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Avicenna On Celestial Causation And Providence

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the causation ruling the celestial realm in order to ascertain whether Avicenna's determinism extends to his cosmology. In order to understand how God, necessarily existent by itself, determines the existence of beings that are possible in themselves, necessary through another, one has to have a close look at the emanation process through which the celestial realm that governs everything below the sphere of the moon comes into existence. Causation in the supralunary world can be seen to work in two different, but not contradictory, ways, namely as final causation and as efficient causation. In his theory of divine providence and qadar, God's determination of events, Avicenna combines the metaphysical theory that everything is necessary through the first absolute cause with the Islamic view that God determines all events. Avicenna explicitly affirms that nothing exists without having become necessary through God.

Keywords: Avicenna; celestial realm; divine providence; supralunary world



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