Ibn Sina

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Ibn Sina. Avicenna and the proofs for the nature of God. Avicenna. 980-1037 Influence of Aristotle Influence on Aquinas The tension between anthropomorphic and philosophical understandings of God. Format for the Arguments. Set up the problem. Often with definitions
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Ibn SinaAvicenna and the proofs for the nature of GodAvicenna
  • 980-1037
  • Influence of Aristotle
  • Influence on Aquinas
  • The tension between anthropomorphic and philosophical understandings of God
  • Format for the Arguments
  • Set up the problem.
  • Often with definitions
  • Provide a demonstration.
  • This is a version of medieval disputation.
  • That there is a Necessary Being
  • All being is either contingent or necessary
  • A contingent being has a reason for being
  • A cause
  • If that contingent being’s reason is a contingent being, then that being also has a reason for being
  • A cause
  • That there is a Necessary Being, II
  • If there is only a chain of contingent beings, there is no being.
  • Nothing exists
  • [We know that things do exist.]
  • There must be a first being that has no reason
  • A first Cause
  • There must be a Necessary being
  • An uncaused being
  • Of the Unity of God
  • Notice that this argument is that necessary being is one.
  • This is an argument against the Christian understanding of a trinity
  • Of the Unity of God, II
  • If there are two (or three) necessary beings, they must be distinguishable
  • Distinctions are accidental (adjoined to something after its essence is established) or essential (part of what the thing is)
  • Of the Unity of God, III
  • If the things are distinguished by accidental characteristics
  • Each may have accidental characteristics, and so both are caused.
  • One may have an accidental characteristic, so that one is not a necessary being.
  • We are left with only one necessary being.
  • Of the Unity of God, IV
  • If the things are distinguished by essential characteristics
  • If the distinctions are in both, then both are compound and both are caused. Neither is a necessary being.
  • If the essential distinction is in one only, then it is compound and so caused. It is contingent and the other is necessary
  • God is Necessary and One.
  • God is without cause
  • Active cause—that from which a thing has its being
  • Final cause-that on account of which a thing has being
  • Material cause-that in which a thing has being
  • Formal cause—that through which a thing has being
  • God’s attributes
  • Their multiplicity does not destroy his unity (p. 67)
  • Can you explain this?
  • God’s knowledge
  • Self-thinking thought
  • God’s knowledge of his essence is his knowledge, his being known, and his knowing.
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