Of all the philosophers in the West, perhaps the best known by name and less familiar for the actual content of his ideas is the medieval Muslim philosopher, physician, princely minister and naturalist Abu Ali Ibn Sina, known since the days of the scholastics as Avicenna. In this lucidly written and witty book, L. E. Goodman a philosopher long known for his studies of Arabic thought presents a factual, pithy, and engaging account of Avicenna's philosophy.
Setting the thinker in the context of his often turbulent times and tracing the roots and influences of Avicenna's ideas, Goodman offers a factual and credible philosophical portrait of one of the world's greatest metaphysicians. The book details Avicenna's account of being as a synthesis between the seemingly irreconcilable extremes of Aristotelian eternalism and the creationism of monotheistic scripture. It examines Avicenna's distinctive theory of knowledge, his ideas on immortality and individuality, including the famous Floating Man argument, his contributions to logic, and his probing thoughts on rhetoric and poetics.
Drawing from the very latest scholarship, "Avicenna" is more than a philosophical appreciation. L. E. Goodman considers the abiding value of Avicenna's contributions, assaying his thought against the responses of his contemporaries and successors but also against our current philosophical understanding. It will have wide appeal among all Arabists and Islamicists, and among students and scholars of philosophy.
"Goodman's splendid new book should be welcomed by all historians of philosophy as the best detailed introduction to the thought of the eminent Islamic philosopher Avicenna . . . . Especially fine is Goodman's lucid account of Avicenna's synthesis of the metaphysics of necessity and of contingency."