Perception of Western Modernity in the Light of Ṣadrāism: Moḥammad Ḥoseyn Ṭabāṭabāʾī's and Mortażā Moṭahharī's critique of Modern Western Philosophy

Gösken, Urs (2016). Perception of Western Modernity in the Light of Ṣadrāism: Moḥammad Ḥoseyn Ṭabāṭabāʾī's and Mortażā Moṭahharī's critique of Modern Western Philosophy. International journal of Persian literature, 1(1), pp. 142-163. Pennsylvania State University Press 10.5325/intejperslite.1.1.0142

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Among the many Iranian thinkers who dealt with Western intellectual systems and concepts, Muḥammad Ḥusayn Ṭabāṭabā’ī (1903–81)1 and Murtaḍā Muṭahharī (1920–79),2 two of the leading religious scholars of their time, stand out as the first to attempt to subject crucial teachings of modern Western philosophy to critical discussion by assessing the intellectual quality of their reasoning and questioning their claim to superiority to premodern philosophical systems.3 The doctrines they mainly engaged in the wake of their project were Cartesianism, empiricism, Kantian criticism, positivism, and Hegelianism. Their intellectual enterprise, going back to the 1950s, comes after a period when Iranian intellectuals’ contact with Western philosophy had been mainly receptive, based on the premise that doctrines of modern philosophy such as positivism and materialism were indispensable for intellectual and cultural progress.4 In the nineteenth century—and up to the 1950s—Iranians who grappled with Western philosophy often did so under the impact of the then-current philosophical teachings in Europe like positivism, scientism, naturalism, and empiricism5 and later, with the growing influence of Marxism on political thinking in Iran, dialectical materialism.6 In selecting the doctrines they came to adopt, they were less guided by purely intellectual interests, and more, perhaps, by intellectual, political, and ideological tendencies.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institut für Studien zum Nahen Osten und zu muslimischen Gesellschaften

UniBE Contributor:

Gösken, Urs


200 Religion > 290 Other religions
100 Philosophy
100 Philosophy > 110 Metaphysics
100 Philosophy > 120 Epistemology
100 Philosophy > 180 Ancient, medieval & eastern philosophy
100 Philosophy > 190 Modern western philosophy
200 Religion
900 History
900 History > 990 History of other areas




Pennsylvania State University Press




Urs Gösken

Date Deposited:

15 Dec 2016 16:11

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:59

Publisher DOI:


Additional Information:

Paper presented at the International Conference ‘Of Poetry and Politics: Modern Reception of Classical Persian Tradition’, September 12th to 13th, 2013, International Journal of Persian Literature


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