A Case of Extensive Plagiarism (guest post) (updated)


The following guest post* provides evidence that Mahmoud Khatami, a professor of philosophy at the University of Tehran who is well-known and widely-celebrated in Iran, plagiarized parts of his dissertation, which he wrote for his 1996 Ph.D. degree from Durham University. It also provides evidence that a book about Khatami’s work was plagiarized (and notes that the identity of the author could not be confirmed). That latter book was published by Dr. Muller House, a “print-on-demand” publishing company, as were many of Khatami’s own books. The post was authored by a group of philosophers who wish to remain anonymous.

UPDATE 1 (11/8/14): It appears that there are efforts afoot to minimize Khatami’s web presence. His official website has disappeared, as has the blog dedicated to him. Further, his Wikipedia entry has been purged and suggested for “speedy deletion.” I have not yet received replies to the charges from either Khatami, the University of Tehran, or the Durham University Philosophy Department.

UPDATE 2 (11/10/14): The wikipedia page has been spared deletion and has been revised. Meanwhile, the authors of the main post, below, have written in with some updates. The last one (E) is astounding.
(A) There are changes in the online presence of Khatami. You already knew it. Just something you did not mention: the book about Khatami by “Sophia Taylor” is not available anymore. However, we had saved the file, and have uploaded it here
(B) Many Iranian students and professors have shared the news on their FB. There are ongoing discussions on FB among mostly students but also some faculties about the news. Here is just one.
(C) Some Persian weblogs reported the news. Two instances: sharifphilosophy and kaavelajevardi 
(D) After publishing our statement, other people claimed to have found new instances of plagiarism. Most notably is a case of a whole-paper plagiarism reported by kv in the comments at Daily Nous.
(E) We were fairly surprised, and unnerved, when we first discovered a number of cases of blatant plagiarism in Khatami’s work. We now realize that he apparently stumbled upon an altogether different means of passing on another person’s work as his own. After the post on Daily Nous, Yasser Pouresmail, one of Khatami’s former undergrad students, reported that he was asked in 2008 to translate one of Khatami’s unpublished works. What Khatami failed to mention to Pouresmail was that this work was neither Khatami’s nor unpublished. The work was simply a selection from A Manual of Modern Scholastic Philosophy, vol. 1 (1916, pp. 161-329) by Cardinal Mercier. Cardinal Mercier would be relieved to know that his work has finally reached the Persian community! The Persian translation of Mercier’s book, Philosophical Psychology, is here.

UPDATE 3 (11/15/14): Several commenters have written in with further examples of plagiarism in Khatami’s work. Also, Fabio Paglieri, the current editor-in-chief of Topoi, has commented, below, on the plagiarized article that appeared in his journal (before he was EIC), and more generally on responding to plagiarism.


 A Case of Extensive Plagiarism and Academic Fraud

Dr. Mahmoud Khatami, a Durham University Ph.D., is a tenured, full professor of continental philosophy at the University of Tehran, a major academic institution in Iran. He has published many books on continental philosophy; in one year, 2010, ten (!) of them were published with Dr. Muller House. Dr. Muller House is a print on demand publishing house, and, as a result, the books published by the house seem to be of questionable academic value, yet these books have helped Khatami acquire academic credit in the University of Tehran. We learn from the fan blogs (update: blog has been removed) of Dr. Khatami that Sophia Taylor, who is, according to Amazon, a philosophy graduate from Lincoln University, has published a book on Khatami, entitled Khatami: A Primer of His Ontetic Philosophy of Human Subjectivity, published by the same Dr. Muller House. We could not find out whether Sophia Taylor is a real person, but there is no record of Sophia Taylor on the net except that she has published a book on Khatami.

Taylor’s book, which can be found online here, is a clear case of plagiarism, though. While pretending to be a book about Khatami, the book copies grotesquely pages and pages from John Paul II’s The Acting Person and  Dufrenne’s The Phenomenology of Aesthetic Experience. Just to give two instances:

1a. John Paul II’s book reads (quoted from here): “But we may speak of consciousness from the objective point of view also in a more specific manner with respect to the meaningful structure appertaining in consciousness to the ego, to its mode of being and operations spreading through a radius of interconnectedness. This sense, or more strictly speaking, this set of senses, consciousness owes to self-knowledge.”

