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Individuation

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  • Thomas Mether
    Hello,   I m researching the metaphysical question of individuation and personal identity. I know the medieval primary sources and secondary sources pretty
    Message 1 of 13 , Jan 14, 2010
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      Hello,
       
      I'm researching the metaphysical question of individuation and personal identity. I know the medieval primary sources and secondary sources pretty well. I also know where to look in the primary sources for the neo-platonists. I am wondering if there are some secondary sources on the individuation question in the neo-platonists that some would recommend.
      Thanks,
      Thomas
       
















      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Christoph Helmig
      Dear Thomas, there is a new article by Christian Tornau (Würzburg) on individuality in Plotinus: Qu’est-ce qu’un individu? Unité, individualité et
      Message 2 of 13 , Jan 14, 2010
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        Dear Thomas,

        there is a new article by Christian Tornau (Würzburg) on individuality in Plotinus:

        Qu’est-ce qu’un individu? Unité, individualité et conscience de soi dans la métaphysique plotinienne de l’âme, in: Les études philosophiques 90,2009: Plotin et son platonisme (hg. von R Chiaradonna), 333-360.

        All the best,
        Christoph

        --
        Prof. Dr. Christoph Helmig

        Juniorprofessor für Klassische Philologie (Schwerpunkt Spätantike)
        Institut für Klassische Philologie /
        Exzellenzcluster Topoi (www.topoi.org) /
        Graduate School of Ancient Philosophy (www.ancient-philosophy.de)

        Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
        Unter den Linden 6
        D-10099 Berlin
      • John Uebersax
        Hi Thomas, This is treated I believe in one or two of Sorabji s Philosophy of the Commentators volumes: The Philosophy of the Commentators, 200-600 AD:
        Message 3 of 13 , Jan 14, 2010
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          Hi Thomas,

          This is treated I believe in one or two of Sorabji's Philosophy of the Commentators volumes:

          The Philosophy of the Commentators, 200-600 AD: Psychology (with ethics and religion)
          Volume 1 of The Philosophy of the Commentators, 200-600 AD
          Richard Sorabji (editor)
          Cornell University Press, 2005
          http://books.google.com/books?id=GqFqAlrpNvgC

          The Philosophy of the Commentators, 200-600 AD: Logic and metaphysics
          Volume 3 of The Philosophy of the Commentators, 200-600 AD
          Richard Sorabji (editor)
          Cornell University Press, 2005
          http://books.google.com/books?id=s6W-WeLvMh8C

          Hope this helps.

          John Uebersax

          --- On Thu, 1/14/10, Thomas Mether <t_mether@...> wrote:

          I'm researching the metaphysical  question of individuation and personal identity. I know the medieval primary sources and secondary sources pretty well. I also know where to look in the primary sources for the neo-platonists. I am wondering if there are some secondary sources on the individuation question in the neo-platonists that some would recommend.
        • Thomas Mether
          Hello Christoph, Thank you for the recommendation. What prompted me to visit or re-visit the issue is a student of my did a paper on Aquinas theory of
          Message 4 of 13 , Jan 16, 2010
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            Hello Christoph,
            Thank you for the recommendation. What prompted me to visit or re-visit the issue is a student of my did a paper on Aquinas' theory of individuation and clones. She asked me if any ancient theory could address why clones would be different individuals. Good question.

            --- On Thu, 1/14/10, Christoph Helmig <Christoph.Helmig@...> wrote:


            From: Christoph Helmig <Christoph.Helmig@...>
            Subject: AW: [neoplatonism] Individuation
            To: "neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com" <neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com>
            Date: Thursday, January 14, 2010, 2:28 PM


            Dear Thomas,

            there is a new article by Christian Tornau (Würzburg) on individuality in Plotinus:

            Qu’est-ce qu’un individu? Unité, individualité et conscience de soi dans la métaphysique plotinienne de l’âme, in: Les études philosophiques 90,2009: Plotin et son platonisme (hg. von R Chiaradonna), 333-360.

