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AVICENNA


157


AVICENNA


dissalinus (edited by Baumker, Munster, 1895) under the title " Fons VitEe". His poems were published by Munk ( Melanges ". etc., Paris, 1857), and a He- brew translation of liis etliical writings cRiva, 1562, and Lun^ville, 1840). Avieebron's philosophy united the traditional neo-Platonic doctrines with the reli- gions teacliing of the Old Testament. From the neo-Platonists, whom he knew chiefly through such apocri.'phal writings as the "Theologia Aristotelis" and the " Liber de Causis " (see Ar.\bi.\n School of Philosophy), he derived the doctrine of emanation, namely: that there emanated from God. in the first place, the Universal Intelligence, that from the Univer- sal Intelligence there emanated the World-Soul, and that from the World-Soul there emanated Nature, which is the immediate principle of productivity of material tilings. From the same neo-Platonic sources lie derived the doctrine that matter is of itself wholly inert and merely the occasion which is made use o'f by the Infinite .\gent to produce natural effects (Occasionalism). On the other hand, he drew from Biblical sources the doctrine that the Supreme Principle in the production of the Universe was not the Thought of God, but the Divine Will, wliich, in Scriptural phrase, he calls the Word of God. In thus attempting to combine Jewish religious doctrine with neo-Platonism, the doctrine of creation with the notion of emanation, he introduced into his philosophy elements which are logically incom- patible.

His most celebrated doctrine, however, the one by which he was best known to the Christian pliilos- ophers of the Middle .\ges, was that of the univer- sality of matter. All created things, he taught, are composed of matter and form. God alone is pure actuahty. Everv'thing else, even the highest among the angels, is made up of matter (not merely potency, but matter like that of terrestrial bodies) and form, just as man is composed of body and soul. The matter, however, of angelic bodies, wliile it is like terrestrial matter, is of a purer kind and is called spiritual matter. In other words, there are no cre- ated "separate substances", as the Schoolmen called them. Between the pure spirituality of God and the crude materiality of terrestrial bodies there me- diate substances composed of matter and form, which range in ascending scale of spiritual-materiality from the soul of man to the highest angelic nature. This doctrine is mentioned by almost all the great scho- lastics, and referred by" them to the "Fons Vit»" for instance, by .\lbert the Great (Summa Totius Theol., I, q. xlii, art.22).bySt.Tlionias(Qua?st. Disp., De .A.nima, art. 6; Opusculum De Subst. Separatis, passim), and Duns Scotus (De Rer. Princip. VIII. 4). But, while the first two, in common with the other Dominican teachers, refuted the author of "Fons VitEe" on this point, the last mentioned, together with .\lexander of Hales and others of the Francis- can School, adopted his doctrine as part of their theory of the angeUc nature.

Baumker Avenctbrolis Fons Vifa? (Munster, 1895); MtJNK, Melanges, etc.. (Paris, 1857); St Thom.vs Opusculum De SubstantiU Separatis (Op. XV of Roman ed.; ed.De Maria. Uome, 1886), III. 221 sqq.; Gcttm.^nk. Z)«! .?/"'««• djs Salom Ibn Gabirol (Gottingen, 1889); Stockl Lehrb der Gesch der PhU. (Mainz. 1888), 55.5 sqq.; tr. Finlay, (Dublin, 1903) sfs sqq { TDRNtR, Hist, of Phil. (Boston. 1903), 315 sqq.

WiLLL\.M Turner.

Avicenna (Abn .\li Al Hosaix Ibx Abdall.\h Ibx Six-\, called by the Latins A\^^E^-^:.\), Arabian physician and philosopher, b. at Kharmaithen, in the province of Bokhara, 980; d. at Hamadan, m Northern Persia, 1037. From an autobiographical sketch which has come down to us wo learn that he was a very precocious youth; at the age of ten he knew the Koran by heart; before he was sixteen he had mastered what was to be learned of physics, mathematics, logic, and metaphysics; at the age of


sixteen he began the study and practice of medicine; and before he had completed his twenty-first year he wrote his famous "Canon" of medical science, which for several centuries, after his time, remained the principal authority in medical schools both in Europe and in .\sia. He'served successively several Persian potentates as physician and adviser, travelling with them from place to place, and despite the habits of conviviality for which he was well known, devoted much time to literary labours, as is testified by the hundred volumes which he wTOte. Our authority for the foregoing facts is the "Life of Avicenna," based on his autobiography, wTitten by his disciple Jorjani (Sorsanus), and published in the early Latin editions of his works. Besides the medical "Canon," he wrote voluminous commentaries on Aristotle's works and two great encyclopedias entitled ".\1 Schefa", or "Al Chifa" (i. e. healing) and "Al Nadja" (i. e. deliverance). The "Canon" and por- tions of the encyclopedias were translated into Latin as early as the twelfth century, by Gerard of Cremona, Dominicus Gundissalinus, and John Aven- death; they were published at Venice, 1493-95. The complete Arabic texts are said to be in MS. in the Bodleian Librarj'. An Arabic text of the "Canon" and the "Nadja" was published in Rome, 1593. Avicenna 's philosophy, like that of his prede- cessors among the Arabians, is Aristoteleanism mingled with Neo-Platonism, an exposition of Aris- totle's teaching in the light of the Commentaries of Themistius, Simplicius, and other neo-Platonists. His Logic is divided into nine parts, of which the first is an introduction after the manner of Porphyry's "Isagoge"; then follow the six parts corresponding to the six treatises composing the "Organon"; the eighth and ninth parts consist respectively of treatises on rhetoric and poetn,-. Avicenna devoted sjiecial attention to definition, the logic of representation, as he styles it, and also to the classification of sciences. Philosophy, he says, which is the general name for scientific knowledge, includes speculative and practi- cal philosophy. Speculative philosophy is divided into the inferior science (physics), and middle science (mathematics), and the superior science (meta- physics including theology). Practical philosophy is divided into ethics (which considers man as an individual); economics (which coiLsiders man as a member of domestic society); and politics (which considers man as a member of civil society). These divisions are important on account of their influence on the arrangement of sciences in the schools where the philosophy of Avicenna preceded the introduc- tion of Aristotle's works. A favourite principle of Avicenna, which is quoted not only by Averroes but also by the Schoolmen, and especially by Albert the Great, was intelleclus in jormis agit nniversalitatem. that is, the universality of our ideas is the result of the activity of the mind itself. The principle, how- ever, is to be" understood in the realistic, not in the nominalistic sense. Avicenna's meaning is that, while there are differences and resemblances among things independently of the mind, the formal con- stitution of things in the categorj' of individuality, generic universality, specific universality, and so forth, is the work of the mind. Avicenna's physical doctrines show him in the light of a faitliful follower of Aristotle, who has nothing of his o-mi to add to the teaching of his master. Similariy, in psychology, he reproduces Aristotle's doctrines, borrowing occa- sionally an explanation, or an illustration, from Alfarabi. On one point, however, he is at pains to set the true meaning, as he understands it, of Aristotle, above .all the exposition and elaboration of the Commentators. That point is the question of the Active and Passive Intellect. (See Ar.^bun School OF Philosophy.) He teaches that the latter is the individual mind in the state of potency with regard to