A Book review of “On the Knowledge System”

According to the public relations department of the Research Institute for Social and Cultural Studies of the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, a book review meeting of “On the Knowledge System” by Dr. EbrahimTowfiqwas held on Tuesday, Oct.27th, 2018 in TarbiatModares University, the Faculty of Humanities; with the presence of Dr. NematollahFazeli, a faculty member of the Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies, Dr. Reza Samim, a faculty member of the Research Institute for Social and Cultural Studies and Dr. Naser-Al-din Ali Taghavian, the secretary of the meeting.

At the beginning, Taghavian referred to three approaches to the knowledge system: We have three approaches here; the first, post-colonial and phenomenological approach represented by the author of the book. The second approach is historical-critical or phenomenological, which Dr. Samim will be one of its critics, and the third approach is cultural history, which has methodologically discrepancies with previous approaches and Dr. NematullahFazeli has this approach.

Dr. EbrahimTowfiq commented on his work and said: “Of course, my doctoral dissertation is an attempt on the government that does not have much relation with this, because it is a modern reading of Iranian history, which takes up the nineteenth century with a glimpse of history, that is, from 1953 Iranian coup d’étatto the Islamic Revolution. I criticize the views who believe that modern government has been experienced in Iran and I have been trying to show what the modern state is, and show the developments in Iran after the 28 Mordad coup d’état,
He added: “We have a discipline of knowledge that places a man in a difficult situation and is a confused hunch that cannot be opened, as if the task of the social sciences is not to open it. It can only retell it. In fact, its relationship with time is here. That is, we are in a position that neither this nor that! And the social sciences can only say that this is a transitional state. In fact, it cannot report from this situation. I call this outcome as “suspension of the present time.”

Dr. Reza Samim said: we can put a paradigm against a genealogical view and this is a phenomenological paradigm. In this paradigm, there is no rupture, unlike the genealogy paradigm.Towfiq points out that our sociology is not historical and our history is not sociological. I want to say that neither history nor our sociology is temporal. Because they never realized that time should be understood. In the phenomenological paradigm, the axiom is ourcommon life world.

In the following, DrFazeli, a faculty member of the Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies, referring to the first chapter of the book of “On the Knowledge System”, said: “In this chapter, Dr. Towfiq is trying to explain the issue of social sciences in Iran. In his view, in the social science of Iran, the paradigm of modernization prevails. Dr. Towfiq’sbook is a theoreticalwork and this is a series of questions from the current situation and, in the same way, expresses its purpose of the social sciences, and according to Dr. Towfiq, the social sciences of Iran is in a state of refusal, which is due to the experience of Iranian modernity, an experience that we have been dealing with in our contemporary era.

Professor of Sociology of Iran continued: Towfiq believes that the theory of modernization is a discursive that the social sciences of Iran are formed within this discourse and for this reason, all the explanations and statements and so on in the social sciences are rooted in this theory of modernization and its discourse.
He went on to explain Dr. Towfiq’s vision:Towfiq’s critique of the history of social sciences in Iran is based on the fact that in the framework of the theory of modernization in the social sciences, we do not have the ability to provide the specialty of our experience from the modernera.

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