            All the best,
            Christoph

            --
            Prof. Dr. Christoph Helmig

            Juniorprofessor für Klassische Philologie (Schwerpunkt Spätantike)
            Institut für Klassische Philologie /
            Exzellenzcluster Topoi (www.topoi.org) /
            Graduate School of Ancient Philosophy (www.ancient-philosophy.de)

            Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
            Unter den Linden 6
            D-10099 Berlin

            ------------------------------------

            Yahoo! Groups Links








            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Thomas Mether
            Hello John, Thanks for the recommendations. As I mentioned to Christoph, what prompted me visiting or re-visiting this was a student s piece on Thomist
            Message 5 of 13 , Jan 16, 2010
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              Hello John,
              Thanks for the recommendations. As I mentioned to Christoph, what prompted me visiting or re-visiting this was a student's piece on Thomist individuation theory and clones. She wondered if any other medieval or ancient theories fared better. I didn't have an answer.


              --- On Thu, 1/14/10, John Uebersax <john.uebersax@...> wrote:


              From: John Uebersax <john.uebersax@...>
              Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Individuation
              To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Thursday, January 14, 2010, 3:05 PM


               



              Hi Thomas,

              This is treated I believe in one or two of Sorabji's Philosophy of the Commentators volumes:

              The Philosophy of the Commentators, 200-600 AD: Psychology (with ethics and religion)
              Volume 1 of The Philosophy of the Commentators, 200-600 AD
              Richard Sorabji (editor)
              Cornell University Press, 2005
              http://books. google.com/ books?id= GqFqAlrpNvgC

              The Philosophy of the Commentators, 200-600 AD: Logic and metaphysics
              Volume 3 of The Philosophy of the Commentators, 200-600 AD
              Richard Sorabji (editor)
              Cornell University Press, 2005
              http://books. google.com/ books?id= s6W-WeLvMh8C

              Hope this helps.

              John Uebersax

              --- On Thu, 1/14/10, Thomas Mether <t_mether@yahoo. com> wrote:

              I'm researching the metaphysical  question of individuation and personal identity. I know the medieval primary sources and secondary sources pretty well. I also know where to look in the primary sources for the neo-platonists. I am wondering if there are some secondary sources on the individuation question in the neo-platonists that some would recommend.











              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Goya
              ... The most relevant ancient philosopheme I can think of is the Stoic paradox : Theon and Dion are identical, except that Theon has two legs and Dion one.
              Message 6 of 13 , Jan 16, 2010
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                > Hello Christoph,
                > Thank you for the recommendation. What prompted me to visit or re-visit
                > the issue is a student of my did a paper on Aquinas' theory of
                > individuation and clones. She asked me if any ancient theory could address
                > why clones would be different individuals. Good question.

                The most relevant ancient philosopheme I can think of is the Stoic
                paradox : Theon and Dion are identical, except that Theon has two legs and
                Dion one. What happens, the paradox goes, if Theon loses a leg?

                See, for instance, Eric Lewis, The stoics on identity and individuation,
                Phronesis 40. 1 1995, 89-108 ; David Sedley, The Stoic criterion of
                identity, Phronesis 27.3, 1982, 255-275; Paul Kalligas, Basil of Caesarea
                on the semantics of proper names, in K. Ieradiakonou, ed., Byzantine
                philosophy and its ancient sources, Oxford 2002, 31-48; R. Sorabji, Self :
                ancient and modern insights abut individuality, life, and death, Oxford
                2006, ch. 4, etc., etc.

                HTH, Mike
                >
                >

                Michael Chase
                CNRS UPR 76
                Paris-Villejuif
                France
              • Thomas Mether
                Thanks Michael, In the process, I ran across two interesting discussions of individuation although they are not directly related to ancient neoplatonism. The
                Message 7 of 13 , Jan 22, 2010
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                  Thanks Michael,
                  In the process, I ran across two interesting discussions of individuation although they are not directly related to ancient neoplatonism. The first is a modern interpretation and defense of the Scotus haecceity solution that appears quite rigorous. It is Gary Rosenkrantz's Haecceity: An Ontological Essay. Philosophical Studies Series 57. Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1993.
                   
                  The other is Ibn Sina's theory. It has some aspects that seem connect the metaphysical question of individuation with the different concept of Jungian indivduation. In this , I'm drawing from Michael Marmura's parallel Arabic-English translation, Avicenna The Metaphysics of the Healing. Islamic Translation Series, Brigham Young, 2005 and L.E. Goodman's Avicenna. Routledge, 1992. As I read these two works, Ibn Sina seems to have minimal and maximal criteria for complete individuation. The minimal criterion is a self-conscious soul aware of its own identity. But this is only a proximate potential (Goodman, p. 127) for the maximal criterion to develop. The maximal criterion is a developmental and unique character-forming history in relation to the common characteristics of human life that forms a unique fully developed self. To fulfill this maximal condition, temporary embodiment in a physical body in this world is necessary for our souls to complete
                  their individuation through an inner alchemy (Goodman, pp. 127-128).
                  According to Marmura, such a process is related to Ibn Sina's "visionary recital" cycle.
                   
