Universal Science

An Introduction to Islamic Metaphysics

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Mahdi Ha'irï Yazdï
John Cooper
Modern Shï'ah Library
Review coming soon!

Review by Robert Ames forthcoming.


The Universal Science (ʿIlm-i kullī) by Mahdī Ḥāʾirī Yazdī, is a concise, but authoritative, outline of the fundamental discussions in Islamic metaphysics. For many years used as a textbook in Iran, this short text offers English readers a readily accessible, lucid, and yet deeply learned, guide through the Sadrian, Avicennan, and Illuminationist schools of thought, whilst also demonstrating how the ‘living tradition’ of Shīʿī philosophy engages with central ontological, epistemological, aetiological, and psychological questions. Discussions include the primacy of existence; the proper classifications of quiddity; and the manifold properties of causality and causal explanation. This is the first of the various influential works authored by this leading Shīʿah intellectual to have been translated into English from the original Persian.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Mahdī Hāʾirī Yazdī (1923–1999) was an eminent Shīʿah intellectual. He taught at Harvard and Oxford, and was Professor of Islamic Philosophy at the University of Tehran. He was the author of several diverse texts ranging from epistemology to political theory.

John Cooper (1947–1998) was E.G. Browne lecturer in Persian at the University of Cambridge. He studied at Cambridge and the Qum Seminary in Iran. He was the general editor of Encyclopaedia Iranica, as well as a prolific author and translator.

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