In its integral and comprehensive articulation of science and philosophy, it represents the culmination of the Hellenic tradition, defunct in Greek after the sixth century, reborn in Arabic in the 9 th Gutas a, It dominated intellectual life in the Islamic world for centuries to come, and the sundry reactions to it, ranging from acceptance to revision to refutation and to substitution with paraphilosophical constructs, determined developments in philosophy, science, religion, theology, and mysticism. The Arabophone Jewish and Christian scholars within Islam, to the extent that they were writing for their respective communities and not as members of the Islamic commonwealth, accepted most of his ideas notably Maimonides in his Arabic Guide of the Perplexed and Barhebraeus in his Syriac Cream of Wisdom. The Jewish communities in Europe used Hebrew translations of some of his works, though they were far less receptive than their Roman Catholic counterparts, preferring Averroes instead.
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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.
Reason, in his scheme, can allow progress through various levels of understanding and can finally lead to God, the ultimate truth. He stresses the importance of gaining knowledge, and develops a theory of knowledge based on four faculties: sense perception, retention, imagination and estimation. Imagination has the principal role in intellection, as it can compare and construct images which give it access to universals.
Again the ultimate object of knowledge is God, the pure intellect. In metaphysics, Ibn Sina makes a distinction between essence and existence; essence considers only the nature of things, and should be considered apart from their mental and physical realization. This distinction applies to all things except God, whom Ibn Sina identifies as the first cause and therefore both essence and existence.
He also argued that the soul is incorporeal and cannot be destroyed. The soul, in his view, is an agent with choice in this world between good and evil, which in turn leads to reward or punishment. As one of the most important practitioners of philosophy, Ibn Sina exercised a strong influence over both other Islamic philosophers and medieval Europe. In Latin translations, his works influenced many Christian philosophers, most notably Thomas Aquinas.
References and further reading. While he was writing the section on logic Ibn Sina was arrested and imprisoned, but he escaped to Isfahan, disguised as a Sufi, and joined Ala al-Dawla. He also produced a treatise on definitions and a summary of the theoretical sciences, together with a number of psychological, religious and other works; the latter include works on astronomy, medicine, philology and zoology, as well as poems and an allegorical work, Hayy ibn Yaqzan The Living Son of the Vigilant.
Both clarify how it is possible for individuals by themselves to arrive at the ultimate truths about reality, being and God. The autobiography shows how Ibn Sina more or less taught himself, although with particular kinds of help at significant moments, and proceeded through various levels of sophistication until he arrived at ultimate truths. He maintains that God, the principle of all existence, is pure intellect, from whom other existing things such as minds, bodies and other objects all emanate, and therefore to whom they are all necessarily related.
That necessity, once it is fully understood, is rational and allows existents to be inferred from each other and, ultimately, from God. Since knowledge consists of grasping syllogistically structured intelligibles, it requires the use of reasoning to follow the relations between intelligibles. They cannot be explained further since all explanation and thought proceeds only on their basis. The rules of logic are also crucial to human development.
Borrowing from Aristotle, he also singles out a capacity for a mental act in which the knower spontaneously hits upon the middle term of a syllogism. Since rational arguments proceed syllogistically, the ability to hit upon the middle term is the ability to move an argument forward by seeing how given premises yield appropriate conclusions.
It allows the person possessing this ability to develop arguments, to recognize the inferential relations between syllogisms. Moreover, since reality is structured syllogistically, the ability to hit upon the middle term and to develop arguments is crucial to moving knowledge of reality forward. Ibn Sina holds that it is important to gain knowledge. Grasp of the intelligibles determines the fate of the rational soul in the hereafter, and therefore is crucial to human activity.
People may be ordered according to their capacity for gaining knowledge, and thus by their possession and development of the capacity for hitting on the middle term. At the highest point is the prophet, who knows the intelligibles all at once, or nearly so.
He has a pure rational soul and can know the intelligibles in their proper syllogistic order, including their middle terms. At the other end lies the impure person lacking in the capacity for developing arguments. In relation to the older debate about the respective scopes of grammar and logic, Ibn Sina argues that since logic deals with concepts that can be abstracted from sensible material, it also escapes the contingencies of the latter.
Nevertheless, languages make available the abstracted concepts whose operation is governed by logic; yet if language deals with contingencies, it is not clear how it can grasp or make available the objects of logic.
At times, as for example in al-Isharat , Ibn Sina suggests that languages generally share a structure. In his theory of knowledge, Ibn Sina identifies the mental faculties of the soul in terms of their epistemological function. Sense perception responds to the particular with its given form and material accidents. As a mental event, being a perception of an object rather than the object itself, perception occurs in the particular.
To analyse this response, classifying its formal features in abstraction from material accidents, we must both retain the images given by sensation and also manipulate them by disconnecting parts and aligning them according to their formal and other properties.