                  I have the K. Ieradiakonou book. Thanks, Michael.
                   
                   
                   
                   
                  --- On Sat, 1/16/10, Goya <goya@...> wrote:


                  From: Goya <goya@...>
                  Subject: Re: AW: [neoplatonism] Individuation
                  To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                  Date: Saturday, January 16, 2010, 4:35 PM


                   




                  > Hello Christoph,
                  > Thank you for the recommendation. What prompted me to visit or re-visit
                  > the issue is a student of my did a paper on Aquinas' theory of
                  > individuation and clones. She asked me if any ancient theory could address
                  > why clones would be different individuals. Good question.

                  The most relevant ancient philosopheme I can think of is the Stoic
                  paradox : Theon and Dion are identical, except that Theon has two legs and
                  Dion one. What happens, the paradox goes, if Theon loses a leg?

                  See, for instance, Eric Lewis, The stoics on identity and individuation,
                  Phronesis 40. 1 1995, 89-108 ; David Sedley, The Stoic criterion of
                  identity, Phronesis 27.3, 1982, 255-275; Paul Kalligas, Basil of Caesarea
                  on the semantics of proper names, in K. Ieradiakonou, ed., Byzantine
                  philosophy and its ancient sources, Oxford 2002, 31-48; R. Sorabji, Self :
                  ancient and modern insights abut individuality, life, and death, Oxford
                  2006, ch. 4, etc., etc.

                  HTH, Mike
                  >
                  >

                  Michael Chase
                  CNRS UPR 76
                  Paris-Villejuif
                  France











                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Adamson, Peter
                  Hello all, ... The other is Ibn Sina s theory. It has some aspects that seem connect the metaphysical question of individuation with the different concept of
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jan 22, 2010
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                    Hello all,

                    This looks like something I should comment on:

                    >>>
                    The other is Ibn Sina's theory. It has some aspects that seem connect the metaphysical question of individuation with the different concept of Jungian indivduation. In this , I'm drawing from Michael Marmura's parallel Arabic-English translation, Avicenna The Metaphysics of the Healing. Islamic Translation Series, Brigham Young, 2005 and L.E. Goodman's Avicenna. Routledge, 1992. As I read these two works, Ibn Sina seems to have minimal and maximal criteria for complete individuation. The minimal criterion is a self-conscious soul aware of its own identity. But this is only a proximate potential (Goodman, p. 127) for the maximal criterion to develop. The maximal criterion is a developmental and unique character-forming history in relation to the common characteristics of human life that forms a unique fully developed self. To fulfill this maximal condition, temporary embodiment in a physical body in this world is necessary for our souls to complete their individuation through an inner alchemy (Goodman, pp. 127-128).
                    >>>

                    My understanding of Avicenna's position is as follows. Only the rational soul survives the death of the body (this part isn't controversial, it's clearly his view). So in the first instance individuation is secured by the mental "contents" of each soul -- i.e. the range of intelligibles they've grasped. Your soul understands the intelligible *frog*, mine doesn't, which shows that we have distinct souls. The difficulty that arises is, what happens when two souls have grasped the exact same intelligibles? Perhaps this never happens, but if it did I'm not sure that Avicenna has a good story about what would individuate. As it says above, Avicenna does lay a lot of stress on self-awareness, in both the famous "flying man" argument and elsewhere. Whether this is supposed to individuate is not so clear -- nor is it clear to me how it could do so, even if we assume that Avicenna thinks it would. Apparently self-awareness, e.g. in the flying man case, is just my awareness that "I exist". It looks to me like this presupposes that I am an individuated thing. In other words, individuation makes self-awareness possible, not vice-versa.

                    Avicenna does sometimes talk about certain things "adhering" to the rational soul from its bodily life, though he seems to use this more to account for threats of punishment in the afterlife than for individuation. Basically the idea seems to be that someone with a life of physical desire and passion will be tormented by desire in the afterlife. But how he can say this, when he thinks that only the rational soul survives, is a mystery to me.

