Is it possible to use transcendental theosophy and the fundamental doctrine of Existentialism for the sake of political science? Existentialism means that the reality of the world is its existence. Objectivity, hence, is described based on that. According to this notion, existence is something that exists outside of the mind and does not belong to anything else (Oboudiat, 2013). Hence, objectivity is the existence of objects in the outside world. The outside world versus the subjective world refers to the notion that the human mind first understands what it interprets inside and then using this subjective picture, gets to know the object outside the mind and calls it objective reality. Islamic knowledge is a realist type. Hence, transcendental theosophy explores the objective and outside reality. Now the question is that whether social sciences and particularly political science has an objective reality in a way that could be investigated using objective principles. Three notions exists here: First, political reality has an objective being and therefore exists outside of the mind and hence transcendental theosophy cannot explore such matters. The second notion states that political reality is among established affairs that are created based on human needs but transcendental theosophy does not apply here despite political affairs being among established concepts. The third notion states that political reality is among established concepts and hence is placed outside the concept of transcendental theosophy. But this does not mean that we cannot use transcendental theosophy for political reality. To explore this claim, it is necessary that we investigate the two previous notions first. At the first step, the nature of political reality will be explored so that we can explore the applicability of transcendental theosophy in this reality. Then, the how-to of it will be the center of attention.
How is political reality made? How is the existence of things such as government, civil society, political parties, and generally the political life? How are they related to existences referred to in transcendental theosophy? To find answers to these questions it is necessary that we explore the typology of existences from the viewpoint of transcendental theosophy and then the type of political reality will be determined.
If we are to look at the world from the viewpoint of transcendental theosophy, then we can separate the three types of existences in accordance to the existence possibility theory: First there are existences that take place outside of the mind; Second, there are existences that do not take place independently outside of the mind but their existence is reliant on another existence; And last but not the least, there are existences that do not take place outside of the mind at all (Alipour & Hasani, 2011). Taking into consideration that social affairs like other existences are explored and analyzed using concepts, hence, to refer to the first type of existences, we can use the concept of first-hand rationales (Haeri Yazdi, 1982) that are concepts in the mind that have objective equivalent outside of the mind. Concepts such as human and ‘animals’ are in this group that refer to existences which take place outside of the mind. To refer to the second type of existence, we use second-hand philosophical rationales and abstract concepts. These terms generally mean such subjective concepts that do not have an objective equivalent outside of the human mind but take objective reality due to their matters in the outside. Concepts such as fatherhood, childhood or upper, lower are among these concepts. Although these concepts do not have an equivalent outside of the mind, take abstract reality by the relations between two people or the location of things; two people or things that have objective reality outside of the mind. Finally, to refer to the third type of existence, we use concepts such as social credits or absolute credits that mean subjective concepts that are used in contract-based relations of people and are arisen due to social needs and advantages of people. In brief, we can distinguish among three types of existences: Objective existences, abstract existences, and credit existences. But which existence does political existence relate to?
The first step to judge whether we can use transcendent theosophy to evaluate political affairs is to determine the nature of political existences. In other words, the state of political reality will be explored from the viewpoint of being existent outside of the mind (Mesbah Yazdi, 1989b). It is necessary to explain that political existence is part of credit existence and credit existence is a type of existence that practical wisdom has created to fulfill social needs (Hasani & Mousavi, 2016). We can refer to three ideas regarding political existence: The first is the idea that categorizes political existence in absolute credit existence type. The second is the idea that categorizes political existence in abstract existence and finally the idea that categorizes political existence in objective existence type. It is worth reminding that the three stated ideas do not specifically belong to political existence but generally belong to credit existence. However, the author focuses on political existence in this part.