1b. Taylor’s book (p.23): “Khatami speaks of consciousness from the objective point of view also in a more specific manner with respect to the meaningful constitution appertaining in consciousness to the self, to its mode of being and operations spreading through a radius of interconnectedness. This sense, or more strictly speaking, this set of senses, consciousness owes to self-knowledge”

2a. Dufrenne (p. 396): “For two reasons, aesthetic perception must not reject the evidence of a self-sufficient necessity within the work: (I) because it is the necessity of the work such as it is and not such as it might be; and (2) because this necessity is internal to the work and is not to be explained by traversing a series, or various series, of causes.”

2b: Taylor (p.143): “Khatami thinks that for two reasons, the evidence of a self-sufficient necessity within the world must not be rejected: (I) because it is the necessity of the world such as it is and not such as it might be; and (2) because this necessity is internal to the world and is not to be explained by traversing a series, or various series, of causes.”

Khatami defended his dissertation, entitled “The Unitary Consciousness: Toward a Solution for the Ontological Crisis in Modern Theories of the Self” in the philosophy department at the University of Durham in 1996. The dissertation was later published as a book (one of very few of Khatami’s books not published by Dr. Muller House or its variants). The dissertation is an amazing case of plagiarism. Pages after pages are directly copied  from the following works: The Principles of Epistemology in Islamic Philosophy, The Inner DimensionNaturalism and Subjectivism, Armstrong’s “Mind–Body Problem: Philosophical Theories” and Islamic Naturalism and Mysticism: A Philosophical Study of Ibn Tufayl’s Hayy Bin Yaqsan (by Sami Hawi).

The passages taken from the latter book are particularly interesting. Hawi’s book is on Ibn Tufayl, while Khatami talks in his dissertation about Sadra. Replacing the name of Ibn Tufayl with that of Sadra, Khatami copied pages of Sami’s book in his dissertation. Here is just an instance:

3a. Hawi’s book: “He [Ibn Tufayl] depicts Hayy’s ‘blank’ and receptive mind as constituting and perfecting itself, and struggling to obtain far-reaching conclusions entirely on its own. Hayy’s progressive ascension has a a tint of inevitableness and necessity. Seemingly without any preconceived notions he achieve cognizance of causality, God, eternity of the world, and mysticism. It appears as though any mind will reach the same truths that Hayy reached if it took as its point of departure the unsophisticated given of experience and followed the canons of consistency. Thus, Alfred North Whitehead’s well-known dictum that….” (p.94)

3b. Khatami’s dissertation: “Sadra, for example, depicts our ‘blank’ and receptive mind as constituting and perfecting itself, and struggling to obtain far-reaching conclusions entirely on its own. Our progressive ascension, Sadra holds, has a tint of inevitableness and necessity. Seemingly without any preconceived notions we achieve cognisance of causality, God, eternity of the world, and mysticism.  It appears as though any mind will reach the same truths if it took as its point of departure the unsophisticated given of experience and followed the canons of consistency. Thus, Alfred North Whitehead’s well-known dictum that….” (p.29)

4a. Hawi’s book: “Ibn Tufayl believed, as instanced by Parts II and III of the treatise, that while theories may interpret facts, at the same time they abstract from the realities of the surrounding world as we encounter them in the locus of immediate experience. Pure theories, without concrete embodiment and without seeing them in their actual operation, estrange the mind from its natural dwelling place, the world of experience.” (p.101)

4b. Khatami’s dissertation: “The Illuminative school believes, as instanced by Sadra, that while theories may interpret facts, at the same time they abstract from the realities of the surrounding world as we encounter them in the locus of immediate experience. Pure theories , without concrete embodiment and without seeing them in their actual operation, estrange the mind from its natural dwelling place, the world of experience.” (p.33)

We could not find out who Khatami’s dissertation committee was. In the dissertation, Khatami does thank Christopher T. Long, who worked in the philosophy department and allegedly supervised Khatami. But we can’t find any record of a Christopher T. Long having worked at Durham University. The only things we could find are this academia page, and this philpapers profile. Despite what the profile says, though, nobody named C. Long published anything in that issue of Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (or in any issue of PPR).

