Constructivism in the Thought of Sadr al-Din Ghunawi

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Student in Islamic Philosophy and Theology, Faculty of Theology and Islamic Studies, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Islamic Philosophy and Theology, Faculty of Theology and Islamic Studies, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy of Religion, Faculty of Theology and Islamic Studies, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


In the field of epistemology, "constructivism" is basically a post-Kantian view as opposed to the traditional view of representationalism. There are different types of epistemological constructivism, but what they have in common is that knowledge is like a commodity made in part or in full by the cognitive agent, and it is not in accordance with the view of representationalists who believe that the cognitive agent's mind merely acts as a mirror and narrator for independent reality outside the mind. The idea of ​​constructivism has also spread to the realm of mystical experience / revelation. Constructivists, in contrast to essentialists, believe that mystical experience / revelation is formed within the framework of the previous conceptual construction of the mind of an individual who had already mystical experience / revelation. In this article, it is examined that a kind of constructivism is seen in the thought of Sadr al-Din Ghunawi, which can be called "nominal constructivism". Defending the validity of intuitive knowledge called ghorbi (proximity) or fanayi (annihilation), Ghunawi emphasizes the role of the noun governing the cognitive agent in the construction of rational knowledge as well as bound intuitive knowledge, although he excludes proximity intuition from the scope of this constructivism. Accordingly, it can be said that Ghunawi believes in a kind of limited or partial constructivism. Finally, in the view of the authors, this kind of constructivism is neither defensible, nor does it fulfill Ghunawi's ultimate goal in defending intuitive knowledge.


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