Fazlur Rahman (essay date 1963)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Ibn Sīna," in A History of Muslim Philosophy, with Short Accounts of Other Disciplines and the Modern Renaissance in Muslim Lands, Vol. One, edited by M. M. Sharif, Otto Harrassowitz, 1963, pp. 480-506.

[In the following excerpt, Rahman surveys Avicenna's metaphysics, philosophy of mind, epistemology, and philosophy of religion, and briefly discusses Avicenna's influence in the East and West.]

In the history of philosophical thought in the Medieval Ages, the figure of ibn Sīna (370/980-428/1037) is, in many respects, unique, while among the Muslim philosophers, it is not only unique but has been paramount right up to modern times. He is the only one among...

(The entire section is 13025 words.)

Herbert A. Davidson (essay date 1979)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Avicenna's Proof of the Existence of God as a Necessarily Existent Being," in Islamic Philosophical Theology, edited by Parviz Morewedge, State University of New York Press, 1979, pp. 165-87.

[In the following essay, Davidson insists that, although Avicenna purports to prove God's existence based on the concept of a necessarily existent being, his ontological argument is rather a kind of cosmological proof]

(The entire section is 8317 words.)

A. I. Sabra (essay date 1980)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Avicenna on the Subject Matter of Logic," in The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. LXXVII, No. 10, October, 1980, pp. 746-64.

[Here, Sabra outlines Avicenna's influential conception of logic as a part of philosophy that can lead one to "knowledge of the unknown. "]

(The entire section is 6866 words.)

Charles E. Butterworth (essay date 1983)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Ethics in Medieval Islamic Philosophy," in The Journal of Religious Ethics, Vol. 11, No. 2, Fall, 1983, pp. 224-39.

[In the following excerpt, Butterworth discusses Avicenna's moral and political philosophy.]

[Avicenna's] writing takes the form of essays about Aristotelian treatises and themes, essays which explore the subject of the treatise or the theme itself in such a manner that one learns far more about Avicenna's opinions than about what he thinks Aristotle was trying to explain. For example, in his multi-volume Shifā (or Healing)—a work divided into four major sections, somewhat along the lines of Aristotle's account of...

(The entire section is 1311 words.)

Michael Marmura (essay date 1986)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Avicenna's 'Flying Man' in Context," in The Monist, Vol. 69, No. 3, July, 1986, pp. 383-95.

[In the essay below, Marmura discusses the three instances of Avicenna's "Flying Man" scenario, which illustrates Avicenna's philosophy of mind.]

The psychological writings of the Islamic philosopher Avicenna (Ibn Sīnā) (d. 1037) are noted for the hypothetical example he gives of the man suspended in space—the "Flying Man." This example, which left its impress on the Latin scholastics and has engaged the attention of modern scholars, occurs thrice in his writings in contexts that are closely related, but not identical. Its third occurrence, which represents a...

(The entire section is 5429 words.)

Nancy G. Siraisi (essay date 1987)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Canon of Avicenna," in Avicenna in Renaissance Italy: The Canon and Medical Teaching in Italian Universities after 1500, Princeton University Press, 1987, pp. 19-40.

[In the following essay, Siraisi outlines the main ideas of Avicenna's Canon of Medicine, focusing on the Latin translation by Gerard of Cremona, and comparing it with its Galenic sources.]

The encyclopedic medical work written by Avicenna (d. 1037) is far too lengthy and, as the massiveness of the Latin commentaries on short sections of it testifies, far too complex to be adequately characterized in brief. The following comments are intended only to draw the reader's...

(The entire section is 8454 words.)