It is incredible that Durham University allowed the dissertation to be defended. We believe that the University of Tehran, Dr. Muller House publishing, and Durham University must be held accountable for such failures to fulfill their duties. It’s important, however, to note that the points made in this statement should not be generalized to other philosophy institutions in Iran as there are well-respected institutes as well as professional philosophers who are engaged in genuine work in philosophy.

 

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Mike
Mike
6 years ago

Chris Long did indeed work at Durham at that time.Report

Michael Kremer
Michael Kremer
6 years ago

The paper “Perception and Belief” on C. Long’s profile was actually written by A. D. Smith and does appear in PPR in in volume 62 issue 2 (not issue 3). (Of course, it was also not titled “Perception and Beliej”.)Report

Michael Kremer
Michael Kremer
6 years ago

Christopher T. Long shows up on this list of faculty: https://www.ilg.org.uk/resources/university.calendar/volumei/2003.2004/acadstaff.pdf as a Lecturere having an MPhil from Leeds. http://www.ilg.org.uk is the website of “The Institute for Local Governance” which is described as “a pioneering research and knowledge exchange venture designed to maximise the benefits of collaboration between universities in North East England and the wider public realm. The ILG is hosted by Durham University in its Business School.”Report

Bill
Bill
6 years ago

It looks as though the PhilPapers profile is a result of bad data collection: if you click on the green link for the paper, it takes you to a picture of a page from the Review of Metaphysics where they list all current journal articles (I suppose this was a useful service at some point.) just below the entry for the Smith article is one for an article by Dorit Bar-On and Douglas C. Long. But the fragment ‘C. Long’ appears on a separate line.Report

kv
kv
6 years ago

Here is evidence for a case of whole-paper plagiarism, as opposed to cut-and-past plagiarism. Have a look at the following paper(s):

– Mahmoud Khatami, “The epistemological quest: from the possibility of experience to the possibility of communication,” Organon F, 10 (2003): 357-379.
[Available online at http://www.klemens.sav.sk/fiusav/doc/organon/2003/4/357-379.pdf%5D

– Andrew N. Carpenter, “Davidson’s transcendental argumentation,” in Jeff Malpas, ed., From Kant to Davidson: Philosophy and the Idea of the Transcendental, Routledge, 2003, pp. 219-237.
[The beginning of the last paragraph can be seen on Google Books: http://books.google.com/books?id=7UdvSGkXypgC&printsec=frontcover#v=snippet&q=maximally&f=false%5D

Only one version contains an abstract, and some of the corresponding sections are entitled differently (e.g., the last section of Mr. Khatami’s version has the title “Conclusions”, in the plural, which is different from Mr. Carpenter’s). Modulo such differences, the papers are identical.Report

Majid Parvanehpour
Majid Parvanehpour
6 years ago

as to the philpaper there’s apparently a mistake in between. the link provided here obviously take you somewhere related to phenomenology magazine and the mentioned name. But actually what does matter here is the definition of plagiarism. If using someone else’s sentence is plagiarism we may find so many elsewhere in MA students’ dissertation. But regarding Dr Khatemi what is important now is to hear his defence and see if there’s any justification in what he says for using complete large sentences from other sources without mentioning them.Report

Hashem Morvarid
6 years ago

Certainly anybody has right to defend himself. But what is seriously important for us Iranians is not to take Mr Khatami’s side to avoid the impression that Iranians are fraud. I hope nobody thinks that Mr Khatami’s plagiarism has anything to do with his being Iranian.Report

Anon
Anon
6 years ago

The true lesson to be learned here is that the only way for philosophers to get others to not only read their work, but read it *very closely*, is to get caught plagiarizing.Report

Dale Miller
6 years ago

What justification for this could there possibly be?Report

Dale Miller
6 years ago

But then the work being read closely is, by hypothesis, not yours. Really, your only hope seems to be that someone else is caught plagiarizing you.Report

Another Iranian
Another Iranian
6 years ago

Hi Justin,

Thanks for bringing Khatami’s plagiarism to light. This news is now circulating in the Iranian social media and will bring this guy a lot of shame. I, as an Iranian, stand by truth not nationality and I am sure many other Iranians feel the same.Report

mahdi
mahdi
6 years ago

He did not have an official website. it just a blog that a person had written about his works.Report

Anon
Anon
6 years ago

“Really, your only hope seems to be that someone else is caught plagiarizing you.”

