عنوان مقاله [English]
In this article we examine the commonalities between some epistemological views of Mulla Sadra (circa 1571-1636) from Persia and Nishida Kitaro from Japan (1870-1945). Our research method was descriptive and analytical, and using the two philosophers’ main texts we compared their ideas and remarks.
Although Nishida Kitaro still has not been properly introduced in Iran, during the 2010s efforts were made to do so, including studies conducted by Dr. Muhammad Asghari, which were first published as a few articles, and later collected in the form of a book released in 2017 by Quqnus Publications. Until now there has been no comparative study of the two thinkers in terms of particular epistemological subjects. We can nonetheless refer to a kindred study: Muhammad Asghari’s article entitled “The Possibility of Dialogue between the Kyoto School and Islamic Wisdom” in which he concludes that the dialogue is indeed possible.
It might be asked what theoretical and practical uses finding commonalities between two philosophers from two different countries might have. The answer is that it can lay the ground for a universal and combinational philosophy and/or pave the way for mutual understanding and dialogue in meta-history. Prevailing in this universal and combinational philosophy is a macro and integral rather than micro and differential view. The type of comparison which pays more attention to commonalities than differences proposes an intercultural formulation of philosophical questions.
The questions intended to be answered in this article are as follows. 1. What are the commonalities between the ontological foundations of the two thoughts? 2. What are their commonalities in terms of the process of knowledge and perception of the world?
The two thinkers have common ontological foundations and their epistemologies are based on ontology. We explain in the form of comparative statements the commonalities first in their ontologies and then in their epistemologies.
Their common ontological foundations
In Nishida reality is identical to consciousness, and in Mulla Sadra being is concomitant (mūsawīq) with knowledge. In Nishida reality has an ultimate foundation from which all the beings are created. In Mulla Sadra the Necessary Being (wājīb al-wūjūd) creates beings.
In Nishida the foundation of reality is in a place called Basho, which is neither physical nor determined. Nor does it have a form. It is absolute nothingness, yet not nothingness versus being, but rather a transcendental nothingness from which being is created. In Mulla Sadra the Necessary Essence does not have any determination and form, but rather is unconditional and free from any limits or denotations. Its status is the status of the absolute unseen.
For Nishida entities and beings are the actualization and manifestation of that ultimate foundation, and also for Mulla Sadra the Necessary Being, which is pure being, has manifestations and actions, so that beings are actualized.
Human consciousness in Nishida’s view is the best place for the manifestation of the ultimate, and in Mulla Sadra’s the human soul is described as God-like.
Their common epistemological views
Nishida thinks that a process beyond the soul, more transcendental than the soul, is involved in the process of knowledge, which can be called the field of knowledge or the unconscious dimension of knowledge. For Mulla Sadra, the active intellect, which is more transcendental than the soul, is involved in human perceptions. The soul is not passive in the process of knowing the reality and perceptional forms have subsistence by emergence (al-qīyām al-ṣūdūrī) from the soul, the agency of the soul having a part in the process.
According to both thinkers the realities of the percipient and perceived are unified and there is no duality between the two. They both believe that human beings construct and shape themselves through their own activities, and that reality is manifested in the soul.
In Nishida, the truth and falsity and correspondence with reality are attributes of propositional and conceptual knowledge, and in Mulla Sadra those are attributes of acquired knowledge (al-īlm al-ḥuṣūlī).
Both concur that the perfect soul is less weakened by obstacles and gains more intuition of reality.