Avicenna (Ibn Sina)

Avicenna

Avicenna (ăvĬsĕn´ə), Arabic Ibn Sina, 980–1037, Islamic philosopher and physician, of Persian origin, b. near Bukhara. He was the most renowned philosopher of medieval Islam and the most influential name in medicine from 1100 to 1500. His medical masterpiece was the Canon of Medicine. His other masterpiece, the Book of Healing, is a philosophical treatise dealing with the soul. Avicenna's interpretation of Aristotle followed to some extent that of the Neoplatonists. He saw God as emanating the universe from himself in a series of triads formed of mind, soul, and body. This process terminated in the Aristotelian "active intellect," which governs directly all earthly regions and transmits to all things their appropriate forms. Man's soul is also derived from it and is immortal. Avicenna was not an absolute pantheist as he believed matter to exist independently of God. He fixed the classification of sciences used in the medieval schools of Europe.

See S. M. Afnan, Avicenna, His Life and Works (1958); H. Corbin, Avicenna and the Visionary Recital (tr. 1960); P. Morewedge, The Metaphysics of Avicenna (1973).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Allegory and Philosophy in Avicenna (Ibn Sina): With a Translation of the Book of the Prophet Muhammad's Ascent to Heaven
Peter Heath.
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992
Knowing the Unknowable God: Ibn-Sina, Maimonides, Aquinas
David B. C. S. C. Burrell.
University of Notre Dame Press, 1986
Avicenna
Lenn E. Goodman.
Routledge, 1992
An Anthology of Philosophy in Persia
Seyyed Hossein Nasr; Mehdi Amin Razavi.
Oxford University Press, vol.1, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 11 "Ibn Sina"
The Age of Faith: A History of Medieval Civilization -Christian, Islamic, and Judaic - from Constantine to Dante: A.D. 325-1300
Will Durant.
Simon and Schuster, 1950
Islamic Philosophy and Theology: An Extended Survey
W. Montgomery Watt.
Edinburgh University Press, 1985 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 11 "Flowering of Philosophy"
The Columbia History of Western Philosophy
Richard H. Popkin.
Columbia University Press, 1999
Augustine to Galileo: The History of Science, A.D. 400- 1650
A. C. Crombie.
William Heinemann, 1952
Philosophers and Religious Leaders
Christian D. Von Dehsen.
Oryx Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Avicenna begins on p. 19
The 'Organon' of Aristotle in the Medieval Oriental and Occidental Traditions
Lameer, Joep.
The Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 116, No. 1, January-March 1996
Avicenna and Essentialism
El-Bizri, Nader.
The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 54, No. 4, June 2001
A Genealogy of Nihilism: Philosophies of Nothing and the Difference of Theology
Conor Cunningham.
Routledge, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "Towards Nothing: Plotinus, Avicenna, Ghent, Scotus and Ockham
A Comparative History of World Philosophy: From the Upanishads to Kant
Ben-Ami Scharfstein.
State University of New York Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "Religio-Philosophical Synthesis: Udayana, Chu Hsi, Avicenna, Maimonides, Aquinas"
The Oxford Companion to Philosophy
Ted Honderich.
Oxford University Press, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Information on Avicenna begins on p. 70
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