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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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Scientific Virtues

Scientific Virtues

(p.123) 13 Scientific Virtues
The Iranian Metaphysicals

Alireza Doostdar

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how modern science provided the imaginative resources used by some moral reformers to define their own qualifications in terms of the virtues proper to scientific practice. Historians of science have long recognized the centrality of certain virtues and their atendant sensibilities and modes of comportment for disciplined scientific activity. The chapter first considers Mirza Khalil Khan Saqafi's contention that Spiritism taught forgiveness, sacrifice, charity, patience, duty, and respect for the Golden Rule, among other virtues, before discussing his moral ideas and his scientific interest in spirit communication as well as Naser Makarem Shirazi's views on the scientific virtues. It also describes Makarem's emphasis on the virtue of skepticism as proper to scientific discovery. Whereas Khalil Khan had discovered positive moral facts through his séances with the spirits of the dead, Makarem undercut such claims to moral truth—which he saw as anarchic—by discrediting the séance.

Keywords:   science, Mirza Khalil Khan Saqafi, Spiritism, virtue, Naser Makarem Shirazi, skepticism, scientific discovery, séances, spirit, moral reform

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