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AVICENNA [Ibn Sina]: His life (980-1037) and Work

AVICENNA [Ibn Sina]: His life (980-1037) and Work

Author:
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
English

AVICENNA [Ibn Sina]:

His life (980-1037) and Work

By: SOHEIL M. AFNAN

AVICENNA'S SUCCESSORS AND COMMENTATORS

London, Allen & Unwin [1958]

www.alhassanain.org/english

Notice:

This work is published on behalf of www.alhassanain.org/english

The composing errors are n’t corrected.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PREFACE 4

INTRODUCTION 5

CHAPTER I: PERSIA IN THE TENTH CENTURY 23

CHAPTER II: LIFE AND WORKS OF AVICENNA 34

CHAPTER III: PROBLEMS OF LOGIC 50

CHAPTER IV: PROBLEMS OF METAPHYSICS 63

The concept of being 68

The concept of creation 75

CHAPTER V: PROBLEMS OF PSYCHOLOGY 82

CHAPTER VI: PROBLEMS OF RELIGION 102

CHAPTER VII: MEDICINE AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES 122

The Problem of Matter 125

The problem of Time 129

The Problem of Space 131

Geology 133

Astronomy and Mathematics 136

Music and Poetry 138

Politics 141

CHAPTER VIII: AVICENNA AND THE EAST 143

CHAPTER IX: AVICENNA AND THE WEST 158

CONCLUSION 177

AVICENNA'S SUCCESSORS AND COMMENTATORS 178

PREFACE

This is an attempt to present to the general reader the life and works of Avicenna, who is beyond doubt the most provocative figure in the history of thought in the East. It is not a defence of him and his system, nor a critique of his philosophy. During his lifetime he was deliberately scornful of defenders and critics alike; he could not think better of them now that a thousand years have gone by. With his position amply justified, and after that extended period when his name hung on the lips of physicians and philosophers from the borders of China to the cloisters of mediaeval Paris and Oxford, it seems best to let him speak for himself. The painted frieze only lately discovered behind a coating of plaster at the Bodleian, is sufficient evidence that he is no newcomer to the Western world.

We have felt no temptation to adapt him to modern thought; or to graft his conceptions on to those that belong distinctively to an experimental age. We have wished to give the right historical perspective, and to show him as the product of the impact of Greek thought on Islamic teachings against the background of the Persian Renaissance in the tenth century.

The legitimate question whether there is anything of permanent value in his thought has been left for the reader to decide. Yet it has been emphasized that the problems he was confronted with resulted from the conflicting disciplines of two separate cultures brought face to face. He is therefore of more than historical interest. His attitude can be of guidance to those in the East who are meeting the challenge of Western civilization; and to those in the West who have yet to find a basis on which to harmonize scientific with spiritual values.

There remains the pleasant task of expressing our thanks to Dr S. Pines with whom we have discussed Avicenna frequently, and who has read some of the chapters of this book, and made valuable

S. M. AFNAN

Pembroke College, Cambridge, July 1956