Or start a false rumor that you’ve plagiarized, so it has to be confirmed through close analysis.Report

mvf
mvf
6 years ago

A guest post of Daily Nous (Nov. 5, 2014) suggests that what Mr. Khatami presented as his dissertation at Durham, we have a case of cut-and-past plagiarism. At the other extreme, as suggested by kv in a comment to that post (Nov. 8), it seems that we have a case of whole-paper plagiarism. Here I present evidence that we have a case of in-between plagiarism: you pick a work, choose part of it, cut out sentences of that part, and publish the result as your own work.

Here is a paper published under the name of Mahmoud Khatami:
Mahmoud Khatami, Foucault on the Islamic Revolution of Iran, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, vol 23 (2003): 121-125.
The paper is available online:
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13602000305936#.VGOsDPTF_U1

A Googling a umber of sentences of the above book directed me to a book published 3 years before the publication of the above paper:
Jeremy R. Carrette, Foucault and Religion: Spiritual Corporality and Political Spirituality, Routledge, 2000.

Some pages of the book can be read on Google Books:
http://books.google.com/books?id=-FzGkAwV_p4C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

There is no mention of the book in Mr. Khatami’s paper.

Khatami, p. 122:
Consequently, religion and spirituality are detached in Foucault’s perspective from a transcendent order and become strategies that shape and control and dictate the patterns of human experience. The ‘truth’ of religious discourse is taken out of the binary opposition between spirit and matter and rewritten in terms of the dynamics of power–knowledge and embodiment.

Carrette, p. 6:
Religion, theology and spirituality are in consequence detached and dislocated from a transcendent order and become strategies which shape, control and dictate the patterns of human experience. The ‘truth’ of religious discourse is in effect taken out of the binary opposition between spirit and matter and rewritten in terms of the dynamic of power-knowledge and embodiment.

Khatami, p. 122:
Foucault speaks of the west as having forgotten ‘political spirituality’ since the Renaissance and ‘the great crisis of Christianity’ (the Reformation). the concept of ‘political spirituality had also occurred earlier in a round table discussion in May 1978, where Foucault relates it to the wider question of ‘government’ and ‘truth’.

Carette, p. 137:
the bringing of these worlds can be seen when Foucault in his october article 1978 for Le Nouvel Observateur saw the west as having forgotten ‘political spirituality’ since the Renaissance and ‘the great crisis of Christianity’ (the Reformation). the concept of ‘political spirituality had also occurred earlier in a round table discussion in May 1978, where Foucault relates it to the wider question of ‘government’ and ‘truth’.

Khatami, p. 124:
In the process of developing ideas of ‘political spirituality’ and ‘spiritual corporality’, Foucault is presenting a central challenge to the entire dualism of the theological apparatus and challenging the organization of such categories as body and spirit, the material and the spiritual, the religious and the secular. What he is exposing is a ‘technological power’ within religious discourse. He suggests that religion attempts to create a monopoly on experience through its ordering, categorizing and subjectifying of human life.

Carette, p. 140:
In the process of developing ideas of ‘political spirituality’ and ‘spiritual corporality’, Foucault is presenting a central challenge to the entire dualism of the theological apparatus and challenging the organization of such categories as body and spirit, the material and the spiritual, the religious and the secular. What he is exposing is a ‘technological power’ within religious discourse. He is strategically bringing to light the way religion that religion attempts to create a monopoly on experience through its ordering, categorizing and subjectifying of human life.Report

al hi.
al hi.
6 years ago

There’s an ongoing effort to eliminate the part of Khatami’s wikipedia entry that concerns his plagiarism: see the history of the page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mahmoud_Khatami&action=historyReport

