to us, as humans, but it is doubtless good for them and a vital element of the snake life.

5. Furthermore, some sorts of evil are useful for our self-purification.

6. Besides, evil, in some situations, can be a warning from God to us, inviting us to pause and think about our deeds and behaviors.

7. Some sorts of evil, is within our own nature as humans. Indeed, many of wrongdoings are brought in the world by our choice. Since, our souls, as Rumi describes, are sleeping dragons by our actions we awaken them and bring evil to the world. 

8. And finally, Rumi invites us, as adult persons who seek spiritual development and evolution, to welcome all kinds of evil which we face in our lives and look at them as opportunities and instruments for self-actualization. From this viewpoint, evil is a gift sent to us from God, in disguise.

Ethics and Gender in ‘the best women virtues’ Hadith

Seyyed Hassan Eslami Ardakani, URD, Qom

Are men and women different in main moral virtues? There is a famous Hadith, attributed to Imam Ali (P.B.U.H) that states, “The best women virtues are the worst men virtues: pride, meanness, and cowardice”. Based on this accepted saying, some Muslim scholars have defended the ethical difference between men and women. This article tries to asses this Hadith and its trueness in seven sections. In the first section, the differences between narrations of this saying in various old Hadith books are reported. The second section reports and analyzes what the interpreters have told about this Hadith. In the third section I deal with the scientific foundations of this allegedly biological and social separation between two sexes. The fourth section deals with the so-called feminist ethics and tries to show that we can not base ethics on sexual differences. In the fifth section I have argued that this Hadith can not be defended by other ethical Hadiths and Quranic teachings. The six section traces the content of this Hadith in ancient Greek, Persian, and Arab cultures to show that it is not really Imam Ali’s saying. In the seven and final section I recommended three basic principles to deal with the Hadiths concerning women. The conclusion of this essay is that this Hadith is forged and attributed wrongly to Imam Ali.        

Keywords: Islamic ethical virtues, feminine virtues, feminist ethics, ethical Hadiths, masculine virtues.

This paper is published in: ULUM-I-HADITH; FALL 2008 - WINTER 2009; pp.47-87. (Downloadable in Farsi)

abstract

Academic circles have believed that science and ethics cannot be separated, so the students are taught to learn research ethics and apply the rules of ethical conduct in their term papers and theses or dissertations. From this point of view, the writer of this paper conducted a research on the research books that are written in Persian, to discover the amount of presence of research ethics in these books and the coverage of the issues facing the students in the process of their research. The result shows that the positivistic approach concerning the distinction between facts and value is still dominant in most of these educational books, and they have not freed themselves from this positivistic heritage. In the end, the writer has proposed a solution for overcoming this ethical and educational problem.

Keywords:

Persian Research ethics, Academic Research, the fact/value problem in research books.

published in Metodology of Sicial Science and Humanities, 2012, Issue 69



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