Interpreting Avicenna: Science and Philosophy in Medieval Islam : Proceedings of the Second Conference of the Avicenna Study Group

Interpreting Avicenna: Science and Philosophy in Medieval Islam : Proceedings of the Second Conference of the Avicenna Study Group

Interpreting Avicenna: Science and Philosophy in Medieval Islam : Proceedings of the Second Conference of the Avicenna Study Group

Interpreting Avicenna: Science and Philosophy in Medieval Islam : Proceedings of the Second Conference of the Avicenna Study Group

Synopsis

This volume provides twelve essays on various aspects of Avicennas philosophical and scientific contributions, approaching these topics from philological, historical and philosohical methodologies. The work is conceptually divided into four sections: (1) methodology, (2) natural philosophy and the exact sciences, (3) theology and metaphysics and (4) Avicennas heritage. The First section provides considerations for distinguishing genuine from pseudo Avicennan works. The second section deals with topics encountered in Avicennas physics, psychology, mathematics and medical theories. The third section treats issues ranging from the theological sources for Avicennas proof for the existence of God and Gods knowledge of particulars to the place of puzzles in Avicennas Metaphysics as well as the relation of form and matter in Avicennas thought. The final section considers Avicennas historical influence on later thinkers such as al-Ghazali as well as his subsequent influence in Persia.

Excerpt

The papers gathered in this volume represent in part the proceedings of the Second Annual Avicenna Study Group Symposium held during the First World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (University of Mainz, 12–13 September 2002). the Avicenna Study Group was formed in March 2001 at the end of the First Graduate Student Conference on Ibn Sīnā (Yale University). the purpose of the Avicenna Study Group is to facilitate communication concerning recent academic research on the life, times and thought of Avicenna through annual meetings, to disseminate information on manuscripts, primary and secondary material related to Avicenna and medieval Arabic philosophy in general, and to serve as the first stage in projected major collaborative research projects on Avicenna. the present volume represents the second collective activity of the Avicenna Study Group.

Considered as a whole, the papers included in the present volume represent the major trends and concerns of current scholarship on the life, thought and works of Avicenna, arguably the most important and influential philosopher during the medieval period in the East and West. the contributions of these scholars are divided here topically into four sections: (I) Methodology, (II) Avicenna on Natural Philosophy and the Exact Sciences, (III) Avicenna on Theology and Metaphysics and (IV) the Heritage of Avicenna.

Perhaps the single most important desideratum for future progress in Avicenna studies is the establishment of a corpus of “authentic” Avicennan texts or, conversely, identifying Pseudo-Avicenna works. Yet despite the recent advances in the textual and philological methodologies introduced into Avicenna studies, little attention has been paid to establishing such a corpus. the section “Methodology” consists of David C. Reisman’s paper “The Pseudo-Avicennan Corpus, I: Methodological Considerations.” Although in this paper Reisman does not hazard a list of Pseudo-Avicenna works, he does provide a prolegomenon to such future research by suggesting needed principles and methodologies appropriate to such a study. in this respect, he treats various terminological issues and defines different genre categories of the Pseudo-Avicenna corpus, as well as suggesting principles . . .

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