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Personal Texts by Avicenna and His Disciples on His Relation to the Aristotelian Tradition

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Chapter Summary

Avicenna had few reservations about expressing his thoughts on the nature and practice of philosophy, both in history and in his immediate environment. In numerous introductions, epilogues, and private letters, texts that can be described as personal and some as private, he raised these very issues and stated his position on them. The fourteen texts translated in this chapter present a selection of these texts. The first three texts provide the setting, or the normative background, for the rest. They inform about what, in Avicenna's view, is to be learned in philosophy and how it is to be learned, and give an example of a person who learned it. The remaining texts, except for the last, discuss the evolution of Avicenna's thoughts about Aristotle and the Aristotelian tradition. The last section, finally, also Avicenna's very last work, presents his own summary of his philosophical system.

Keywords: Aristotelian tradition; Avicenna; personal texts; philosophical system



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