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Avicenna’s Conception of the Praxis of Philosophy

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Chapter Summary

The understanding of the history and development of philosophy which Avicenna acquired from the Aristotelian tradition provided the starting point and the context for his own philosophical activity and his self-consciousness as a philosopher. It helped him crystallize his thoughts about the philosophical praxis, or what it is to "do" philosophy, and by extension, about how all philosophers should proceed. The goal of the praxis of philosophy is to actualize in the human intellect the Knowledge of the celestial spheres, while the history of philosophy is the record of the progressive acquisition by humans of parts of this Knowledge. Although the Knowledge to be acquired in itself and on a transcendent plane is a closed system and static, on a human level and in history it is evolutionary. The two concepts of Fundamental Principles and Working Out Corollaries are central in Avicenna's conception of the praxis of philosophy.

Keywords: Aristotelian tradition; Avicenna; human intellect; praxis of philosophy



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