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Thoughtlessness and Decadence in Iran
A Sojourn in Comparative Political Theory
Thoughtlessness and Decadence in Iran
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Alireza Shomali - Author
Price: $95.00 
Hardcover - 480 pages
Release Date: April 2019
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-7379-6

Price: $34.95 
Paperback - 480 pages
Release Date: January 2020
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-7378-9

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Bridges Western and non-Western political thought to address the problem of democracy and political decadence in contemporary Iran and, by implication, similar Islamic societies.

Political decay in Islamic societies has for the most part been the subject of structural analyses while philosophical studies have been rare, often speculative and deterministic. Thoughtlessness and Decadence in Iran explores from a theoretical perspective the problem of democracy deficit—or, political decadencein contemporary Iran and, by implication, in present-day Middle Eastern societies. This decadence, the book argues, is in part a religion-based decadence, and deliverance from it requires collective thoughtfulness aboutreligion. Alireza Shomali conceptualizes the Iranian Reality in terms of a lack of not only good life but also thinking of good living. This thoughtlessness means dissolution of critical consciousness and, as such, it heralds escalating decadence. At this moment of rapid decay, the book argues, thought must becomerelevant to society: the communicative practice of thinking must emerge to examine the pathologies of a religiously administrated life. Opening a dialogue between Adorno, Strauss, Farabi, and Razi, among others, Shomali underlines the critical points of similarity and difference between these thinkers and envisions a “local” emancipatory project that, noting the specifics of the Iranian case, takes lessons from the Western experience without blind imitation.

“The book is global in its vision, but also clearly local in its immersion in the philosophies, values, and culture of Iran and Iranian Islam. This unique characteristic helps its prescription become local, and simultaneously stay away from nativist, third-worldist and decolonialist discourses.” — Abdolkarim Soroush, author of The Expansion of Prophetic Experience

Alireza Shomali is Associate Professor of Political Science at Wheaton College. He is the author of Politics and the Criteria of Truth.

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Table of Contents


1. Headless Babes: Adorno and Thinking about Thinking

2. These Impotent Rebels: Strauss and Modern Decadence

3. God’s Greatest Name: Disparity Dictum and Political Religion

4. So Long as They Stay Asinine: Razi on Reason and Religion

5. The Folklore of Philosophy: Farabi’s Political Philosophy of Religion


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