Roya
Roya
6 years ago

The anonymous authors of the statement said that Khatami had plagiarized from many books (that they mentioned). In the statement they only talked about two instances of plagiarism taken from Hawi’s book. I just checked one other book they mentioned (namely, The Principles of Epistemology in Islamic Philosophy) to see how much Khatami has taken from that book. Here is the result:
Khatami’s dissertation from p.140 to p.153 is copied from The Principles of Epistemology in Islamic Philosophy p.28-p.50.
Here I mention the first paragraph in p.140 where Khatami begins to copying from of the book (p.28). Khatami continues copying until p.153. I also mention the last paragraph where Khatami stops copying from the book (this corresponds to p.50 of the book)

Khatami (plagaisims from the book begins):

p. 140
In the analysis of the theory of reflective knowledge the term “subject,” Sadra says,(5) signifies the mind that performs the act of reflective knowledge by knowing something, just as the term “object” means the thing or the proposition known by that subject. But, since in a proposition known there is always something involved, particular or universal, it is true then to say that the object of reflective knowledge is always what we call the thing known. It is also observed that the relation called “knowing” is constituted by the mind (as the subject) associated with the thing (as the object); the subject and the object, then, can be called the constituents of the unity of reflective knowledge.

Khatami (plagiarism from the book ends by this paragraph):
p.153
By virtue of the correspondence it contains through its objective reference, reflective knowledge possesses the “aptitude” for being true, therefore it may conceivably fail to meet this condition and as a result become false. But this aptitude does not hold in the unitary consciousness, for in this, since it has nothing to do with correspondence, there is no possibility of its being false; thus it is not eligible for falsity (see, above, eh. 5). As the nature of this opposition stands, if there is no susceptibility to falsity, there is no meaning for truth either. Thus, the dualism of truth and falsehood only holds in an appropriate opposition in which the possibility of one opposite is the logical standard for the possibility of the other. The impossibility of one also counts as the criterion of the modal impossibility of the other

The Principles of Epistemology in Islamic Philosophy p.28:
In the analysis of the theory of reflective knowledge the term “subject signifies the mind that performs the act of knowledge by knowing something, just as the term “object” refers the thing or the proposition known by that subject. However, since in a proposition known there is always something involved, be it particular or universal, it is consequently true then to say that the object of knowledge is always what we call the thing known. It is also observed that the relation called knowing is constituted by the mind as the subject associated with the thing as the object, both of which are knitted into one complex whole, the subject and the objectare to be called the constituents of the unity of knowledge.

The Principles of Epistemology in Islamic Philosophy p.50
By virtue of the correspondence that the knowledge by correspondence contains through its objective reference, reflective knowledge possesses the aptitude for being true. Therefore it may conceivably fail to meet this condition and as a result become false. But this aptitude does not hold in knowledge by presence, for this kind of knowledge, since it has nothing to do with correspondence, there is no possibility of its being false; thus it is not eligible for falsity. As the nature of this opposition stands, if there is no susceptibility to falsity, there is no meaning for truth either. Thus, the dualism of truth and falsehood only holds in an appropriate opposition in which the possibility of one opposite is the logical standard for the possibility of the other. The impossibility of one also counts as the criterion of the modal impossibility of the otherReport

Iranian student
Iranian student
6 years ago

Dear Dr. Morvarid
Thanks for your important notation. In fact, among Iranian professors and researchers may be someone who don’t apply to moral principles in his/her researches; as it happens in other academic institutes, universities and college around the world. As I Know Iranian professors and students, I’m sure that most of them are moral agents in the area of science and research.Report

