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Democracy in Modern IranIslam, Culture, and Political Change$
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Ali Mirsepassi

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814795644

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814795644.001.0001

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Intellectuals and Democracy

Intellectuals and Democracy

(p.81) 4 Intellectuals and Democracy
Democracy in Modern Iran

Ali Mirsepassi

NYU Press

This chapter presents a perspective on contemporary intellectual thought in Iran. The dominant intellectual perspective of the Iranian intellectual on democracy and modernity has been philosophical, and has been in the tradition of philosophical rationalism. This philosophical reading of modern ideas and society has reduced the hold on democracy to an embrace of “progress,” “scientific rationality,” and “reason.” Democratic ideas and institutions have therefore either been seen as by-products of modern rationality or as the absence of intellectual sensibilities concerning culture. The chapter also reviews the ideas of three important intellectuals—Abdulkarim Soroush, Javad Tabatabai, and Aramesh Dustdar—whose writings have influenced Iran in the post-revolutionary period, arguing that their works, despite important differences and the political implications that follow from these differences, are philosophically in agreement with one another.

Keywords:   contemporary intellectual thought, Iranian intellectual, democracy, modernity, philosophical rationalism, Abdulkarim Soroush, Javad Tabatabai, Aramesh Dustdar

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