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Avicenna On Chance

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows that the argument pursued by Avicenna epitomises his deterministic agenda, laid down in the Metaphysics of al-Shifā͗. The argument in the chapter is roughly divided into two parts. The first part analyses the relation between chance and the efficient cause. The second part analyses the relation between chance and the final cause. In order to defend his teleological view of nature, Avicenna has to tackle the issue of matter and also of evil, which leads him to expound and develop views that are typically Plotinian. Thus he introduces into an argument that is based on Aristotle the Neoplatonic/Plotinian view of matter and evil as negative. Avicenna's analysis of chance, which excludes truly random occurrences, is in consonance with his definition of chance (ittifāq) in the Metaphysics of al-Shifā͗.

Keywords: Avicenna; chance; evil; Metaphysics of al-Shifā͗; Plotinian view



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