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Rethinking the Human Person

Moral Landscape and Ethical Literacy

Nahal Jafroudi

Recent developments in the natural and social sciences have brought great benefits to humanity, both in terms of our material wellbeing and our intellectual and conceptual capacities. Yet, despite a broad ethical consensus and highly developed innate faculties of reason and conscience, there seems to be a significant discrepancy between how we ought to behave and how we actually behave, leading to a disregard for the dignity of human persons across the globe. This book suggests that the problem arises from various misunderstandings of the nature of the self and that the solution could lie in adopting a holistic concept of the human person within the context of a carefully cultivated ethical literacy. It argues that the ideas of the Iranian philosopher Ostad Elahi (1895–1974) provide a powerful and compelling alternative to the dominant post-Enlightenment understanding of selfhood, education and morality.

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Note on References and Abbreviations


Reference to works by Descartes, Hume and Freud are made throughout by means of a system of abbreviations. References to the Persian editions of Nur Ali Elahi’s works which have been cited but have not been officially translated are also made throughout by means of a system of abbreviations.

The abbreviations to editions of Descartes’ works are as follows:

AT Oeuvres de Descartes Vols I–XII and Supplement, ed. C. Adam and P. Tannery (Paris: Vrin/CNRS 1964–1976) [References from this work are in the order of volume/page number]

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