Avicenna (Ibn Sina)


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© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Avicenna (Ibn Sina): Selected full-text books and articles

Knowing the Unknowable God: Ibn-Sina, Maimonides, Aquinas By David B. C. S. C. Burrell University of Notre Dame Press, 1986
Avicenna By Lenn E. Goodman Routledge, 1992
An Anthology of Philosophy in Persia By Mehdi Amin Razavi; Seyyed Hossein Nasr Oxford University Press, vol.1, 1999
Librarian's tip: Chap. 11 "Ibn Sina"
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
Islamic Philosophy and Theology: An Extended Survey By W. Montgomery Watt Edinburgh University Press, 1985 (2nd edition)
Librarian's tip: Chap. 11 "Flowering of Philosophy"
Philosophers and Religious Leaders By 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 By Lameer, Joep The Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 116, No. 1, January-March 1996
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Avicenna and Essentialism By 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 By 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 By 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 By Ted Honderich Oxford University Press, 1995
Librarian's tip: Information on Avicenna begins on p. 70
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