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Philosophical foundations of the Bahá’í teachings, including ontology, theology, epistemology, philosophical anthropology and psychology, and personal and social ethics.
Presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #86, Louhelen Bahá'í School, Michigan (October 9-12, 2008). Mirrored with permission from

Some Answered Questions:
A Philosophical Perspective

by Ian Kluge

published in Lights of Irfan, Volume 10, pages 149-274
Wilmette, IL: Irfan Colloquia, 2009

By identifying and examining the philosophical positions explicitly and implicitly embedded in Some Answered Questions, this paper calls attention to the philosophical foundations of the Bahá’í teachings. The goal is to understand these teachings philosophically, as distinct from understanding them historically or theologically for example. The areas covered are ontology, onto-theology, epistemology, philosophical anthropology and psychology, and personal and social ethics. This paper also identifies those philosophical views with which the positions taken in Some Answered Questions have the greatest natural affinity.

Part I: Ontology
1. SAQ’s Ontology: Some Basic Principles
2. Ontological Realism
3. Ontological Pluralism
4. Distinctions of Being and Power
5. Ontological Hierarchism
6. Hierarchy After Death
7. Kinds and their Perfections
8. A Dynamic Ontology
9. A Nested Hierarchy
10. Panentheism
11. Ontology: Causality
11a Four-Fold Causality
11b Consequences of Four-Fold Causality
12. Teleology
13. Intelligent Design
14. Hylomorphism
15. An Application of Four-Fold Causality
16. Platonic Trends in SAQ
17. The Reality of Universals
18. Reflection and Participation
19. Existence and Nonexistence
20. The Structure of Beings
21. Essence and Existence
22. God — an Epistemological Preview
23. The Existence of God: Argument from Contingency
24. The Ontological Argument
25. The Argument from Design
26. The Argument from Change
27. The Perfection of Creation
28. A Process Ontology

Part II: Onto-Theology
29. The Ontological Attributes of God
30. Emanationism
31. The Manifestations
32. The Manifestation as World-Soul
33. Three Comments
34. The Manifestations’ Superior Knowledge

Part III: Epistemology
35. Realism and the Correspondence Theory of Truth
36. Rejection of Nominalism and Conceptualism
37. Sources of Knowledge
38. A Reflection on `Abdu’l-Bahá’s Statements
39. The Question of Certainty: Scylla & Charybdis
40. Moderate Rationalism
41. Knowledge of Essences
42. Objective, Subjective Knowledge
43. Knowledge of God
44. God’s Knowledge
45. Mind
46. Mind is Not Brain
47. Brain and Mind — A Formal Connection
48. Infallibility

Part IV: Philosophical Anthropology
49. Human Nature
50. The Soul and Immortality
51. The Rational Soul
52. Humankind’s Dual Nature
53. Inherent Struggle Between Higher, Lower Natures
54. The Purpose of Earthly Existence
55. Innate, Inherited and Acquired Character
56. Free Will
57. Ethics
58. Virtue Ethics
59. Progress
60. Human Evolution
61. SAQ and Science

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