Persian Version



For years I could not understand the animosity of Marxist groups such as hezb-e tudeh with Iranian liberals, such as the Bazargan government and its spokesman Amir Entezam.


I was always surprised why these leftists sided with hezbollAhis during the hostage crisis and were happy about the subsequent overthrow of the Bazargan government.


I also was surprised why the Soviet and Chinese Marxist hardliners were always against the liberals.


In fact, many of the Marxist groups in Iran fell apart, because of the international experiences such as the Killing Fields of Cambodia and the revelations following the falling apart of the Soviet Union, and not because of a strong critic of this ideology in Iranian intellectual circles.  Whereas various ideologies that had their roots in this school of thought, had reigned in Iranian intellectual thought for almost a century.  Even the ideology of some Islamic organizations such as MojAhdein had strong roots in the Marxist ideology.


I did a research about "Marxist Thought & Monism", which answered some of the questions I had about the anti-liberal stand of many Iranian revolutionary organizations. You can find my paper at the following URL:




My above paper is mentioned at the following bibliography, alongside many other works, that in one way or other, have dealt with related topics:





Of course, Marxism being the major school of thought in the last century has had so many versions and some of them are even pluralist.


Moreover, regardless of the issue of pluralism, Marx and Marxists have contributed a lot to many areas of modern social sciences, and humanities, and my following critic of monism in Marxist Thought, is not aimed at discrediting those contributions.


Also in contrast to Monism, I have also studied the subject of pluralism in the Western Philosophy.  The following is what I have written on Pluralism:




Some of the leading thinkers of the 20th Century, such as Bertrand Russell and Karl Popper, had noted the value of pluralism in the Western Philosophy.


And of course, one could find pluralistic metaphysics in philosophical works ranging from Aristotle's Metaphysics to Leibniz's monadology and Russell's logical atomism.  I wrote the following about the main works of this Western Thought researching the original works of these authors but did not find the time to put them all together in a book:












In fact, Russell's Logical Atomism, which he proposed at a juncture of his philosophical journey, was a very pluralistic philosophy, and even some philosophers of our times, such as Nelson Goodman, in his "Many Ways of World-making," have pursued Russell's paradigm. 


And there are many less known works such as a book called "Architectonics of Meaning, Foundations of the New Pluralism" by Walter Watson, that have tried to better understand the fundamental attributes of Pluralism in the philosophical thought. 


I think the Iranian intellectual thought can benefit a lot from the contributions of philosophers who have worked more on pluralistic approach in philosophy, whether they have worked in moral philosophy such as John Rawls in his "Lectures on the History of Moral Philosophy" or Quine in his works on ontology, necessity, and experience.


I think Iranian intellectual thought has had more tendency towards monism than pluralism and this is why Marxism and especially the more monistic versions of it, have had more appeal among the Iranian revolutionaries. We have not had an abundance of people partial to James, Russell or Popper in Iran, but have had an abundance of ones following Lenin or Khomeini.  I think it is more important for us to ponder on the merits of pluralistic thought, both in philosophical or religious thinking.  


Let me finish my note with the following passage from William James, from his lectures in 1907 entitled "A PLURALISTIC UNIVERSE". I find this passage an excellent explication of Pluralism:


"Pragmatically interpreted, pluralism or the doctrine that it is many means only that sundry parts of reality *may be externally related*. Everything you can think of, however vast or inclusive, has on the pluralistic view a genuinely 'external' environment of some sort or amount.  Things are 'with' one another in many ways, but nothing includes everything, or dominates over everything.  The word 'and' trails along after every sentence.  Something always escapes. "Even not quite" has to be said of the best attempts made anywhere in the universe at attaining all-inclusiveness.  The pluralistic world is thus more like a federal republic than like an empire or a kingdom. However much may be collected, however, much may report itself as present at any effective center of consciousness or action, something else is self-governed and absent and unreduced to unity.


"Monism, on the other hand, insists that when you come down to reality as such, to the reality of realities, everything is present to *everything* else in one vast instantaneous co-implicated complete-ness-nothing can in any sense, functional or substantial, be really absent from anything else, all things interpenetrate and telescope together in the great total conflux."  (William James, PLURALISTIC UNIVERSE, Harvard Edition, Page 45, 1977 print).


The above does not mean that I agree with the philosophy of William James. In fact, in my above paper about Pluralism, I have written a critic of James for his support of Bergson, which I find odd considering James's partiality towards pluralism.


What is important in pluralist thought is not just acknowledgement of multiplicity but it is giving different weights to different theories which was done by Ockham's razor in Medieval Times and by Popper's falsification in Modern Times when a theory believing in handshake as a reason for pregnancy would not have equal weight to a theory based on scientific explanation of eggs and sperm. I have extensively discussed this topic of Philosophy of Science in my following paper which is only in Persian:




I also have differentiated pluralism from Sufism in my following paper:




Finally let me close this note by saying that I doubt it that humanity in any country can achieve the American ideal of *pursuit of happiness* taken from Leibniz within the confines of monism, whether it is a religious monism or an atheistic monism.


Sam Ghandchi, Publisher


Sept 1, 2001








* The above article was first posted on Jebhe BB on Sept 1, 2001




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