The Criterion of Completeness in Avicenna’s Reorganization of the Predicables into a System of Notions Resulting in Concept Formation

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The aim of the paper is to show that Avicenna’s reorganization of the division of the predicables into a system of notions (maʿānī) resulting in concept formation is the product of his attempt to integrate Aristotle’s different approaches to definition in a consistent system. The first approach is the method of defining things by the ‘what-is-it way’ (ṭarīq mā huwa) of the Topics. The second approach is the method of the Posterior Analytics and the Metaphysics, starting from something given and rewording the what-is-it question into the question ‘which kind of thing is it with regard to its essence.’ The third approach is the method of the De partibus animalium, starting from the genera of things and dividing them by different divisions whose ultimate differentiae are aggregated to a set of attributes which as a whole belong to the described thing alone. The third method is not appropriate in demonstration. From it may result completeness (tamām) of description. But only from the completeness of a real definition can be reached perfection (kamāl) of concept formation.

The Criterion of Completeness in Avicenna’s Reorganization of the Predicables into a System of Notions Resulting in Concept Formation

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7

Riccardo Strobino“Per se, Inseparability, Containment and Implication: Bridging the Gap between Avicenna’s Theory of Demonstration and Logic of the Predicables,” Oriens 44.3–4 (2016): Abstract; cf. Texts 27 and 28.

14

Alexander of AphrodisiasIn Arist. Top. 4021.

15

Alexander of AphrodisiasIn Arist. Top. 436–8.

16

Alexander of AphrodisiasIn Arist. Top. 511. See on “ ‘completive’ (συμπληρωτικός sc. τῆς οὐσίας)” as the “jargon-term” for the species forming differentiae “used by all Imperial philosophers” Anthony C. Lloyd The Anatomy of Neoplatonism (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1990) 85–86. Riccardo Strobino points out that συμπληρωτικός is used by Philoponus to refer to differentiae and genera and that Avicenna’s central term muqawwim (“constitutive”) is the equivalent to Philoponus’ use of the term συμπληρωτικός. See Strobino “Per se Inseparability Containment and Implication: Bridging the Gap between Avicenna’s Theory of Demonstration and Logic of the Predicables” n. 12. However as candidate for the origin of the term muqawwim must also be taken into consideration the more literal sense of “that which causes subsistence (ὑπόστασις/qiwām).” E.g. al-Fārābī defines ‘definition’ (ḥadd) at the beginning of his commentary on TopicsI.5 101b 38 referring to the Posterior Analytics: “Definition is the speech (qawl/λόγος) which signifies the notion (maʿnā) of a thing … And the notion by which the thing exists are those of its attributes (awṣāf) by which its essence subsists and by which the thing exists” (wa-maʿnā š-šayʾi llaḏī bihī wuǧūduhū huwa min bayni awṣāfi š-šayʾi awṣāfuhu llatī bihā qiwāmu ḏātihī wa-wuǧūduhū) and further that a definition (ḥadd) has “to encompass all attributes by which a thing exists and by which its essence has subsistence” (la-yastaġriqu ḏālika ǧamīʿa awṣāfihi llatī bihā wuǧūduhū wa-qiwāmu ḏātihī). Al-Fārābī K. al-Ǧadal in: Al-Manṭiq ʿind al-FārābīIII ed. by F. Jabre (Beirut Dār al-Mašriq 1986) [henceforth = al-Ǧadal] 853–9. Here as in many other places the “subsistence” (qiwām) of the essence (ḏāt) is mentioned side by side with the “existence” (wuǧūd) of the thing (šayʾ). This points to ὑπόστασις as the origin of the term qiwām. Cf. also Isḥāq b. Ḥunayn’s translation of Cat. 3 1a 24–25: aʿnī bi-qawlī fī mawḍūʿin al-mawǧūdu fī šayʾin lā li-ǧuzʾin minhu wa-laysa yumkinu an yakūna qiwāmuhū min ġayri llaḏī huwa fīhi. See Jabre An-Naṣṣ al-kāmil li-manṭiq ArisṭūI. On qāmayaqūmuqiwām in the sense of “subsistence” cf. also note 35 below and Glossarium Græco-Arabicum (http://telota.bbaw.de/glossga/) s.v. ὑπόστασις.

17

Alexander of AphrodisiasIn Arist. Top. 4610–12; transl. by Jan M. van Ophuijsen Alexander of Aphrodisias: On Aristotle Topics I (modified).

18

Alexander of AphrodisiasIn Arist. Top. 4324; transl. by Jan M. van Ophuijsen Alexander of Aphrodisias: On Aristotle Topics I.

26

Cf. Strobino“Avicenna on the Indemonstrability of Definition” 121–122.

30

Strobino“Avicenna on the Indemonstrability of Definition” 120.

34

Alexander of AphrodisiasIn Arist. Top. 4927–506.

35

Alexander of AphrodisiasIn Arist. Top. 5017–18. Cf. what Alexander says in his Treatise on Color translated into Arabic under the title Maqālāt al-Iskandar al-Afrūdīsī fī l-lawn: “We also say color is a thing which belongs to the things predicated which do not subsist by themselves but by another thing (al-ašyāʾ al-maḥmūla llatī lā taqūmu bi-ḏātihā bal fī šayʾ āḫar). And if this is so then there is no doubt that there must be a body (ǧirm) which carries the color and this is the translucent body as the translucent body is the nearest matter [i.e. the immediate substrate] of the color.” Alexander of Aphrodisias Die arabische Übersetzung der Schrift des Alexander von Aphrodisias über die Farbe (Maqālāt al-Iskandar al-Afrūdīsī fī l-lawn) Nachrichten der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen I. Phil.-hist. Kl. 1967/10 ed. by H. Gätje (Göttingen: Commissionsverlag der Dieterich’schen Verlagsbuchhandlung 1967) Arab. text ll. 45–48.

36

Alexander of AphrodisiasIn Arist. Top. 5031–515; transl. Ophuijsen Alexander of Aphrodisias: On Aristotle Topics I (slightly modified).

44

Al-Fārābīal-Ǧadal9616–20.

52

Al-Fārābīal-Ǧadal873–12. This comments on TopicsI.5.

66

Cf. Victor KalOn Intuition and Discursive Reasoning in Aristotle (Leiden e.a.: Brill1988) 35–38.

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