Monday, January 04, 2010

your monthly Ibn Sina update....

Avicenna, who allegedly anticipated the Cartesian ‘Cogito ergo sum’)

""""""In Metaphysics the doctrine of Ibn Sina is most individual, and is also illuminated by his personal antecedents. On the other hand, his thought was fashioned by three teachers, of whom, however, he knew only two by name: Aristotle and al-Farabi, who introduced several of the great concepts subsequently developed by Ibn Sina. The third was Plotinus, who came down to him under the name of Aristotle, in the so-called ‘Theology of Aristotle’ [see aristutalis], which was composed of extracts from Plotinus's Enneads, and presented as the culmination of Aristotle's Metaphysics. This error of attribution dogs the whole of Avicenna's work. As a born metaphysician he earned the title of ‘Philosopher of being’ but as a realist he wished to understand essences in their actualized state, so that he is just as much the ‘Philosopher of essence’. The whole of his metaphysics is ordered round the double problem of the origin of being and its transmission to essence, but to individually actualized essence (cf. Goichon, La distinction de l'essence et de l'existence d'apres Ibn Sina, Paris 1937).

It is at this point that a free interpretation of Aristotle and Plotinus gives him his theory of the creation of forms by emanation. This is linked with a cosmogony taken from the apocryphal Theology, but is also inspired by hylemorphism and Aristotelian data on the soul. The extensive place occupied in his thought by the intelligence prompts him to this startling view: the gift of being is linked with the light of the intelligence. Moreover, Ibn Sina is a believer; in accordance with Islam he believes in God as the Creator. None of the philosophies handed down from pagan antiquity takes account of this. He attempts to integrate dogma with his philosophical formulation. In fact, he does not succeed very well, but he continually works in this direction.

The first certitude apprehended by the human mind, he says, is that of being, which is apprehended by means of sense-perceptions. The idea of being, however, is so deep-rooted in man that it could be perceived outside of the sensible. This prefiguration of the Cartesian ‘Cogito ergo sum’ appears to have two causes: intuition (Hads) is so powerful in Ibn Sina (see in the Physics of the Danishnama the part that it played for him) that he bases himself here on a metaphysical apprehension of being; in addition, since the human soul, according to him, is a separate intelligence, which leads its own spiritual existence while being united with the body, it is capable of apprehending itself directly........."""""

Guar-ann-teed to scare the sh**t out of Bubbas across the I-HOPs of the USA.


Jazzbumpa said...

I think it more likely Bubba would merely shrug and ask for the blueberry syrup.

I guess I'm missing the central point. What is scary here?

Missed you lately. You been OK?

Stop by. I always appreciate your comments.


J said...

Hey JzB.

Nappy Yew Hear!

The point was merely that most WASP Bubbas simply can't handle foreign weirdness of any sort, especially islamic.

As the bio. indicates, Avicenna's writings (probably medicine, mostly) were actually part of the european curriculum for years, at least catholic sort.

Avicenna's considered part of the shia branch of Islam: which is to say, the shia (and ismali sect, as well) acknowledged the "good" part of greek science....and rational philosophy ala Aristotelian logic. Later there was a reaction to the greeks, as with Al Ghazali--and that's most of the sunni tradition. That skirmish is still an issue. The shia branch seems closer to tradition in ways --tho' even with shiites, they do not all accept the rationalism and certainly the more...pagan elements of the ancient greeks.

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