                    For further reading on this, see:

                    T.-A. Druart, “The Human Soul’s Individuation and its Survival After the Body’s Death: Avicenna on the Causal Relation Between Body and Soul,” Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 10 (2000), 259-273.

                    And I also take the liberty of referring to:

                    “Correcting Plotinus: Soul’s Relationship to Body in Avicenna’s Commentary on the Theology of Aristotle”, in P. Adamson, H. Baltussen and M.W.F. Stone (eds), Philosophy, Science and Exegesis in Greek, Arabic and Latin Commentaries (see above), vol. 2, 59-75.

                    Best,
                    Peter
                  • Thomas Mether
                    Hello Peter,   I would appreciate your comments about the following. They are quotes on the issue of self consciousness as the principle of individuation
                    Message 9 of 13 , Feb 8, 2010
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                      Hello Peter,
                       
                      I would appreciate your comments about the following. They are quotes on the issue of self consciousness as the principle of individuation from Lenn Goodman's book titled Avicenna.
                       
                      "What Avincenna's arguments for the substantiality of the soul portend...is that...the peculiar nature of slef-consciousness is that it is self-constituting....It is unique, non-transferrable, indivisible, non-combinable...It can readily put anything before itself as an object, but is present only to itself as a subject." (p 162)
                       
                      Plus, from an earlier discussion in the book on monopsychism, unity of the active intellect, and individuation,
                       
                      "Ibn Sina...stands by the discreteness of disembodied souls as a corollary of their very consciousness. Each mind is conscious of its own discreteness, and that is the basis of its self-identity and distinctness from all other things. This Avicennan appeal to self-consciousness as the foundation of identity will become the basis of al-Ghazali's own response to the threat of monopsychism...He will argue that...our discrete identities are defined by a consciousness which is indissolubly distinct between your subjecthood and mine." (ibid. pp 128-29)
                       
                      Professor Goodman then cites as supporting articles "The Afterlife" in Arberry's (ed.) Avicenna on Theology andM. Marmura's "Ghazali and the Avicennan Proof from Personal Identity for an Immaterial Self" in A Straight Path: Studies in Honor of Arthur Hyman (Washington: Catholic University Press, 1988)
                       
                      Now, Professor Goodman elaborates on this view when he picks up what I described as the more "Jungian" concept of individuation as part of Ibn Sina's view of individuation. Besides self-consciousness of their own identity as metaphysically constituting their identities, personal history further individuates persons/souls who have autobiographical knowledge of themselves, thus,
                       
                      "Their distinct histories give them an individuality that they can never shed. Even when disembodied, an Avicennan soul retains consciouness and the individuality of its history."(ibid. p 128)
                       
                      And he adds in a footnote,
                       
                      "Therese Druart asks...whether...two men would be one if their knowledge were identical. But in the Avicennan theory of individual identity...even if two men had the same histories..., they would be two and not one; their minds would be distinct."(ibid.)
                       
                      Sorry for the delay in replying; beginning of semester plus I had to locate my copy of the Goodman book.
                       
                      Best,
                      Thomas
                       

                       
                       
                       

                      --- On Fri, 1/22/10, Adamson, Peter <peter.adamson@...> wrote:


                      From: Adamson, Peter <peter.adamson@...>
                      Subject: RE: AW: [neoplatonism] Individuation
                      To: "neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com" <neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com>
                      Date: Friday, January 22, 2010, 10:57 AM


                      Hello all,

                      This looks like something I should comment on:

                      >>>
                      The other is Ibn Sina's theory. It has some aspects that seem connect the metaphysical question of individuation with the different concept of Jungian indivduation. In this , I'm drawing from Michael Marmura's parallel Arabic-English translation, Avicenna The Metaphysics of the Healing. Islamic Translation Series, Brigham Young, 2005 and L.E. Goodman's Avicenna. Routledge, 1992. As I read these two works, Ibn Sina seems to have minimal and maximal criteria for complete individuation. The minimal criterion is a self-conscious soul aware of its own identity. But this is only a proximate potential (Goodman, p. 127) for the maximal criterion to develop. The maximal criterion is a developmental and unique character-forming history in relation to the common characteristics of human life that forms a unique fully developed self. To fulfill this maximal condition, temporary embodiment in a physical body in this world is necessary for our souls to complete their
                      individuation through an inner alchemy (Goodman, pp. 127-128).
                      >>>