The first idea that could be mentioned about the typology of political existence is the idea based upon one of the claims put forward by Zia al-Din al-Iraqi (also known as Mohaqeq Iraqi) who was a preacher in the Qajar era. He has mentioned the idea of objectivity of credit existence in two books entitled ‘Maqalat Alosoul’ (al-Iraqi, 1993) and ‘Nahayat Alafkar’ (al-Boroujerdi al-Najafi, 1985). Iraqi has another notion regarding typology of credit existence based on which he says that these existences are abstract. Hence, they will be placed in the second type of the typology of the present paper (al-Naeini, 1989). However, based on the first notion, after categorizing the reality into the three said types, Iraqi calls the recently said type the established type that are created by social norms. Hence, he believes that credit reality should have a contract-based source. Despite this idea, as Iraqi believes, the said realities no longer possess a contract-based reality after going through the stage of establishment and becoming stable but they get an outside reality like objective reality in a fashion that their continuation does not rely on their agents of establishment. From Iraqi’s viewpoint, although there is controversy over the existence of credit affairs, this difference of opinion stems from correctness or incorrectness of the contract creating them not the existence of credit affairs per se (Alipour & Hasani, 2011). For instance, based on Iraqi’s viewpoint, difference of opinion regarding the existence of government does not mean doubt over existence or non-existence of it but rather doubt over considering that government legal; a doubt that stems from legitimacy of that government based on international norms.
According to the notion of the objectivity of political existence, these types of existences have the exact same features as the objective existence. Objective existences are those that take place outside of the mind. This means that the said existences are those that fill the world outside of the mind (Oboudiat, 2013) and due to this have real consequences (Hasani & Mousavi, 2016). However, as the author believes, political existences lack some features of objective existences. Political existences lack occurrence outside of the mind in both the stage of creation and after that. This is because realities such as “government” and “political institutions” do not have outside substantiation in a fashion that we cannot say these realities fill some part of the “outside world” of the mind. Moreover, political existences do not have an independent essence in the outside world. However, political existences like objective existences have real consequences in the outside world. Basically, the reason behind the creation of these existences is to fulfill the real needs of humans. In brief, the notion of objectivity of political existences is not justified and hence Transcendent theosophy cannot study them.
This idea is the second notion that could be mentioned regarding the typology of political existences. Muhammad Taqi Mesbah believes in this notion and has put forward his theory in the three books entitled ‘Talighat Bar Nahayat Alhekma’ (Mesbah Yazdi, 2014), ‘Teaching Hekmat’ (Mesbah Yazdi, 1989a), and ‘Society and History from Quranic Viewpoint’ (Mesbah Yazdi, 1989b). According to this view, ethical, social, and political affairs as well as the law do not possess objectivity because concepts referring to these things do not have an equivalent outside of the mind. Despite this fact, they have been borrowed from real and objective matters (Ta’lighat Ala Nahayat Alhikma, 1985).
“From the viewpoint of Mesbah, ethical and social affairs do not belong to substantive matters, this is to say that they do not have an objective equivalent. For instance, the concept of thief, though it refers to a person, it actually refers to somebody who has stolen something from somebody; thus, it refers to the value and money stolen, hence gold. However, if we infer it as something that is desired by human for their needs we can see the point here. Moreover, the money that belongs to somebody refers to another concept namely property which does not have an objective equivalent. That is, by assigning owner to a person and assigning owned to gold, no change is made to either the person or the gold” (Alipour & Hasani, 2011, pp. 136-137).
According to this, political and social existences are abstracted from the human existence and his needs. These realities are related to objective realities and are not limited to social and individual desires of people. Hence, they are placed in the realm of causal rules.
Alipour and Hasani call political and social realities abstract realities and state that:
“In fact, what we mean is that social and law-related concepts are not substantive rationales whether they are essential or accidental (accident in philosophy) but do not belong to credit concepts either” (Alipour & Hasani, 2011, p. 139)
In the explanation of this excerpt we can say that Islamic clergy has categorized the realities of the world into three groups: First is objective reality (that is referred to by substantive concepts such as human), second is abstract reality (that second- hand rationales of philosophy such as ‘cause’ refer to), third is rational reality (that second-hand rational concepts such as material refer to them). Substantive concepts are abstracted from objective realities without much contemplation. For instance, the concept of human is abstracted when seeing the name ‘Ali’, this is while two other concepts need contemplation because realities related to these two concepts do not exist outside of the mind. Hence, political existences do not take place outside of the mind and do not fill any space in the world but this does not mean that they are non-existent. Islamic clergymen believe that second-hand philosophical rationales have a kind of existence reliant on substantive realities. In other words, as Mesbah believes, a concept such as government refers to a reality whose existence takes place beside the existence of humans.
