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The Iranian MetaphysicalsExplorations in Science, Islam, and the Uncanny$
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Alireza Doostdar

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691163772

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691163772.001.0001

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Virtuous Caution

Virtuous Caution

(p.58) 5 Virtuous Caution
The Iranian Metaphysicals

Alireza Doostdar

Princeton University Press

This chapter shows that Shiʻi scholars approach the occult with virtuous caution. The cautious sensibility adopted by some Shiʻi jurists is rooted, on the one hand, in appreciation of the many risks of engaging with the occult. On the other hand, it is based on an understanding that the boundaries between licit and illicit modes of occult practice and the criteria by which virtuous practitioners of the occult are to be distinguished from charlatans are not clear-cut. Virtuous caution allows one to take part in the occult's murky realm and to enjoy certain benefits from it without succumbing to its perils. The chapter considers some of the dangers associated with the occult, including one that has to do with the sociality of sorcery and rumor.

Keywords:   occult, virtuous caution, Shiʻi jurists, sorcery, rumor, cautious sensibility

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