Nature along Man’s Journey of Return

Document Type : Research Paper


Ph.D. in Islamic Studies, Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University, CA. (philosopher and a specialist in Islamicate and German philosophy)


This paper examines some key aspects of the formal and figurative discourse on ‘nature’ as manifested in the philosophical tradition and with reference to contemporary life. Instead of building a straightforward, self-enclosed argument for the sake of argument, it will demonstrate how someone living today may arrive at certain kinds of judgments in the light both of our collective human inheritance, of which Ḥikma is a major element, and a philosophical reasoning that penetrates into areas of life with which philosophy is not directly or primarily concerned but which are of fundamental importance to all human beings. It begins by sketching a picture of the present historical moment, which many specialists consider a historical anomaly precipitated by the abrupt rise to world domination by a single geographical region. A few basic themes relating to ‘nature’, which by tradition has been approached either figurately or formally, will then be discussed. Their upshot is that for man to live ‘naturally’, he cannot reduce his own nature to that of other animals. Every being has its particular nature. Therefore, the concept of nature cannot be considered only unconditionally or as something common to all animals. Finally, this paper poses two basic questions: Why has our necessary—but equally ‘natural’—separation from the nature of other beings been allowed to go as far as it has? Are we so alone in our modern troubles that we must cast off our human inheritance and pretend to reinvent the universe at every turn?


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