According to this notion, political existences do not take place independently in the outside world and hence lack an objective equivalent in the world outside of the mind. However, they are not totally separated from these realities because the source of abstract existence creation is the real and unreal needs of humans. This is because of this objective trace that they are considered real and objective (Mesbah Yazdi, 1989b).
“Social and law-related concepts are those that are abstracted from real outside sources and are within the realm of causal relations. In fact, real human needs and developmental affairs that humans consider when they wish to reach prosperity are the ground for abstraction of such concepts and because these grounds such as human needs are real and developmental, concepts that are abstracted from them are also real. However, they are not like substantive concepts but like second-hand abstracted concepts; this means that second-hand non-rational rationales are similar to second-hand philosophical rationales. Hence, they have an outside dependent existence that depends on the source of abstraction (or in other words, outside concrete existence) and due to this do not change by difference of taste” (Alipour & Hasani, 2011, pp. 139-140).
According to this, political existences are objective despite lacking an outside equivalent but their existence is concrete and takes place beside objective existences. Hence, it is clear that the lack of outside taking place does not mean being non-existent. There are realities that take place alongside independent realities. Moreover, political existences have real results and consequences because they can fulfill human developmental desires.
As the author believes, to judge whether political existences are concrete or not depends on an analysis of the mechanism of political existence abstraction from objective existences and human needs. In other words, first it should be specified that whether the abstraction of a reality such as government from the needs such as security and well-being is like the abstraction of the concept ‘upper’ or lower from the relations between ‘sky’ and ‘earth’ or not. Hence, here we should compare the mechanism of abstract concepts abstraction and the how-to of concrete existence creation from independent existence to the mechanism of political existence creation.
Muhammad Hussein Tabatabaei and Motahari have explained the mechanism of concrete existence creation and second-hand philosophical concepts in the fifth article of the book ‘Philosophical principles and realism methodology’. According to their explanation, the said concepts are created by the mental comparison of an objective existence to itself or to another objective existence. Motahari explains that “concepts such as existence or non-existence, integrity or plurality, necessity or possibility, are all found after ‘carrying something on something’ and when the relations between two things is established” (Tabatabaei, 2006, pp. 58-59). This mechanism is conducted after theoretical science turns into practical science and at least two facets of objective existences are brought in the memory (Tabatabaei, 2006). Hence, concrete existences are created that take place alongside objective existences. Essential and concrete beings have an outside taking place despite the existence of two beings because concrete existences need an essential existence to take place (Tabatabaei, 2006b). In brief, concrete existences and second-hand philosophical concepts depend on objective existences. According to the idea of political existences being concrete we can say that it is possible to study political science from the viewpoint of transcendental theosophy because political realities would be under the realm of the world rules and principle and are analyzed by wisdom.
To answer the question that whether political existences are concrete and second-hand or not, it is first necessary to analyze credit existences and concepts.
This idea that political realities are credit-based is accepted by philosophers such as Muhammad Hussein Tabatabaei (2006), Morteza Motahari (Tabatabaei, 2006), and Mahdi Haeri (1982). According to this notion, political affairs are unreal existences that do not exist outside of the mind.
Hasani and Mousavi explain the unreal aspect of credit concepts:
“Credit concepts are unreal concepts […]. The force of illusion always comprehends affairs that firstly are ‘meaning’ not ‘face’ and secondly do not have any real side outside of humans or animals, that is do not have objective realities whether it be dependent or independent. Hence, credit concepts are not tangible and objective but meaning-based and subjective.
Credit concepts are created based on real meanings with the source of objective matters […]. This does not mean that credit concepts have a source of abstraction in the outside but rather the human mind creates these meanings based on real meanings obtained from the world outside. This creation creates another type of constancy in them; that is they are not optional […]. This feature refers to the human imitation at the stage of practice in the real world because as Allameh Tabatabaei believes humans create these meanings from the meaning obtained from objective matters. Generally, credit means that the definition of something is passed to another affair […]. This means a kind of patterning or the transfer of features from somewhere to another place just like what happens in a metaphor” (Hasani & Mousavi, 2016, p. 120).