Mehrshad
Mehrshad
6 years ago

As further evidence of his plagiarism, see also this article:
Mahmoud Khatami, On the Illuminative Approach to Imaginal Power : Outline of a Perspective, Topoi (2007) 26:221–22. p 225:
«Consequently, from a Sadraean point of view, a theory of meaning must begin by describing an existential plane of the imaginal faculty by which presence to the world is realized reflectively and in which there is manifested an ability to read directly the meaning borne by the object— that is, in living it without having to decipher or explicate a duality. This theory should beware of the convenient and dangerous notion of ‘‘representation,’’ (tamassul), which results from the notion of a closed consciousness. To penetrate the palace of consciousness, the thing would have to undergo a metamorphosis in order to be presented to us. Representation would then be an event which occurs inside the subject and to which the object is admitted—like a private spectacle within closed doors which consciousness furnishes to itself with the means at hand, namely, the images registered by memory and stored in the unconscious, and the innate ideas which are also interior to the subject.»
Now compare it with this book:
Dufrenne, Mikel, The Phenomenology of Aesthetic Experience (1973) p 336 :
«Consequently, a theory of meaning must begin by describing an existential plane of perception in which presence to the world is realized and in which there is manifested an ability to read directly the meaning borne by the object-that is, in living it without having to decipher or explicate a duality. This theory should beware of the convenient and dangerous notion of ”representation” which results from the notion of a closed consciousness. To penetrate the palace of consciousness, the thing would have to undergo a metamorphosis in order to be presented to us. Representation would then be an event which occurs inside one’s mind and to which the object is admitted-like a private spectacle within closed doors which consciousness furnishes to itself with the means at hand, namely, the images registered by memory and stored in the unconscious, and the innate ideas which are also interior to the mind»Report

Roya
Roya
6 years ago

Yet another case of plagiarism:
Khatami published “Body-Consciousness: A Phenomenological Approach” in Phenomenology 2005. Volume 3 (ed. by Hans Rainer Sepp and Copoeru), pp. 283-299. Almost the whole paper is plagiarized (with small changes) from “The notion of the a-priori” by Mikel Dufrenne, Northwestern University press (1966).

From p.289 line.21 , where it reads “The “explanatory psychology” which determines concrete psychic facts…”, Khatami starts copying from “The notion of the a-priori” by Mikel Dufrenne p. 141, line 1, where it reads non-surprisingly “The “explanatory psychology” which determines concrete psychic facts…”.

See Khatami here:
http://books.google.com/books?id=UOWOR4fcct8C&pg=PA287
See Dufrenne here:
http://books.google.com/books?id=-2PjMIyu5csC&pg=PA141

Plagiarism may have even began earlier (but there is some masking). Anyway, Khatami continues copying from Dufrenne word by word almost to the end of “his” paper. The last sentences taken from Dufrenne can be observed, toward the end of Khatami’s paper. on p.297, line 24, where we read “Once again we realize that body is both subject and object, consciousness and non-consciousness”, which is taken from the last paragraph of Dufrenne’s chapter, p. 151 line 29 where Dufrenne writes “Once again we must realize that body is both subject and object, consciousness and non-consciousness”
Khatami:
http://books.google.com/books?id=UOWOR4fcct8C&pg=PA297
Dufrenne:
http://books.google.com/books?id=-2PjMIyu5csC&pg=PA151

I don’t know what the status of zetabooks is among book publishers. But here we observe another case of almost whole-paper plagiarism with a European publisher.
An interesting fact in the pattern of Khatami’s plagairism is that he almost always plagiarizes from authors that are already dead.Report

Milad
Milad
6 years ago

A case of plagiarism by Mahmoud Khatami from an author who is alive:

Mahmoud Khatami, “The Mystical Rhizome : Towards a Transcendent Concept of Technology”, FALSAFEH (2008), 36/3: 171-195
This paper is available online at:
http://www.ensani.ir/fa/content/212467/default.aspx

Almost the whole paper is taken from an essay publishen in 2003:
Thomas A. Carlson, “Locating the Mystical Subject,” in Michael Kessler and Christian Sheppard, eds. Mystics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Thomas Carlson’s essay is available online here:
http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/projects/ct3/docs/LocatingtheMysticalSubject.doc

What is interesting in Khatami’s paper is that he replaces the name of Eriugena with that of Ibn Arabi and, even more interestingly, he ascribes excerpts from Eriugena to Ibn Arabi.

