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Avicenna’s Doctrine Of The Primary Notions And Its Impact On Medieval Philosophy

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Chapter Summary

The reception of Arabic philosophy in the Latin West is an important but still fragmentarily known chapter in the history of Western thought. It is concerned with the medieval reception of a well-known doctrine of Avicenna's philosophy, whose significance for the history of Western metaphysics is generally underestimated. This chapter first examines Avicenna's motive for the introduction of primary concepts. Avicenna's doctrine of the primary notions has a place in his Metaphysics that suits its primacy. The chapter then considers the concepts 'thing' and 'being', and explores the status of the concept 'one'. Avicenna's thesis of the accidentality of the 'one' is equivocal, since the term 'accident' has different meanings. His thesis concerns the place of the predicate 'one' within the Porphyrian order of the predicables. The chapter attempts to characterize Avicenna's doctrine as a whole in the light of the medieval reception.

Keywords: Arabic philosophy; Avicenna's doctrine; Latin west; medieval philosophy; Metaphysics

10.1163/ej.9789004165656.i-711.8
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