Avicenna (ăvĭsĕn`ə), Arabic Ibn Sina, 980–1037, Islamic philosopher and physician, of Persian origin, b. near Bukhara. This difference applies to all things except God, said Ibn Sina. *Definition:* Baghdad, the center for research and translation of scientific, medical, and philosophical texts. Essence is what comprises the nature of things, and should be recognized as something separate from the physical and mental realization of things. Only the contemplative life while in the body prepares the intellect, which has to use the corporeal external and internal senses to acquire knowledge and gain the predisposition for thinking the intelligibles, for the contemplative life after death. At a higher level, Avicenna analyzed non-discursive thinking, which takes no time and grasps its object in a single act of intellection, though the knowledge acquired is still structured syllogistically, complete with middle terms (because in its locus, the active intellect, it is so structured) (Adamson 2004). In the second, also his very last summa, he diverged even more drastically from traditional modes of presentation and developed an allusive and suggestive style which he called “pointers and reminders” (al-Ishārāt wa-l-tanbīhāt, GS 9). Greek after the sixth century, reborn in Arabic in the 9th Acknowledging the truth of a categorical statement meant verifying it, and this could only be done by taking that statement as the conclusion of a syllogism and then constructing the syllogism that would conclude it. Tradition Arabe,” in, –––, 2012b, “Avicenna: The Metaphysics of the Rational Soul,”. –––, 2013, “The Life and Times of Avicenna. For Avicenna, the proper subject of natural philosophy, in itsbroadest or most general sense, is body insofar as it is subject tomotion. communities in Europe used Hebrew translations of some of his works, Tibb philosophy not only recognizes that the body, mind and soul are interconnected, but also the relationship between the microcosm (man) and the macrocosm (the universe) and that both health and disease have a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual influences. para-philosophy:[6] Gutas 2014a, 377; cf. Ibn Sina [Avicenna]: logic | Ibn Khaldūn, the greatest Arab historian, who developed one of the earliest nonreligious philosophies of history, contained in his masterpiece, the Muqaddimah (“Introduction”). In the 14th century, the Moroccan wanderer Ibn Battuta allegedly spent nearly 30 years traveling some 75,000 miles across Africa, the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia. Accordingly, some medieval bibliographies of his works (and some modern ones, based on the former) list close to three hundred titles, though a recent sober tally of them brings the authentic writings down to fewer than one hundred, ranging from essays of a few pages to multi-volume sets, and flags the pseudepigraphs that need to be assessed and authenticated (Gutas 2014a, Appendix, 387–540). All humans have both the physical and mental apparatus to acquire intelligible and supernal knowledge and the means to do so, but they have to work for it, just as they have to prepare for their bliss in afterlife while their immortal rational souls are still affiliated with the body. Lizzini 2009). Using the words of Aristotle, Avicenna paraphrases this passage as follows: “As for the foremost ‘understanding (noêsis, fahm) in itself, it is of what is best in itself;’ and as for ‘what understands itself, it is’ the substance ‘of the intellect as it acquires the intelligible, because it becomes intelligible’ right away just as if ‘it touches it,’ for example. Is it the soul which compels a person to choose between good and evil in this world, and is a source of reward or punishment in the hereafter. bedouin tribal leader. In the former case he created a veritable metaphysics of the rational soul (Gutas 2012b), which he added to the traditional treatment of metaphysics (being as such, first philosophy, natural theology) as an additional subject, called “theological” (al-ʿilm al-ilāhī, al-ṣināʿa al-ilāhiyya). In the field of metaphysics, Ibn Sina differentiates between what exists and its essence. Being a devout Muslim himself, Ibn Sina applied rational philosophy at interpreting divine text and Islamic theology. (Gutas 2004a, 2010). Those whom we call Neoplatonists he knew as commentators of Aristotle along with the rest, and even Plotinus and Proclus were available to him in translated excerpts under the name of Aristotle, as the Theology of Aristotle and The Pure Good respectively. | Avicenna is one of the world's most famous medics and many have named him "the father of modern medicine" - an honor he shares with Hippocrates, the Greek doctor that penned the Hippocratic oath. Ibn Sina. It is a difficult work, and it must be understood always through constant reference to the more explicit expository statement of Avicenna’s theories in The Cure. Tigiris River city. Graeco-Roman (Mid- and Neo-Platonic, and Aristotelian) texts by the Kindi school were commented, redacted and developed substantially by Islamic intellectuals, who also built upon Persian and Indian mathematical systems, astronomy, algebra, trigonometry and medicine. Accordingly Avicenna set himself the task of presenting and writing about philosophy as an integral whole and not piecemeal and occasionalistically; bringing philosophy up to date; and studying how the human soul (intellect) knows as the foundation of his theory of knowledge, logical methodology, and the relation between the celestial and terrestrial realms, or the divine and human. Avicenna synthesized the various strands of philosophical thought he inherited—the surviving Hellenic traditions along with the developments in philosophy and theology within Islam—into a self-consistent scientific system that explained all reality. The literate population in the Islamic near and farther East during the early Abbasid period was favorably disposed toward philosophy as a rational scientific system, and with the different parts of this system—the philosophical curriculum—broadly known in its range if not in detail, it was possible, indeed expected, that an educated layman like Avicenna’s neighbor in Bukhara, Abū-l-Ḥasan Aḥmad ibn-ʿAbdallāh