Avicenna against Mathematical Platonism

In: Oriens


In this paper I investigate Avicenna’s criticisms of the separateness of mathematical objects and of the view that they are principles for natural things. These two theses form the core of Plato’s view of mathematics; i.e., mathematical Platonism. Surprisingly, Avicenna does not consider his arguments against these theses as attacks on Plato. This is because his understanding of Plato’s philosophy of mathematics differs from both Plato’s original view and what Aristotle attributes to Plato.

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