Thomas Carlson, p. 217:
Eriugena wants to insist not only that the human cannot comprehend God, nor even simply that the human created in the image of the incomprehensible God is itself incomprehensible–but also, in full consistency with these first two principles, that even God finally cannot comprehend himself. In light of such thoroughgoing divine ignorance Eriugena can insist that “the human mind is more honored in its ignorance than in its knowledge” (P, IV, 771C)–for in that ignorance above all the image of the divine in the human achieves its perfection. And so it is that “the ignorance in it of what it is is more praiseworthy than the knowledge that it is, just as the negation of God accords better with the praise of His nature than the affirmation…” (P, IV, 771C).

Mahmoud Khatami, p. 181:
Ibn Arabi wants to insist not only that the human cannot comprehend God, nor even simply that the human created in the image of the incomprehensible God is itself incomprehensible–but also, in full consistency with these first two principles, that even God finally cannot comprehend himself. In light of such thoroughgoing divine ignorance Ibn Arabi can insist that “the human mind is more honored in its ignorance than in its knowledge” (Ibn Arabi, I, 126)–for in that ignorance above all the image of the divine in the human achieves its perfection. And so it is that “the ignorance in it of what it is is more praiseworthy than the knowledge that it is, just as the negation of God accords better with the praise of His nature than the affirmation…” (Ibid, 288-9).

Later, Thomas Carlson uses this essay in his book: The Indiscrete Image: Infinitude and Creation of the Human (2008), and writes in acknowledgements that: “Portions of chapter 3 have appeared previously in “Locating the Mystical Subject,” in Mystics, ed. Michael Kessler and Christian Sheppard (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003),”

Mahmoud Khatami, on the other hand, goes on to plagiarize extensively from, once again, Carlson’s writing in another work:
Mahmoud Khatami, “The Illuminative Notion of Man in Persian Thought: A Response to an Original Quest”, in: Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, ed. Islamic Philosophy and Occidental Penomenology on the Peennial Issue of Microcosm and Macrocosm, Springer, 2006.

Just for an instance let’s look at the same paragraph in this book.
p. 231:
The human cannot comprehend God, nor is it even simply that the human being created in the image of the incomprehensible God, is itself incomprehensible. It is in light of such thoroughgoing divine ignorance that “the human mind is more honored in its ignorance than in its knowledge”, for in that ignorance above all the image of the divine in the human achieves its perfection. And so it is that “the ignorance in it of what it is is more praiseworthy than the knowledge that it is”.Report

Milad
Milad
6 years ago

Oh, the Springer book plagiarism was before the FALSAFEH paper plagiarism.Report

Roya
Roya
6 years ago

OK ! My theory about the dead plagiarized society got disapproved !Report

A-S
A-S
6 years ago

I suggest that people stop finding cases of plagiarism and instead see if there is a non-plagiarized work, or maybe something close, so that we can congratulate him!Report

Fabio Paglieri
Fabio Paglieri
6 years ago

I am the current Editor-in-Chief of Topoi. Having just received a private message about Prof. Khatami’s plagiarism in his article on Topoi, I immediately took action, and can now confirm that the author is indeed guilty of extensively copying, almost verbatim, large parts of Prof. Dufrenne’s book, without signaling that he is quoting someone else, nor including the book in his list of references. The fact that the incident did not happen on my watch (I became EiC in 2012) is immaterial to me: what is worst in plagiarism is not the violation of the original authors’ right to be properly acknowledged (although that’s bad enough), but rather the breach in the mutual trust academics have (and should continue to have) in each other. We want peer reviewing to be as rigorous as possible, but we also know very well (as reviewers of an increasing number of papers) that our resources are limited. Thus we want to be free of focusing our attention on matters of content, not on policing sentence by sentence whether the author is plagiarizing someone else – where “someone else” could be any published material in the history of philosophy, no less. Trust is needed for the system to work, and people like Prof. Khatami abuse this trust. So, while the journal will take full responsibility for the incident, we will also do our best to punish the culprit as far as it is in our powers to do so. The collective construction of knowledge is a public good, and as any public good it is vulnerable to cheaters. Cheater-detection mechanisms are in place, but they are far from perfect, and necessarily so. So we must complement ex ante cheater-detection with ex post punishment of cheaters, once their misdeeds come to light. Appropriate action will be taken over the next few weeks at Topoi. In the meantime, I would like to thank this blog, Prof. Weinberg and all contributors for helping to reveal this incident: it was a virtuous application of the “many eyes principle”, and a valuable service to the whole profession.Report

