Alfarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes, on Intellect: Their Cosmologies, Theories of the Active Intellect, and Theories of Human Intellect

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<b>Alfarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes, on Intellect: Their Cosmologies, Theories of the Active Intellect, and Theories of Human Intellect</b>
Author: Herbert A.Davidson
Publisher: New York,Oxford
Publication date: 1992
ISBN: 0195074238
Number of pages: 374
Format / Quality: Pdf
Size: 24,4 Mb
Language:English

Цитата:
Aristotle started from the presupposition that human thoughts reflect the external world without distortion, the antithesis of what would be Immanuel Kant's perspective. Aristotle brought to bear a dichotomy pervading his entire philosophy, positing that the various domains of the physical universe disclose both a "matter" and a "cause" or "agent" (&#960;&#959;&#953;&#951;&#964;&#953;&#954;&#959;&#957;) which leads the matter from potentiality to actuality; and he inferred that the same distinction must also be "present in the soul." The intellect that is what it is "by virtue of becoming all things" came to be known as the potential or material intellect, and the intellect that is what it is "by virtue of making all things," as the active intellect (sometimes also translated as active mind, active intelligence, active reason, agent intellect, productive intellect). Alfarabi (d. 950), Avicenna (980-1037), and Averroes (1126-1198) integrate the active intellect and human potential intellect into larger cosmic schemes. In each instance, the physical universe comprises transparent celestial spheres, in which the stars and planets are embedded, and a stationary sublunar world, around which the celestial spheres rotate. A first supreme being consisting in pure thought, and hence an intellect, presides over the entire cosmos; and there follow other beings consisting in pure thought, that is to say, other intellects—or, as they are conventionally termed, intelligences—which have the function of maintaining the celestial spheres in motion. The active intellect, the cause of actual human thought, stands at the end of the chain of supernal intelligences. In Alfarabi, Avicenna, and the early Averroes, the intelligences, including the active intellect, are brought into existence through a series of eternal emanations initiated by the First Cause; and Alfarabi and Avicenna understand that the chain of emanations extends to the celestial spheres and brings them into existence as well. All three philosophers locate the human potential intellect immediately after the active intellect in the descending order of existence.
Цитата:
"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
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