                      My understanding of Avicenna's position is as follows. Only the rational soul survives the death of the body (this part isn't controversial, it's clearly his view). So in the first instance individuation is secured by the mental "contents" of each soul -- i.e. the range of intelligibles they've grasped. Your soul understands the intelligible *frog*, mine doesn't, which shows that we have distinct souls. The difficulty that arises is, what happens when two souls have grasped the exact same intelligibles? Perhaps this never happens, but if it did I'm not sure that Avicenna has a good story about what would individuate. As it says above, Avicenna does lay a lot of stress on self-awareness, in both the famous "flying man" argument and elsewhere. Whether this is supposed to individuate is not so clear -- nor is it clear to me how it could do so, even if we assume that Avicenna thinks it would. Apparently self-awareness, e.g. in the flying man case, is just my
                      awareness that "I exist". It looks to me like this presupposes that I am an individuated thing. In other words, individuation makes self-awareness possible, not vice-versa.

                      Avicenna does sometimes talk about certain things "adhering" to the rational soul from its bodily life, though he seems to use this more to account for threats of punishment in the afterlife than for individuation. Basically the idea seems to be that someone with a life of physical desire and passion will be tormented by desire in the afterlife. But how he can say this, when he thinks that only the rational soul survives, is a mystery to me.

                      For further reading on this, see:

                      T.-A. Druart, “The Human Soul’s Individuation and its Survival After the Body’s Death: Avicenna on the Causal Relation Between Body and Soul,” Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 10 (2000), 259-273.

                      And I also take the liberty of referring to:

                      “Correcting Plotinus: Soul’s Relationship to Body in Avicenna’s Commentary on the Theology of Aristotle”, in P. Adamson, H. Baltussen and M.W.F. Stone (eds), Philosophy, Science and Exegesis in Greek, Arabic and Latin Commentaries (see above), vol. 2, 59-75.

                      Best,
                      Peter

                      ------------------------------------

                      Yahoo! Groups Links








                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Adamson, Peter
                      Dear Thomas, Right, what Prof Goodman is pushing here is the idea that self-awareness, as proven in the Flying Man argument, is according to Avicenna
                      Message 10 of 13 , Feb 8, 2010
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                        Dear Thomas,

                        Right, what Prof Goodman is pushing here is the idea that self-awareness, as proven in the Flying Man argument, is according to Avicenna sufficient to individuate each soul. It certainly seems right that Avicenna wants self-awareness to be fundamental in his psychology, not least in his epistemology. There has been some more work done on this recently, e.g. Deborah Black, “Avicenna on Self-Awareness And Knowing that One Knows.” In S. Rahman, T. Hassan, T. Street, eds., The Unity of Science in the Arabic Tradition, pp. 63–87. Dordrecht: Springer Science, 2008. This is a topic I know that Prof Black has been working on quite a bit. A Finnish scholar named Jari Kaukua has also worked on this in the past couple of years; his PhD thesis came out as a book but that might be hard to get hold of.

                        Anyway, I think there are two issues, both of which are difficult: (1) did Avicenna really think that self-awareness provides individuation? (2) is this a plausible view? What I said in my earlier email is that the answer to (2) in my opinion is "no," because it's hard to see how one could become aware of one's self unless it were already individuated. That is to say, it looks to me like individuation explains the possibility of self-awareness, not the other way around. Of course once one is individuated one might have a direct awareness that gives one access to one's individual self, but that doesn't ground individuation any more than my seeing a red barn grounds the barn's redness.

                        Furthermore there are many passages in Avicenna's Shifâ' that say explicitly that matter is needed as a principle of individuation -- for instance at one point he argues that reincarnation is absurd because if a preexisting soul entered into a new body, there would be TWO souls in one body: the preexisting sould and the soul that would automatically arise from the suitably prepared matter.

                        So, I at least suspect that Avicenna's view is this: when matter is suitably prepared, a soul comes to it (thanks to the Agent Intellect); once this has happened, the soul (at least if it's a human soul) will have a fundamental self-awareness that underlies all subsequent perception and thought.


                        Hope that helps,
                        Peter


                        peter.adamson@...