When comparing this idea to the idea of political concepts being abstract, it is clear that the present idea calls the realities that were discussed in fact a result of the force ‘illusion’ and not wisdom. Via the mechanism of borrowing, objective existences features have been created for this type of concepts. The idea of political existences being credit-based calls the mechanism of the emerging of these existences a ‘practice of trope’. This is while, as said, according to the idea of political existences being abstract, the mechanism of the said existences emergence is the practice of ‘comparison.’ Trope is the use of a word in the meaning that is not the main meaning. For instance, in the sentence ‘Ali is a lion’ trope is used because lion is used in the sense of ‘brave’.
Motahari believes that in order to avoid the wrong usage in trope, the trivial meaning should have the trace of the meaning that is central (Tabatabaei, 2006). Because lion and Ali are both live entities, hence the word lion can be a good fit to replace Ali.
Metaphor is a type of trope in which the force of imagination assumes a word (lion) to be an adjective of another word (for instance Ali) and then ascribes an adjective (such as having glory or being strong) to the first word (lion) (Hasani, 2011). If the speaker assumes Ali to be strong, in the process of metaphor, this strength is ascribed to lion and the speaker says ‘lion is strong’. In this sentence ‘lion’ is a word that has been borrowed from the meaning ‘a brutal animal’ and has been used instead of the word Ali because the speaker has assumed Ali to be brave like a lion and he has seen fit to assume the lion is Ali because of this braveness.
As Hasani and Mousavi believe, the notion of political existences being credit-based specifies the establishment structure of the said existences (Hasani & Mousavi, 2016). According to this, humans consciously make and create affairs and matters only to fulfill their political needs. The reason behind creating these existences is to fulfill these needs and provide a ground for humans to survive in their political lives. The said existences are created in a virtual process despite having real results in life. To obtain this, the human mind calls the needs and status that cause the political survival the source of the borrowing process and then creates a set of concepts from the said status and needs. For instance, the human need of security compels him to find the best man in the society for security matters and assumes his status as the relationship between the head and the body in the process of trope and calls this person head of the society or in fact the king. The mind ascribes the importance of head (the survival of the whole body) to the said person and ascribes importance in regard to the survival of political existence to his being. Next, the mind has this ability to make this ‘king’, which has a real existence the trope for another entity (such as the government) and then call the government the head for the society (that is important to keep a living thing live) and pass all the features a king possesses to a government (Hasani, 2011). Hence, it is not possible to use transcendental theosophy in studying political existence because these political concepts not only do not have an equivalent in the outside world but also (on the contrary to the last viewpoint) it is not possible to imagine a dependent existence for them. Now, when all three ideas about political existences are clear, which one this paper favors?
After discussion about the typology of abstract and credit concepts and existences thereof, now it is time to answer the question that whether political existences are concrete and abstract concepts or not. To find the answer it is necessary that we refer to the emergence of theories, principles and political concepts by the scholarly society who have been active in political and social sciences. As the author believes, the content creation in social and political sciences shows that the said science has been created and spread via the mechanism of concept to concept borrowing and not by comparison of concepts to one another. This means that the way social and political academia operate in fact verifies the idea of political existences being credit-based.
An investigation of theories, approaches, and concepts in the realm of political and international studies verifies that political existences are credit-based. ‘Decision making theory’ (Bashiriyeh, 2001), rational choice theory (Hay, 2006), games theory (Bashiriyeh, 2001), coalition theory (Bashiriyeh, 2001), interchange theory (Bashiriyeh, 2001), neo-realism theory (Hay, 2006), and neo-liberalism theory (Hay, 2006) have all borrowed their concepts, approaches and patterns from economy and math. In the same way, behaviorism theory tries to create the principles of political behavior according to observable experimental patterns (Bashiriyeh, 2001) while old essentialism and new essentialism on the contrary to political behaviorism have built their doctrines upon historical and law realities but not on the present order (Hay, 2006). If we continue to wander in theories and doctrines of political and international science, we see that some of the teachings of political science and international relations have objective credit-based sources. For instance, ‘systemic analysis’ is borrowed from exact sciences (Ritzer & Goodman, 2011) and cybernetic attitude has borrowed from the mechanism of brain as an automatic system (Bashiriyeh, 2001). Besides what was said up until now, there is another set of theories in political science and international relations that have been obtained from trope-based interventions of the imagination force in other credit realities. Realism theory (Hay, 2006) with benchmarking from Thomas Hubs’ natural status notion, mass selection theory (Bashiriyeh, 2001), and spatial models (Bashiriyeh, 2001) have borrowed their teachings from Jeremy Bentham’s benefit authenticity pattern; and groups' theory has borrowed from Manchor Olson’s individual well-being pursuit. As can be seen, the theories referred to up until now include a vast range of credit existences that have been obtained from the mechanism of metaphor. The author believes that if another set of international relations theories are not referred to, it would not be possible to prove his claim. Two theories of “constructivism” (Hay, 2006) and “postmodernism” (Hay, 2006) are what the author intends to talk about. The former takes its root from borrowing from shared perception patterns of humans to infer the meaning of other’s behavior. This is while the latter theory, on the contrary to constructivism theory, has an anti-rational superficial approach and tries to use the criticism of Aristotle rationale of postmodern scholars such as Bourdieu for the foundation of postmodernism theory in international relations.
