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Alfarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes, on Intellect : Their Cosmologies, Theories of the Active Intellect and Theories of Human Intellect - Herbert A. Davidson

Alfarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes, on Intellect

Their Cosmologies, Theories of the Active Intellect and Theories of Human Intellect

Hardcover

Published: 24th September 1992
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A study of problems revolving around the subject of intellect in the philosophies of Alfarabi (d. 950), Avicenna (980-1037), and Averroes (1126-1198), this book pays particular attention to the way in which these philosophers addressed the tangle of issues that grew up around the active intellect.
Davidson starts by reviewing discussions in Greek and early Arabic philosophy that served as the background for the three Arabic thinkers. He examines the cosmologies and theories of human and active intellect of the three philosophers and covers such subjects as the emanation of the supernal realm from the First Cause, the emanation of the lower world from the transcendent active intellect, stages of human intellect, illumination of the human intellect by the transcendent active intellect, conjunction of the human intellect with the transcendent active intellect, prophecy, and human immortality.
Davidson traces the impact of the three philosophers on medieval Jewish philosophy and Latin Scholasticism. He shows that the later medieval Jewish philosophers and the Scholastics had differing perceptions of Averroes because they happened to use works belonging to different periods of his philosophic career.
This book will be of interest to the student and scholar in medieval philosophy, the history of philosophy, and medieval culture.

"This is one of the most impressive scholarly books that I have seen in a long time. It is informed, erudite, well-researched, and well-structured."--Arthur Hyman, Yeshiva University "Davidson's book is an absolutely indispensable and unique tool for all scholars of medieval angelologies and theories of intellect--both Eastern and Western--who are unable to read the Arabic sources in the original. The feature which makes this work stand out favorably among other similar studies is that the amount of detail and precision of descriptions almost makes it into an anthology of original texts."--Ruminatio "This book is a masterful exposition of medieval writings on the "most intensely studied sentences in the history of philosophy,"(p.3), those concerning the intellect which Aristotle wrote Book Three of De anima, chapters 4 and 5....Davidson has impressive linguistic and analytical skills, enabling him to interpret difficult texts with seeming ease and confidence."--International Studies in Philosophy "Davidson organizes his book in an extemely lucid, even schematic, way.... a wonderfully lucid quide to the Aristotelian tradition on intellect in the Middle Ages."--The Jewish Quarterly Review "Nothing of comparable breadth or depth and quality of analysis and argument exists on this topic today....Davidson's excellent contribution to the study of the understanding of intellect in the Middle Ages belongs not only in every research library but also in the personal libraries of all serious students of Medieval philosophical and religious thought."--Journal of Neoplatonic Studies "The literary and philosophic topics addressed in this monograph are perhaps the most difficult to decipher in the history of Western thought. Thanks to Davidson's embattled "history of philosophic ideas" and his uncanny knack for sorting out textual and conceptual confusions, the original meaning and subsequent interpretations of Aristotelian cosmology and intellect are no longer so hazy and intimidatingly enigmatic."-- The Journal of the Association for Jewish Studies "This is one of the most impressive scholarly books that I have seen in a long time. It is informed, erudite, well-researched, and well-structured."--Arthur Hyman, Yeshiva University "Davidson's book is an absolutely indispensable and unique tool for all scholars of medieval angelologies and theories of intellect--both Eastern and Western--who are unable to read the Arabic sources in the original. The feature which makes this work stand out favorably among other similar studies is that the amount of detail and precision of descriptions almost makes it into an anthology of original texts."--Ruminatio "This book is a masterful exposition of medieval writings on the "most intensely studied sentences in the history of philosophy,"(p.3), those concerning the intellect which Aristotle wrote Book Three of De anima, chapters 4 and 5....Davidson has impressive linguistic and analytical skills, enabling him to interpret difficult texts with seeming ease and confidence."--International Studies in Philosophy "Davidson organizes his book in an extemely lucid, even schematic, way.... a wonderfully lucid quide to the Aristotelian tradition on intellect in the Middle Ages."--The Jewish Quarterly Review "Nothing of comparable breadth or depth and quality of analysis and argument exists on this topic today....Davidson's excellent contribution to the study of the understanding of intellect in the Middle Ages belongs not only in every research library but also in the personal libraries of all serious students of Medieval philosophical and religious thought."--Journal of Neoplatonic Studies "...[an] excellent account of a nest of some of the most vexing problems in ancient and medieval philosophy....The fine quality and broad scope of this well-written and convincingly argued tome make it a work that richly repays careful study by anyone with an interest in Aristotelian theories of the intellect or their role in the formation of psychological, metaphysical and religious philosophy in the Middle Ages. No comparable account of equal caliber and scholarly value on the topic exists today....an exemplary piece of scholarship and a most welcome contribution to the study of medieval philosophy."--The Philosophical Review "The literary and philosophic topics addressed in this monograph are perhaps the most difficult to decipher in the history of Western thought. Thanks to Davidson's embattled "history of philosophic ideas" and his uncanny knack for sorting out textual and conceptual confusions, the original meaning and subsequent interpretations of Aristotelian cosmology and intellect are no longer so hazy and intimidatingly enigmatic."-- The Journal of the Association for Jewish Studies

