An Epistemological Turn in Contemporary Islamic Reform Discourse

Journal of World Philosophies 3 (1):215-239 (2015)
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Abdolkarim Soroush’s thought is regarded by some researchers as a turning point in contemporary Islamic reform discourse. This article concerns Soroush’s epistemology as a determining factor in this paradigm shift and interprets this shift as an epistemological turn in Islamic reform discourse, shifting from ›Islamic genealogy of modernity‹ to rationalization of Islamic methodology. After a short introduction to Soroush’s intellectual biography, this article will isolate neorationalism or neo-Mu’tazilism, religious post-positivism, historicism, hermeneutics, and dialogism as main features of Soroush’s epistemology. This paper suggests that rationalism as reasoning independent from revelation and non-essentialism are two main determining pillars of Soroush’s epistemology. In the conclusion, I shortly compare Soroush’s thought with some other contemporary Muslim reform thinkers and discuss how and why Soroush’s thought can be interpreted as an epistemological turn in Islamic reform discourse.
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