In brief, the investigation of how scholars in political science and international relations operate shows that the emergence and spread of political science and international relations has been due to borrowing from substantive, abstract and credit concepts and not comparison or evaluation of objective existences with themselves or to other objective existences. This means that political existences are part of credit realities and concepts and hence cannot be in the realm of theosophy (Haeri Yazdi, 1982). But the crucial question in this paper is whether we can use transcendental theosophy (that looks at the outside taking place of existence) to explore credit existences and if yes, how is it done? Hence, we shall explore the answer. In so doing, we will see the relations between objective realities and credit realities.
Political affairs are realities that do not take place in the world outside of mind whether it is independent (objective and substantive existences) or concrete (abstract concepts). But as it was mentioned earlier, political existences are created because they fulfill some internal needs of human beings. Hence, it would seem that there are relations between political existences and objective ones. How is this relation? Two different answers can be found among contemporary philosophers that follow:
Some Muslim philosophers have affirmative answer to the question of whether there are relations between political existence and objective existence. But their answer is not based on one philosophical foundation. In other words, those philosophers that believe in the idea of political existences being concrete explain the relations between objective existences and political existences differently than those who favor political existences being credit-based. Philosophers such as Muhammad Taqi Mesbah who believe that social existences generally and political existences specifically are in the typology of concrete and abstract concepts. Hence, the relationship between political existences and objective existences is like other abstract concepts and objective existences. It was said earlier that the mechanism of the emergence of concrete existences and abstract concepts is in fact the act of comparison. This is to say that the human mind, to know an objective existence, compares it to itself or another objective existence. This is via this process that the mind gets to know new realities and its unknown becomes the known. According to the teachings of Islamic philosophy, the mind finds a face (picture) after having an encounter with an outside reality. This picture is called mental or subjective existence. Because the relations between this mental picture and the outside reality is a real relation, hence the outside reality relation with itself or other outside realities is the same relation between the mental picture and itself or other pictures that exist in the mind. Hence, the mind, to know an objective reality, compares its picture to itself. The mind, in this process of comparison, is in pains to find one of the four of the following between the two mental pictures: epenthesis, necessity, contrast, and parity. This relation manifests the real relation between outside realities that the said pictures refer to; because the existence of mental pictures is the same as the existence of realities. The human mind, sometimes, does not need the intervention of other pictures to find one of the four types of relations between mental pictures. In this case, there is going to be a direct relation between the two pictures and hence two objectives outside realities. However, if there is the need that a third mental picture be present so that a mental picture could be connected to another mental picture, in this case, the relation between the first objective reality and the second outside reality is made possible via the third outside reality. Hence, a real relation between objective realities in the outside world is uncovered (Tabatabaei, 2006).
The relation between abstract and concrete concepts and to other objective realities is like the relation between objective realities to one another because concrete realities are somehow related to objective realities and because of that possess outside taking place. In fact, this very process of taking place causes them to have the four relation types of necessity, contrast, parity and epenthesis. Those who believe in the political sciences being concrete claim that political concepts such as government, parliament, and the political system have real referents outside of the mind and due to that are considered real. In fact, the emergence of the said concepts in the mind is via those objective realities and these realities are real referents for those concepts. Due to this real relation between political concepts and objective realities various kinds of real relations have existed between objective realities among political concepts and realities; and the principles of logical deduction is operational in regard to them. The necessity to this matter is that political science could in fact be explored and studies from the viewpoint of transcendental theosophy.
