Nasr, Seyyed Hossein


Nasr, Seyyed Hossein
(1933–)
   Seyyed Hossein Nasr is very much a Persian thinker, although obliged to leave Iran in 1979 after the Islamic Revolution and the overthrow of the Shah. Educated both in Iran and the United States, he made important contributions to areas such as Islamic science, mysticism and more recently to the links between religion and ecology. A constant theme in his work is the need to revive the study of what he calls perennial philosophy, a system of thought where spiritual and moral values are regarded as part of the basic principles of the system. According to Nasr, perennial philosophy is shared by many different traditions and although it differs in particulars, certain ideas are always found, and these include the sacred nature of the world as God’s creation, the idea that the meaning of the world is something hidden, the significance of the distinction between the exoteric and the esoteric, and other aspects of what he calls hikma or wisdom. He contrasts this with what he takes to be the narrow approach of the Peripatetic thinkers, concerned as they were, according to him, only with rationality. This produces a one-dimensional attitude to the world, Nasr suggests, and should be replaced with a much more open attitude to different sorts of knowledge and experience.
   Further reading: Hahn et al. 2001; Nasr 1964/93, 1968/97, 1968, 1981, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2006

Islamic Philosophy. . 2007.

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