Introductionp. 3
Greek and Arabic Antecedentsp. 7
Stages of Human Intellectp. 9
The Kind of Entity That the Active Intellect Isp. 13
The Active Intellect as a Cause of Human Thoughtp. 18
The Active Intellect as a Cause of Existencep. 29
Conjunction with the Active Intellect; Immortalityp. 34
Alfarabi on Emanation, the Active Intellect, and Human Intellectp. 44
Al-Madina al-Fadila and al-Siyasa al-Madaniyyap. 44
Alfarabi's Philosophy of Aristotlep. 63
The Risala fi al-Aqlp. 65
Alfarabi's Commentary on the Nicomachean Ethicsp. 70
Concluding Notep. 73
Avicenna on Emanation, the Active Intellect, and Human Intellectp. 74
The Emanation of the Universe; the Active Intellect as a Cause of the Existence of the Sublunar Worldp. 74
Stages of Human Intellect; the Active Intellect as the Cause of Human Thoughtp. 83
Imagination, Cogitation, Insightp. 95
Conjunction and Immortalityp. 103
Prophecyp. 116
Summaryp. 124
Reverberations of the Theories of Alfarabi and Avicennap. 127
Avicenna's Islamic Successorsp. 127
Reverberations in Medieval Jewish Philosophyp. 180
Reverberations in Scholastic Philosophyp. 209
Summaryp. 218
Averroes on Emanation and on the Active Intellect as a Cause of Existencep. 220
General Considerationsp. 220
The Emanation of the Universep. 223
The Active Intellect as a Cause of Existence: Epitomes of the Parva naturalia and the Metaphysicsp. 232
The Active Intellect as a Cause of Existence: The Commentary on De generatione animaliump. 242
The Active Intellect as a Cause of Existence: The Long Commentary on the Metaphysics and Tahafut al-Tahafut (Destructio destructionum)p. 245
Summaryp. 254
Averroes on the Material Intellectp. 258
Introductionp. 258
The Epitome of the De anima and the Epistle on the Possibility of Conjunctionp. 265
A Minor Composition on Conjunction and the Middle Commentary on the De animap. 274
Averroes' Long Commentary on the De anima and his Commentary on Alexander's De intellectup. 282
Summaryp. 295
Averroes' Theories of Material Intellect as Reflected in Subsequent Jewish and Christian Thoughtp. 298
Averroes on the Active Intellect as the Cause of Human Thoughtp. 315
The Passage of the Human Intellect to Actualityp. 315
The Possibility of Conjunction with the Active Intellect; Immortalityp. 321
Prophecyp. 340
Averroes' Shifting Picture of the Universe and of Man's Place in Itp. 351
Indexp. 357
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195074239
ISBN-10: 0195074238
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 374
Published: 24th September 1992
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.1 x 16.4  x 3.1
Weight (kg): 0.71