a1 University of Exeter
The work of the late Pierre Hadot has transformed our understanding of the practice of philosophy, especially in the pre-modern world. This article interrogates how we approach the study of later Islamic philosophy, especially the thought of the Safavid sage Mullā Ṣadrā Shīrāzī (d. 1635), and considers whether the method proposed by Hadot is applicable to this intellectual tradition. While there is much to be gained from the application of a cognate hermeneutics of the text, I also suggest that we still do not know enough about the actual practice of philosophy, of philosophical communities in the Safavid period, to consider whether it constitutes a real intellectual and structural continuity with the late antique Neoplatonic past. Nevertheless, the paradigm of approaching philosophy as a way of life propounded by Hadot does seem to be the best way of making sense of philosophy in Safavid Iran.