Influence of Late-Antique (ca. 200-800 A.D.) Prolegomena to Aristotle’s Categories on Arabic Doctrines of the Subject Matter of Logic: Alfarabi (d. 950 A.D.), Baghdad Peripatetics, Avicenna (d. 1037 A.D.)

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Abstract

In this article, I explore how Avicenna’s (d. 1037) views about the subject matter of logic relate to earlier debates about Aristotle’s Categories among Aristotle’s Platonist commentators and the Baghdad Peripatetics, chief among them being Alfarabi (d. ca. 950). I argue that Alfarabi invents the idea of secondary intelligibles (or “second intentions”). I show, however, that under the influence of the middle and late Platonist commentary tradition on the Categories, he insists that primary intelligibles, not secondary intelligibles, are the subject matter of logic. While Avicenna thus takes over the idea of secondary intelligibles from Alfarabi, I show that Avicenna rejects Alfarabi’s view that primary intelligibles are the subject matter of logic. I conclude that what motivated Avicenna to hold that secondary intelligibles are the subject matter of logic was his belief that logic is a discipline of philosophy and not merely an instrument of it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-299
JournalArchiv für Geschichte der Philosophie
Volume99
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2017

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