Philosophy

Equilibrium and Realization: William Chittick on Self and Cosmos

William Chittick, currently professor of religious studies at the State University of New York (Stony Brook), is an internationally renowned expert on Islamic thought. His contributions to the fields of Sufism and Islamic philosophy have helped paint a clearer picture of the intellectual and spiritual landscape of Islamic civilization from the seventh/thirteenth century onwards. Yet Chittick is not simply concerned with discussions in Islamic thought as artifacts of premodern intellectual history. His vast knowledge of the Islamic intellectual tradition serves as the platform from which he seeks to address a broad range of contemporary issues. In this short essay, I will outline Chittick’s writings on the self within the context of his treatment of cosmology. Rather than being outdated ways of looking at the universe and our relationship to it, Chittick argues that traditional Islamic cosmological teachings are just as pertinent to the question of the self today as they were yesterday.

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