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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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Empirical Spirits

Empirical Spirits

(p.112) 12 Empirical Spirits
The Iranian Metaphysicals

Alireza Doostdar

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines some of the earliest attempts at synthesizing theological speculation with the methods of the empirical sciences, drawing special attention to the epistemic and moral consequences of such syntheses. It also considers the neglected influence of Spiritism and psychical research among Iranian intellectuals in the first half of the twentieth century. The chapter first discusses the role of Mirza Khalil Khan Saqafi in bringing Spiritism to Iran and Spiritists' method of communication with disembodied souls, which they claimed were the fruit of modern scientific discovery. It then explores how experimental spirit science atracted interest from outside the network of commited Spiritists, focusing on Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's views on hypnotism and séances with disembodied spirits. Finally, it shows how the Spiritists promoted empirical observation as a reliable means for verifying the existence of souls.

Keywords:   empirical science, Spiritism, Mirza Khalil Khan Saqafi, Spiritists, disembodied souls, spirit science, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, hypnotism, séances, disembodied spirits

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