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A COMPARATIVE STUDY AND CRITIQUE OF PHILOSOPHICAL AND EDUCATIONAL ESSENTIALISM

MOHAMMAD ZAIMARAN, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Abstract

This dissertation is a comparative study of the educational philosophy of four major thinkers: Plato and Aristotle in the West, Rumi and Mulla Sadra in the Muslim world. This study examines their educational philosophies in the light of essentialism. For insight into their perspectives on epistemology, four major dimensions i.e., knowledge, love (eros), excellence (arete), and action (praxis) are considered.^ In the case of Plato and Aristotle, recent translations of their works call for a reconsideration of their viewpoints. Utilizing these translations, this study takes the position that essentialism is not fully supported by their thought. Some modern essentialists and progressive pedagogues have associated Plato and Aristotle with essentialism partly because they have relied heavily upon Medieval Latin translations of classical Greek works.^ In the Muslim world, the renowned philosopher Avicenna (Ibn Sina) advocated an essentialist position based on Plato and Aristotle. In fact, he was the first philosopher who propounded the conception of the duality of essence and existence, and asserted that essence precedes existence. Thus, the birthplace of essence as a philosophical notion is to be found in the Medieval Islamic philosophy. However, Rumi and Mulla Sadra of the Muslim world challenge essentialist deductions of Ibn Sina.^ As a final point, pedagogical assumptions of an essentialist viewpoint are critiqued in the light of the thinking of Plato, Aristotle, Rumi and Mulla Sadra. ^

Subject Area

Educational philosophy

Recommended Citation

ZAIMARAN, MOHAMMAD, "A COMPARATIVE STUDY AND CRITIQUE OF PHILOSOPHICAL AND EDUCATIONAL ESSENTIALISM" (1985). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI8602709.
http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dissertations/AAI8602709

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