                        Philosophy Dept.
                        King's College London
                        Strand
                        London WC2R 2LS
                        UK
                        ________________________________________
                        From: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com [neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Thomas Mether [t_mether@...]
                        Sent: Monday, February 08, 2010 3:44 PM
                        To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: RE: AW: [neoplatonism] Individuation

                        Hello Peter,

                        I would appreciate your comments about the following. They are quotes on the issue of self consciousness as the principle of individuation from Lenn Goodman's book titled Avicenna.

                        "What Avincenna's arguments for the substantiality of the soul portend...is that...the peculiar nature of slef-consciousness is that it is self-constituting....It is unique, non-transferrable, indivisible, non-combinable...It can readily put anything before itself as an object, but is present only to itself as a subject." (p 162)

                        Plus, from an earlier discussion in the book on monopsychism, unity of the active intellect, and individuation,

                        "Ibn Sina...stands by the discreteness of disembodied souls as a corollary of their very consciousness. Each mind is conscious of its own discreteness, and that is the basis of its self-identity and distinctness from all other things. This Avicennan appeal to self-consciousness as the foundation of identity will become the basis of al-Ghazali's own response to the threat of monopsychism...He will argue that...our discrete identities are defined by a consciousness which is indissolubly distinct between your subjecthood and mine." (ibid. pp 128-29)

                        Professor Goodman then cites as supporting articles "The Afterlife" in Arberry's (ed.) Avicenna on Theology andM. Marmura's "Ghazali and the Avicennan Proof from Personal Identity for an Immaterial Self" in A Straight Path: Studies in Honor of Arthur Hyman (Washington: Catholic University Press, 1988)

                        Now, Professor Goodman elaborates on this view when he picks up what I described as the more "Jungian" concept of individuation as part of Ibn Sina's view of individuation. Besides self-consciousness of their own identity as metaphysically constituting their identities, personal history further individuates persons/souls who have autobiographical knowledge of themselves, thus,

                        "Their distinct histories give them an individuality that they can never shed. Even when disembodied, an Avicennan soul retains consciouness and the individuality of its history."(ibid. p 128)

                        And he adds in a footnote,

                        "Therese Druart asks...whether...two men would be one if their knowledge were identical. But in the Avicennan theory of individual identity...even if two men had the same histories..., they would be two and not one; their minds would be distinct."(ibid.)

                        Sorry for the delay in replying; beginning of semester plus I had to locate my copy of the Goodman book.

                        Best,
                        Thomas

                        "




                        --- On Fri, 1/22/10, Adamson, Peter <peter.adamson@...<mailto:peter.adamson%40kcl.ac.uk>> wrote:

                        From: Adamson, Peter <peter.adamson@...<mailto:peter.adamson%40kcl.ac.uk>>
                        Subject: RE: AW: [neoplatonism] Individuation
                        To: "neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com<mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>" <neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com<mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>>
                        Date: Friday, January 22, 2010, 10:57 AM

                        Hello all,

                        This looks like something I should comment on:

                        >>>
                        The other is Ibn Sina's theory. It has some aspects that seem connect the metaphysical question of individuation with the different concept of Jungian indivduation. In this , I'm drawing from Michael Marmura's parallel Arabic-English translation, Avicenna The Metaphysics of the Healing. Islamic Translation Series, Brigham Young, 2005 and L.E. Goodman's Avicenna. Routledge, 1992. As I read these two works, Ibn Sina seems to have minimal and maximal criteria for complete individuation. The minimal criterion is a self-conscious soul aware of its own identity. But this is only a proximate potential (Goodman, p. 127) for the maximal criterion to develop. The maximal criterion is a developmental and unique character-forming history in relation to the common characteristics of human life that forms a unique fully developed self. To fulfill this maximal condition, temporary embodiment in a physical body in this world is necessary for our souls to complete their
                        individuation through an inner alchemy (Goodman, pp. 127-128).
                        >>>

                        My understanding of Avicenna's position is as follows. Only the rational soul survives the death of the body (this part isn't controversial, it's clearly his view). So in the first instance individuation is secured by the mental "contents" of each soul -- i.e. the range of intelligibles they've grasped. Your soul understands the intelligible *frog*, mine doesn't, which shows that we have distinct souls. The difficulty that arises is, what happens when two souls have grasped the exact same intelligibles? Perhaps this never happens, but if it did I'm not sure that Avicenna has a good story about what would individuate. As it says above, Avicenna does lay a lot of stress on self-awareness, in both the famous "flying man" argument and elsewhere. Whether this is supposed to individuate is not so clear -- nor is it clear to me how it could do so, even if we assume that Avicenna thinks it would. Apparently self-awareness, e.g. in the flying man case, is just my
                        awareness that "I exist". It looks to me like this presupposes that I am an individuated thing. In other words, individuation makes self-awareness possible, not vice-versa.

