Editor: Jon McGinnis
This volume provides twelve essays on various aspects of Avicenna's 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) Avicenna's heritage.
The First section provides considerations for distinguishing genuine from pseudo Avicennan works. The second section deals with topics encountered in Avicenna's physics, psychology, mathematics and medical theories. The third section treats issues ranging from the theological sources for Avicenna's proof for the existence of God and God's knowledge of particulars to the place of puzzles in Avicenna's Metaphysics as well as the relation of form and matter in Avicenna's thought. The final section considers Avicenna's historical influence on later thinkers such as al-Ghazali as well as his subsequent influence in Persia.
Author: Jon McGinnis

Abstract

Aristotle's account of place in terms of an innermost limit of a containing body was to generate serious discussion and controversy among Aristotle's later commentators, especially when it was applied to the cosmos as a whole. The problem was that since there is nothing outside of the cosmos that could contain it, the cosmos apparently could not have a place according to Aristotle's definition; however, if the cosmos does not have a place, then it is not clear that it could move, but it was thought to move, namely, in its daily revolution, which was viewed as a kind of natural locomotion and so required the cosmos to have a place. The study briefly outlines Aristotle's account of place and then considers its fate, particularly with respect to the cosmos and its motion, at the hands of later commentators. To this end, it begins with Theophrastus' puzzles concerning Aristotle's account of place, and how later Greek commentators, such as Alexander of Aphrodisias, Themistius and others, attempted to address these problems in what can only be described as ad hoc ways. It then considers Philoponus' exploitation of these problems as a means to replace Aristotle's account of place with his own account of place understood in terms of extension. The study concludes with the Arabic Neoplatonizing Aristotelian Avicenna and his novel introduction of a new category of motion, namely, motion in the category of position. Briefly, Avicenna denies that the cosmos has a place, and so claims that it moves not with respect to place, but with respect to position.

In: Phronesis
Author: Jon McGinnis

We know precious little about the reception of Avicenna’s natural philosophy in the post-Avicennan Muslim East and even less about the reception of physics more generally in this milieu. In this study, I argue that the primary vehicle for the transmission of Avicenna’s natural philosophy was the Ishārāt. This work is virtually unique in structure and much of its content compared with earlier works of natural philosophy including Avicenna’s own Ṭabīʿīyāt from the Shifāʾ; thus its influence is relatively easy to identify in later works. Additionally, I hypothesize that the physics of the Ishārāt underlies the sections on natural philosophy from some of the most important madrasa textbooks in the post-Classical Islamic world. These textbooks are al-Abharī’s Hidāyat al-ḥikma, Mullā Ṣadrā’s Sharḥ al-Hidāya, al-Kātibī’s Ḥikmat al-ʿayn and Faḍl-i Ḥaqq al-Khayrābādī’s al-Hadīya al-saʿīdiyya.

In: Oriens
Author: Jon McGinnis

Abstract

The originality of John Philoponus' temporal theory has been underestimated.The paper emphasizes Philoponus' creativity, especially in his reconciliation of Plato's and Aristotle's temporal theories (or at least one possible interpretation of Aristotle's account of time). To this end, the paper sketches both Plato's (and later Neoplatonic interpretations of Plato) and suggests an interpretation of Aristotle's accounts of time, which is at odds with the Platonic and Neoplatonic view of time. It next presents Philoponus' reconstruction of Aristotle's account along Platonic lines and concludes with the relevance of these ancient theories to contemporary temporal discussions.

In: KronoScope
In: Arabic Humanities, Islamic Thought
In: Illuminationist Texts and Textual Studies
In: Oriens