anonymous
anonymous
6 years ago

Springer (the publisher of the journal Topoi) has a curious recent history for dealing with plagiarized articles in philosophy. Consider the two Springer articles (#25 and #34) examined in “40 Cases of Plagiarism,” Bulletin de Philosophie Médiévale 51(2009): 350-91 (http://www.nnrh.dk/NNRH-hp/40.Cases.of.Plagiarism.pdf). Both Springer articles are apparently still available for sale and download on the Springer website:
http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/1-4020-3001-0_4
http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4020-4951-4_14Report

Roya
Roya
6 years ago

Two publishers removed two papers of Khatami from their journal and book.

The statement of Organon F:
http://www.klemens.sav.sk/fiusav/organon/?q=en/content/epistemological-quest-possibility-experience-possibility-communication

Zetabooks also removed Khatami’s paper from their collection for “causes of ethical misconduct” (the paper originally was the paper #12)
http://www.zetabooks.com/index.php/books/post-scriptum-opo/selected-essays-from-euro-mediterranean-phenomenology-2005-vol-3-part-i-book.htmlReport

anonymous
anonymous
6 years ago

This plagiarism is now posted in one of the most important news sites in Iran: Tabnak.Report

samaraena
samaraena
6 years ago

The plagiarism was caught by a young researcher and student at University of Colorado at Boulder, Wisam Alshaibi, who alerted Jeremy Carrette, the world’s most distinguished scholar on Foucault and spirituality. For over a decade, Mahmoud Khatami’s work was cited and studied, until Alshaibi made the connection when doing research on Foucault in Iran. Unbelievable.Report

Zyos
Zyos
6 years ago
roya
roya
6 years ago

To be honest, plagiarism is very common among scholars everywhere but almost hidden from public eyes in modern societies because of the sophisticated nature of techniques there.however it is very common in third world and in Iran and profs and students know this fact. Ya, I don’t say it is legal, but it is common, but it is hidden, there are many techniques to do that among university professors, and the more they use professional and legal-like ways, the more they are hidden from public eyes, but this case you people are noticing here, if true, shows a soft and raw amateur not a professional one because the way it goes with is the simplest one which is easily discoverable. I myself know a few university plagiarist professors who have achieved tenure position and I bet you cannot discover theirs.Report

Robert Segal
Robert Segal
6 years ago

It is not that Khatami plagiarized others. It is that they plagiarized him. They thought that they could get away with it because of the common assumption that no Iranian could be the intellectual equal of a Westerner. Well, Khatami is BETTER than his rivals. A shame that a colonialist and imperialist mentality still pervades academia.

Robert Segal
University of AberdeenReport

Bill
Bill
6 years ago

Well, at least one of the books mentioned here was published in 1992. Can you explain how it managed to plagiarise a 1996 dissertation. Or is my skepticism about the possibility of time travel just another manifestation of a Western colonialist mindset?Report

Zyos
Zyos
6 years ago
Zyos
Zyos
6 years ago

A similar case with high qualified professor in psychology:
“In 2002 he was voted one of the top ten psychiatrists in the UK by a survey of the Institute of Psychiatry and the Royal College of Psychiatrists, published in the Independent on Sunday newspaper.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajendra_Persaud#PlagiarismReport

Anon
Anon
6 years ago

It would be grand if you could stop posting comments that plagiarism is OK because other people do it. Original plagiarism is bad enough, but the last thing we need is an outbreak of copycat plagiarism. Thanks.Report

Fabio Paglieri
Fabio Paglieri
6 years ago

As a follow up to (part of) this story, I am happy to report that the article by M. Khatami published on Topoi in 2007 has now been retracted: the retraction note is publicly available at http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11245-015-9305-8
This incident also prompted me to briefly discuss its implications for our journal and the academic profession in general, and the resulting editorial is available (open access) here: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11245-015-9313-8
Among other things, in it I took the opportunity to thank this blog and its commentators for their help in bringing to light this extensive case of plagiarism.
Fabio Paglieri
EiC TopoiReport