To conceptualize our experience and to order it according to its qualities, we must have and be able to reinvoke images of what we experienced but is now absent. For this we need sensation and representation at least; in addition, to order and classify the content of representation, we must be able to discriminate, separate out and recombine parts of images, and therefore must possess imagination and reason.
To think about a black flag we must be able to analyse its colour, separating this quality from others, or its part in the image from other images, and classify it with other black things, thereby showing that the concept of black applies to all such objects and their images.
Imagination carries out this manipulation, allowing us to produce images of objects we have not seen in fact out of the images of things we have experienced, and thereby also generating images for intelligibles and prophecies. Beyond sense perception, retention and imagination, Ibn Sina locates estimation wahm. A sheep flees a wolf because it estimates that the animal may do it harm; this estimation is more than representation and imagination, since it includes an intention that is additional to the perceived and abstracted form and concept of the animal.
Finally, there may be a faculty that retains the content of wahm, the meanings of images. Ibn Sina also relies on a faculty of common sense, involving awareness of the work and products of all the other faculties, which interrelates these features. Of these faculties, imagination has a principal role in intellection. However, Ibn Sina explains this process of grasping the universal, this emergence of the universal in the human mind, as the result of an action on the mind by the Active Intellect.
This intellect is the last of ten cosmic intellects that stand below God. In other words, the manipulation of images does not by itself procure a grasp of universals so much as train the mind to think the universals when they are given to the mind by the Active Intellect. Once achieved, the processes undergone in training inform the mind so that the latter can attend directly to the Active Intellect when required.
Such direct access is crucial since the soul lacks any faculty for retaining universals and therefore repeatedly needs fresh access to the Active Intellect. As the highest point above the Active Intellect, God, the pure intellect, is also the highest object of human knowledge. All sense experience, logic and the faculties of the human soul are therefore directed at grasping the fundamental structure of reality as it emanates from that source and, through various levels of being down to the Active Intellect, becomes available to human thought through reason or, in the case of prophets, intuition.
By this conception, then, there is a close relation between logic, thought, experience, the grasp of the ultimate structure of reality and an understanding of God. As the highest and purest intellect, God is the source of all the existent things in the world. In relation to the first issue, Ibn Sina recognizes that observation of regularities in nature fails to establish their necessity.
At best it evinces the existence of a relation of concomitance between events. Thus, we may expect that such regularities must be the necessary result of the essential properties of the objects in question. In developing this distinction between the principles and subject of metaphysics, Ibn Sina makes another distinction between essence and existence, one that applies to everything except God.
Essence considers only the nature of things, and while this may be realized in particular real circumstances or as an item in the mind with its attendant conditions, nevertheless essence can be considered for itself apart from that mental and physical realization.
Essences exist in supra-human intelligences and also in the human mind. Further, if essence is distinct from existence in the way Ibn Sina is proposing, then both the existence and the nonexistence of the essence may occur, and each may call for explanation.
The above distinctions enter into the central subject matter of metaphysics, that is, God and the proof of his existence. We know from the Categories of Aristotle that existence is either necessary or possible.
If an existence were only possible, then we could argue that it would presuppose a necessary existence, for as a merely possible existence, it need not have existed and would need some additional factor to bring about its existence rather than its non-existence.
That is, the possible existence, in order to be existent, must have been necessitated by something else. Yet that something else cannot be another merely possible existence since the latter would itself stand in need of some other necessitation in order to bring it about. Ibn Sina goes on to explain how the world and its order emanates from God.
From these acts of conception, other existents arise: another intelligence, a celestial soul and a celestial body, respectively. The last constitutes the first sphere of the universe, and when the second intelligence engages in its own cognitive act, it constitutes the level of fixed stars as well as another level of intelligence that, in turn, produces another intelligence and another level of body. The last such intelligence that emanates from the successive acts of knowing is the Active Intellect, that produces our world.
Such emanation cannot continue indefinitely; although being may proceed from intelligence, not every intelligence containing the same aspects will produce the same effects. Successive intelligences have diminished power. Sometimes the prophet gains insight through imagination, and expresses his insight in figurative terms. It is also possible for the imagination to gain contact with the souls of the higher spheres, allowing the prophet to envisage the future in some figurative form.
There may also be other varieties of prophecy. In all these dealings with prophecy, knowledge and metaphysics, Ibn Sina takes it that the entity involved is the human soul. Presumably he means that a coherent thought, involving concepts in some determinate order, cannot be had in parts by different intellects and still remain a single coherent thought.
In order to be a coherent single unity, a coherent thought must be had by a single, unified intellect rather than, for example, one intellect having one part of the thought, another soul a separate part of the thought and yet a third intellect having a third distinct part of the same thought.
In other words, a coherent thought is indivisible and can be present as such only to an intellect that is similarly unified or indivisible. However, corporeal matter is divisible; therefore the indivisible intellect that is necessary for coherent thought cannot be corporeal.
