Before and After Avicenna: Proceedings of the First Conference of the Avicenna Study Group (Islamic Philosophy, Theology, and Science) (Islamic Philosophy, Theology, and Science. Texts and Studies)

BEFORE AND AFTER AVICENNA
  • Book Title:
 Before And After Avicenna Proceedings Of The First Conference Of The Avicenna Study Group Islamic Philosophy Theology And Science Islamic Philosophy Theology And Science Texts And Studies
  • Book Author:
AvicennaDavid Colum Reisman
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325
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BEFORE AND AFTER AVICENNA – Book Sample

AVICENNA’S RECEPTION OF ARISTOTELIAN MODAL SYLLOGISTICS: A STUDY BASED ON CONVERSION RULES AND THE BARBARA PROBLEMATIC*

Introduction

Chapters 8–22 of the first book of Aristotle’s Prior Analytics[01]I use the following translations of the Prior Analytics (hereafter AP ; all references below are to book I unless otherwise noted): Aristotle’s … Continue reading deal with his theory of modal syllogisms. These sections have exercised histo-rians of philosophy for quite some time due to what seem to be glaring inconsistencies in Aristotle’s account.

Here I present some contributions made by Avicenna in trying to find an interpretation of the theory amenable to Aristotle’s conclusions. The first section offers a short account of Aristotle’s conversion rules and a summary of the modalities of possibility and necessity. One of the main purposes of this section is to serve as a backdrop for comparative excursions (which I leave mostly to the notes).

BEFORE AND AFTER AVICENNA

I offer in the notes of this sec-tion some aspects of the medieval Latin tradition[02]For this I am almost wholly indebted to Henrik Lagerlund, Modal Syllogistics in the Middle Ages (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2000) as it relates to the subject matter. I also sketch some comparisons with Avicenna which I develop more fully in the latter half of this paper[03]My discussion of Avicenna is based mostly on the Na[àt throughout this paper; see Kitàb an-Na[àt fì l-˙ikma al-man†iqìya … Continue reading.

The second section introduces the famous case of the two Barbaras and a corre-sponding problem found in first figure syllogisms composed of a prob-lematic and an assertoric premise. In the third section, I expound Avicenna’s conception of modal propositions with regard to his syl-logistics.4 Here I deal with Avicenna’s multilateral readings of modals and set forth conversion rules essential to understanding his modal syllogistic. Finally, in the fourth section, I present Avicenna’s con-strual of the problems presented by the Aristotelian tradition which I introduce in the second section.

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References / Footnotes

01I use the following translations of the Prior Analytics (hereafter AP ; all references below are to book I unless otherwise noted): Aristotle’s Prior Analytics, tr. Robin Smith (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1989); Prior Analytics, tr. A. Jenkinson in The Complete Works of Aristotle, ed. J. Barnes (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984), 1:39–113. I also use the text and translation provided in Aristotle: The Categories, On Interpretation, and Prior Analytics, ed./tr. H. Cooke and H. Tredennick (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996) [hereafter Cooke/Tredennick].
02For this I am almost wholly indebted to Henrik Lagerlund, Modal Syllogistics in the Middle Ages (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2000
03My discussion of Avicenna is based mostly on the Na[àt throughout this paper; see Kitàb an-Na[àt fì l-˙ikma al-man†iqìya wa-†-†abì’ìya wa-l-ilàhìya, ed. M. Fakhry (Beirut: Dàr al-Àfàq al-]adìda, 1985). For certain topics I also refer to Avicenna’s Kitàb a“-”ifà”, al-Man†iq 4: al-Qiyàs, ed. S. Zà”id (Cairo: Wizàrat a∆-Ôaqàfa wa-l-Ir“àd al-Qawmì,1383/1964) [hereafter ”ifà”] and Avicenna, Livre des directives et remarques (Kitàb al-I“àràt wa l-Tanbìhàt), tr. A.-M. Goichon (Paris: Librairie J. Vrin, 1951) [hereafter Goichon].