Philosophers who favor the notion of political existences being credit-based such as Muhammad Hussein Tabatabaei, Motahari, Mehdi Haeri and Abdollah Javadi disagree with Mesbah’s idea regarding the existence of real relations between objective existences and political ones. They do not call political existences the real referent of objective realities. According to the idea of political existences being credit-based, the said concepts become referents for realities only in the framework of imagination. The reality of ‘credit’ that has been regarded in the notion of political existences being credit-based, is that the mind extends the objective reality referents based on motivations in the life and then assumes other concepts as the referents of those realities (Tabatabaei, 2006). But it is worth reminding that the imaginary nature of the said concepts does not block them from having real consequences because according to epistemological teachings of Islamic theosophy, the human essence has first been ‘sheer talent’ and in fact is like a white sheet that no picture has been drawn on it. This white sheet first comprehends trivial sense-based realities and then reaches mass logical realities according to its special mechanisms (Tabatabaei, 2006). All the trivial or general realities in the mind whether real (adapted to a reality outside the mind) or abstract (that is, taken from an outside reality) or credit (that is, imaginary referent of an outside reality) or ‘error’ (that is, not adapted to an outside reality) have all become connected to outside realities. So, political existences should have been taken from substantive or abstract concepts so that they can connect to objective realities of outside. In brief, political concepts and realities are connected to realities outside of the mind with adaptation from real and abstract concepts. Because of this they have real consequences on the human life (Tabatabaei, 2006). If the idea of lack of relation between objective realities and political realities is accepted, then it is not possible to study and explore political sciences directly from the viewpoint of existentialism and transcendental theosophy.
According to the notion of ‘originality of being’ what really constructs the world outside of the mind is objective existences that take place and reside outside of the mind of humans. These existences fall into two groups regarding to their type of taking place and residence: First is objective realities that emerge in the mind with substantive concepts and second is concrete existences whose picture is called abstract concepts. Abstract concepts refer to existences whose being takes place alongside objective realities outside of the mind. But instead of the two said existences, there is also established existences that emerge in the mind as credit-based concepts. Their feature is that they do not take place or reside in the outside world neither in an independent way nor alongside other objective realities and therefore they cannot have a real and objective connection with the two sets of outside realities. However, human beings’ needs of these realities and the real consequences that the said realities have in meeting the needs of humans shows that there is a type of connection between established realities and the earlier abstract and concrete realities because the human mind is structured in a way that cannot create credit concepts even in the framework of imagination without connecting objectively to realities that take place and reside outside of the mind. Hence, the claim of the present paper is that established realities that include political existences can be studies carefully with the viewpoint of originality of being.
An attempt was made in this paper to explain the things that the subject ‘originality of being’ could entail for ‘political sciences’. In so doing, we tried to explore the typology of political affairs at the beginning of the paper and clarify whether it is possible to study and explore the matters in this science with the viewpoint of originality of being. To do so, it was explained that the concepts used in all the human knowledge and hence realities in the world fall into one of the three categories of substantive concepts (that are the mental picture for objective realities), abstract concepts (that are the mental picture of concrete existences), and credit-based concepts (that are the mental picture of established existences).
The results of the study illustrate that in the viewpoint of a minority of Muslim philosophers the things that are dealt with in this science are abstract concepts and hence political existences are part of concrete existences. However, an investigation into the activities of academia of political sciences and international relations shows that the process of political knowledge creation such as abstraction of political existences is not among concrete realities but their scientific work proves the opinion of some other Muslim philosophers who believe that political science issues are in the typology of established existences that do not possess outside of the mind taking place or residence. Hence, these matters cannot be studied or explored with the subject of originality of being because established existences can be referents for objective existences and concrete existences only in the framework of the mind. Only in this way could they obtain dependent and independent taking place and residence in the world outside of the mind. Hence, political sciences cannot utilize transcendental theosophy in a direct manner. In fact, concepts and principles of this philosophy are borrowed and utilized in political sciences.
This research is a part of the author’s project entitled “The Philosophical models of Political Science according to Transcendental Theosophy” which is in progress in Islamic Science and Culture Academy.