It must therefore be incorporeal, since those are the only two available possibilities. For Ibn Sina, that the soul is incorporeal implies also that it must be immortal: the decay and destruction of the body does not affect the soul.
There are basically three relations to the corporeal body that might also threaten the soul but, Ibn Sina proposes, none of these relations holds true of the incorporeal soul, which therefore must be immortal. However, the body is not a cause of the soul in any of the four senses of cause; both are substances, corporeal and incorporeal, and therefore as substances they must be independent of each other; and the body changes and decays as a result of its independent causes and substances, not because of changes in the soul, and therefore it does not follow that any change in the body, including death, must determine the existence of the soul.
Even if the emergence of the human soul implies a role for the body, the role of this corporeal matter is only accidental. To this explanation that the destruction of the body does not entail or cause the destruction of the soul, Ibn Sina adds an argument that the destruction of the soul cannot be caused by anything.
Composite existing objects are subject to destruction; by contrast, the soul as a simple incorporeal being is not subject to destruction.
Moreover, since the soul is not a compound of matter and form, it may be generated but it does not suffer the destruction that afflicts all generated things that are composed of form and matter. From the indestructibility of the soul arise questions about the character of the soul, what the soul may expect in a world emanating from God, and what its position will be in the cosmic system.
Since Ibn Sina maintains that souls retain their identity into immortality, we may also ask about their destiny and how this is determined. Finally, since Ibn Sina also wants to ascribe punishment and reward to such souls, he needs to explain how there may be both destiny and punishment. Evils are usually an accidental result of things that otherwise produce good. God might have created a world in another existence that was entirely free of the evil present in this one, but that would preclude all the greater goods available in this world, despite the rare evil it also contains.
Thus, God generates a world that contains good and evil and the agent, the soul. Identifying poetic language as imaginative, Ibn Sina relies on the ability of the faculty of imagination to construct images to argue that poetic language can bear a distinction between premises, argument and conclusion, and allows for a conception of poetic syllogism. To find this use of poetic language meaningful, the suggestion is that we need to see the comparison as the conclusion of a syllogism.
A premise of this syllogism would be that days have a span that resembles or is comparable to the progression of a life.
Ibn Sina (Avicenna) Bio
As such, he may be considered to be the first major Islamic philosopher. The philosophical space that he articulates for God as the Necessary Existence lays the foundation for his theories of the soul, intellect and cosmos. Late 20th century studies have attempted to locate him within the Aristotelian and Neoplatonic traditions. His relationship with the latter is ambivalent: although accepting some keys aspects such as an emanationist cosmology, he rejected Neoplatonic epistemology and the theory of the pre-existent soul. His influence in medieval Europe spread through the translations of his works first undertaken in Spain.
Ibn Sina [Avicenna]
Persian philosopher Ibn Sina or Avicenna c. His mother Setareh was from the same village, while his father Abdullah was Ismaili, who was a respected local governor, under the Samanid dynasty was from the ancient city of Balkh today Afghanistan. In the Muslim world, he is known simply as Ibn Sina. At the age of 16, he established himself as a respected physician. Besides studying medicine, he also dedicated much of his time to the study of physics, natural sciences and metaphysics. His knowledge of medicine brought to the attention of Nuh ibn Mansur, the Sultan of Bukhara of the Samanid Court, whom he treated successfully.
Avicenna (Ibn Sina) (c. 980—1037)
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. Reason, in his scheme, can allow progress through various levels of understanding and can finally lead to God, the ultimate truth. He stresses the importance of gaining knowledge, and develops a theory of knowledge based on four faculties: sense perception, retention, imagination and estimation. Imagination has the principal role in intellection, as it can compare and construct images which give it access to universals. Again the ultimate object of knowledge is God, the pure intellect. In metaphysics, Ibn Sina makes a distinction between essence and existence; essence considers only the nature of things, and should be considered apart from their mental and physical realization. This distinction applies to all things except God, whom Ibn Sina identifies as the first cause and therefore both essence and existence.
Abu Ali al-Husain ibn Abdallah ibn Sina (Avicenna)
Of the works he is believed to have written, around have survived, including on philosophy and 40 on medicine. His most famous works are The Book of Healing , a philosophical and scientific encyclopedia, and The Canon of Medicine , a medical encyclopedia    which became a standard medical text at many medieval universities  and remained in use as late as Besides philosophy and medicine, Avicenna's corpus includes writings on astronomy , alchemy , geography and geology , psychology , Islamic theology , logic , mathematics , physics and works of poetry. However, Avicenna was not the son but the great-great-grandson of a man named Sina. Ibn Sina created an extensive corpus of works during what is commonly known as the Islamic Golden Age , in which the translations of Greco-Roman , Persian , and Indian texts were studied extensively.