ولفسون، فیلسوف نامآشنای یهودی، با نگارش مجموعهای از آثار، در صدد بازنویسی تاریخ فلسفۀ غرب با محوریت یهودیت برآمد. او برای انجام این مهم، روش فرضی-استنتاجی یا روش تلمودی مطالعه متون را بهکار بست. ولفسون از این طریق بهدنبال مسائل حلناشده، منابع ناشناخته، روابط ناشناخته و مسیرهای ناشناختۀ فلسفه بود. چالش درک و کشف منشأ و خاستگاه، ساختار و تنوع نظامهای فلسفی برای او جذاب بود. با این که هیچگونه ارتباطی بین مطالعۀ تلمودی و تحقیقات فلسفی وجود نداشت و ولفسون کاملاً غرق در دومی بود، از یک قرابت روششناختی بین آن دو بهترین بهرهبرداری را کرد. این روش مبتنی بر این پیشفرض است که تناقض واقعی در اندیشههای یک متفکر واقعی وجود ندارد. بدیهی است با یافتن یک مورد نقضی میتوان پیشفرض فوق و بهتبع آن، روش مورد نظر ولفسون را زیر سوال برد. منسجم و نظاممند نشان دادن اندیشههای یک متفکر و بیان ناگفتهها و نانوشتههای اندیشۀ وی، مرتبط ساختن مطالب غیرمرتبط و رفع تناقضات ظاهری اندیشههای یک اندیشمند، از جمله کارکردهای روش پیشگفته است. استفادۀ ولفسون از اصطلاحات، بدون توجه به تطور تاریخی آنها، تحمیل چارچوب فکری خود بر متفکر مورد بحث، گزافی و دلبخواهی انتخاب کردن متن و یهودیسازی تاریخ تفکر و جانبداری او از تفکر یهودی، از مهمترین نقدهایی است که بر او وارد است. افزون بر این، ابهامات یا خطرات قرائت متنی نیز میتواند دستمایۀ روش او قرار گیرد.
عنوان مقاله [English]
A Critique of Wolfson's Method in Reading Philosophical and Theological Texts
Wolfson, a well-known Jewish philosopher, sought to rewrite the history of Western philosophy with a focus on Judaism. In so doing, he used the hypothetical-inferential method or the Talmudic method of studying texts. He sought unresolved problems, unknown sources, unknown relationships, and unknown paths of philosophy. The challenge of understanding the origin, structure, and diversity of philosophical systems was fascinating to him. Although there was no connection between Talmudic study and philosophical research, he made the best use of a methodological affinity between them. This method is based on the assumption that there is no real contradiction in the thoughts of a real thinker. Obviously, by finding a case of violation, one can question the above assumption and, consequently, Wolfson's method. Coherent and systematic presentation of a thinker's thoughts and expression of the unspoken and unwritten thoughts of his thoughts, linking irrelevant contents and resolving the apparent contradictions of a thinker's thoughts are the most important functions of this method. His use of terms regardless of their historical evolution, imposing his intellectual framework on the thinker in question, exaggeration and arbitrariness in choosing the text, and Judaizing the history of thought and his support for Jewish thought are the most important criticisms of his method.
Key words: Wolfson, Hypothetical-inferential method, Talmudic method, Philo, Spinoza, Crescas.
What attracts attention more than any other honor during Wolfson’s scientific life is the use of hypothetical-inferential method in the study of philosophical and theological texts, or in short, the method of guess and test. Wolfson's method can be delivered to the following question: How should one read philosophical and theological texts? Based on the hypothetical-inferential method in the study of philosophical and theological texts, first a question is raised and speculation is made based on the available data, and in the next step, by studying the texts part by part and carefully, supporting evidence and clues are gathered and Violations are not given much attention. The method proposed by Wolfson, like the Talmudic method, is based on the assumption that a text is written so carefully that every term, interpretation, generalization or exception is important, not only its apparent meaning, but also its implications.
One of the functions and goals of the hypothetical-inferential method is to reach the intellectual structure of a thinker and to reveal the invisible processes of their reasoning. The subtitle of Wolfson's book Spinoza's Philosophy is well indicative of the purpose and function of the aforementioned method. Spinoza's philosophy has to do with the process of revealing the process of hidden arguments. In the hypothetical-inferential method, the goal is to find the origin of a theory, and by applying this method, the hidden process of philosophical thinking is revealed.
Access to the unsaid and unwritten of a thinker is another function of using the hypothetical-inferential method of studying texts. According to Wolfson, a text is not an express expression of the author in a specific situation and at a specific time and for a specific audience, but rather it is to address unspoken and deep thoughts. He points out that the words spoken by philosophers, in their best and most complete state, remain floating and moving objects on the water, indicating the existence of unspoken thoughts submerged or under water.
Our method in this article is to show the shortcomings and weaknesses of Wolfson's hypothetical-inferential method. In fact, he claims that there is no real contradiction in the thought of the discussed philosophers, and that their thoughts are consistent and coherent. Any attempt leads to violation of these two claims and questioning Wolfson's method.
Some criticisms of Wolfson's proposed method are mentioned. Wolfson's method is always threatened by the danger of applying the aforementioned paradigm and intellectual and mental framework in understanding the thoughts of thinkers. This danger occurs in two ways: It is considered a theory and based on this, it attributes a theory to the author that it was not possible to adopt this theory in his time, or he required materials that did not exist at that time in terms of concepts and meanings. Undoubtedly, the meaning of the terms undergoes changes over time and their current meaning is different from their previous meaning. Wolfson only attributes a theoretical text to the author due to the family similarity of the words, which was not possible to propose at that time. One of the problems of the coherent method proposed by Wolfson is to show an author who has presented many inconsistent and incoherent materials. For example, comparing the treatises of Philo of Alexandria with the coherent and uniform interpretation that Wolfson gave in two volumes of Philo of Alexandria, fundamentals of Religious Philosophy in Judaism, Christianity and Islam have been obtained from him is enough to confirm the above point. One of the flaws of the hypothetical-inferential method, and to put it better, the biggest problem of the said method, is its reliance on this presupposition or the principle of the matter that there is no real contradiction in a true and real thinker, and on what appears to be a contradiction or inconsistency at first glance. It turns out that by analyzing the data, you can find out that they are not real.
Conclusion and Discussions
Judaizing the history of philosophy or rewriting the history of philosophy centered on Judaism is one of the serious criticisms of Wolfson. He wanted to publish a multi-volume history of philosophy with the general title of Structure and Development of Philosophical Systems from Plato to Spinoza. As noted, the beginning and end point of the seventeen-century period of religious thought was very dear to Wolfson, and he was very unhappy that his conceptual plan did not have a wide impact on the periodization of the history of philosophy. Wolfson's research draws attention to the confiscation of opinions and views of Christian and Muslim thinkers in favor of Jewish philosophy. His main goal was to prove Jewish philosophy and even beyond that to prove the centrality of Jewish thought in various types of religious philosophy.
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