al-ʿArūḍī (I give his full name because he deserves to be noted in a history of philosophy), would be interested to have and read a comprehensive account of the entire discipline and to commission such a work from the youthful Avicenna. Its contents can be seen in his extensive treatment of it all at the end of the metaphysics part of The Cure, as follows. Ibn Sina [Avicenna]: natural philosophy, Copyright © 2016 by Open access to the SEP is made possible by a world-wide funding initiative. Thus logic and the theory of the soul as the basis for epistemology are the two motors driving Avicenna’s philosophy. He went on to write seven more such summae in his career, ranging in length from a sixty-page booklet (Elements of Philosophy, ʿUyūn al-ḥikma, GS 3), written earlier in his career, to the monumental The Cure (al-Shifāʾ), in his middle period. and analysis in Gutas 2014b-VII, esp. In other words, if we seek to verify the statement “A is C,” we must look for a suitable B to construct a syllogism of the form, “A is B, B is C, therefore A is C.” The significance of the middle term is discussed in the Posterior Analytics (I.34), where Aristotle further specifies, “Acumen is a talent for hitting upon (eustochia) the middle term in an imperceptible time” (Barnes 1994 transl.). At about that time he was allowed to visit the library of the Samanid ruler, just mentioned above, where, he says, he “read those books, mastered their teachings, and realized how far each man had advanced in his science” (Gohlman 1974, 36; transl. As Avicenna explains his title, “I divided [in the book] scholars into two groups, the Westerners [the Greek commentarial tradition and the Baghdad Aristotelians] and the Easterners [Avicenna’s positions], and I had the Easterners argue against the Westerners until I intervened to judge fairly when there was a real point of dispute between them” (GS 14, 375; transl. Spell. By the age of ten, he had completed […] This was good for studying philosophy and disseminating it. Avicenna also discussed a facility for or habituation with intellection, which he called direct vision or experience (mushāhada) of the intelligibles. 25–27). He was also a logician, mathematician and a poet. It proved hugely popular as a succinct though frequently amphibolous statement of his mature philosophy, open to interpretation, and it became the object of repeated commentaries throughout the centuries, apparently as Avicenna must have intended. Ibn Sina (Avicenna) is one of the foremost philosophers in the Medieval Hellenistic Islamic tradition that also includes al-Farabi and Ibn Rushd His philosophical theory is a comprehensive, detailed and rationalistic account of the nature of God and Being, in which he finds a systematic place for the corporeal world, spirit, insight, and the varieties of logical thought including dialectic, rhetoric and poetry. dublinuf. For a full list of Avicenna’s works in Arabic and Persian, their editions, translations, and studies, see the inventory in Gutas 2014a, also for further bibliography. 1350,” in Janssens and De Smet 2002: 81–97. the extent that they were writing for their respective communities and theology using philosophical discourse to express (or hide) Islamic content (the tradition of al-Ghazālī and his followers and imitators), “philosophical” mysticism (the tradition of Ibn al-ʿArabī, who was called the Greatest Master” [al-Shaykh al-Akbar] to rival Avicenna’s “The Preeminent Master” [al-Shaykh al-Raʾīs]), occultism, numerology, lettrism. The wording itself of this acquisition of knowledge by the human intellect—“contact with the active intellect,” or receiving the “divine effluence”—has misled students of Avicenna into thinking that this “flow” of knowledge from the divine to the human intellect is automatic and due to God’s grace, or it is ineffable and mystical. For Ibn Sina, gaining education was of foremost importance. medical Canon (GMed 1), often revised, formed the basis of In the case of the prophet, he acquires all the intelligibles comprising knowledge, complete with middle terms as already mentioned, because the intellective capacity of his rational soul to hit upon the middle terms and acquire the intelligibles is extraordinarily high; this capacity is coupled with an equally highly developed internal sense of imagination that can translate this intellective knowledge into language and images (in the form of a revealed book) that the vast majority of humans can easily understand. –––, 2010, “The Ps.-Avicenna Corpus II: The Ṣūfistic Turn,” in. With this secure and syllogistically verified knowledge, the prophet then is in a position to legislate and regulate social life as well as have a legitimate ground for gaining consent. its integral and comprehensive articulation of science and philosophy, At the same time, however, given his undisputed fame and immense intellectual authority that he exercised soon after his death, pseudepigraphy became a major factor multiplying the works attributed to him (Reisman 2004 and 2010). His medical masterpiece was the Canon of Medicine. He wrote with the purpose of reaching all layers of (literate) society, but also with an eye to posterity. science, religion, theology, and mysticism. What this viewpoint forgets is that while medieval Europe had its intellectual difficulties, the medieval Islamic world did not. He also attempted at a philosophical interpretation of religion and religious beliefs. Performance of this second task, in turn, entailed the third, the accuracy and verifiability of the knowledge which would constitute the contents of his updated philosophy. Find definitions for: ibn Si•na. Ibn Battuta was born in the medina (non-European quarter) of Tangier, Morocco, 25 February 1304 CE. “Medieval Arabic Encyclopedias of Science and Philosophy,” in, –––, 2002, “Arabisch-islamische Enzyklopädien: Formen und Funktionen,” in, Black, D., 2008, “Avicenna on Self-Awareness and Knowing that One Knows,” in, –––, 2000, “Avicenna’s Eastern (“Oriental”) Philosophy: Nature, Contents, Transmission,”, –––, 2001, “Intuition and Thinking: The Evolving Structure of Avicenna’s Epistemology,”. author of Canon of Medicine. Gutas 2014a, 183–184). 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