                        Avicenna does sometimes talk about certain things "adhering" to the rational soul from its bodily life, though he seems to use this more to account for threats of punishment in the afterlife than for individuation. Basically the idea seems to be that someone with a life of physical desire and passion will be tormented by desire in the afterlife. But how he can say this, when he thinks that only the rational soul survives, is a mystery to me.

                        For further reading on this, see:

                        T.-A. Druart, “The Human Soul’s Individuation and its Survival After the Body’s Death: Avicenna on the Causal Relation Between Body and Soul,” Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 10 (2000), 259-273.

                        And I also take the liberty of referring to:

                        “Correcting Plotinus: Soul’s Relationship to Body in Avicenna’s Commentary on the Theology of Aristotle”, in P. Adamson, H. Baltussen and M.W.F. Stone (eds), Philosophy, Science and Exegesis in Greek, Arabic and Latin Commentaries (see above), vol. 2, 59-75.

                        Best,
                        Peter

                        ------------------------------------

                        Yahoo! Groups Links

                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Thomas Mether
                        Dear Peter, Thank you for your comments and additional sources. As it happens, tomorrow is my birthday. My wife asked me what I wanted. I gave her a book list
                        Message 11 of 13 , Feb 8, 2010
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Dear Peter,
                          Thank you for your comments and additional sources. As it happens, tomorrow is my birthday. My wife asked me what I wanted. I gave her a book list today, including the titles below. She said, "okay." Then she asked if that was all I wanted. I gather from her question (married 30 years) that my birthday is an occasion for her also. Maybe she feels wives deserve a little something upon their husband's birthdays for putting up with them all these years.
                          Thanks again, I may have more questions about matter and individuation in Ibn Sina.
                          Best, Thomas

                          --- On Mon, 2/8/10, Adamson, Peter <peter.adamson@...> wrote:


                          From: Adamson, Peter <peter.adamson@...>
                          Subject: RE: AW: [neoplatonism] Individuation
                          To: "neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com" <neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com>
                          Date: Monday, February 8, 2010, 10:56 AM


                          Dear Thomas,

                          Right, what Prof Goodman is pushing here is the idea that self-awareness, as proven in the Flying Man argument, is according to Avicenna sufficient to individuate each soul. It certainly seems right that Avicenna wants self-awareness to be fundamental in his psychology, not least in his epistemology. There has been some more work done on this recently, e.g. Deborah Black, “Avicenna on Self-Awareness And Knowing that One Knows.” In S. Rahman, T. Hassan, T. Street, eds., The Unity of Science in the Arabic Tradition, pp. 63–87. Dordrecht: Springer Science, 2008. This is a topic I know that Prof Black has been working on quite a bit. A Finnish scholar named Jari Kaukua has also worked on this in the past couple of years; his PhD thesis came out as a book but that might be hard to get hold of.

                          Anyway, I think there are two issues, both of which are difficult: (1) did Avicenna really think that self-awareness provides individuation? (2) is this a plausible view? What I said in my earlier email is that the answer to (2) in my opinion is "no," because it's hard to see how one could become aware of one's self unless it were already individuated. That is to say, it looks to me like individuation explains the possibility of self-awareness, not the other way around. Of course once one is individuated one might have a direct awareness that gives one access to one's individual self, but that doesn't ground individuation any more than my seeing a red barn grounds the barn's redness.

                          Furthermore there are many passages in Avicenna's Shifâ' that say explicitly that matter is needed as a principle of individuation -- for instance at one point he argues that reincarnation is absurd because if a preexisting soul entered into a new body, there would be TWO souls in one body: the preexisting sould and the soul that would automatically arise from the suitably prepared matter.

                          So, I at least suspect that Avicenna's view is this: when matter is suitably prepared, a soul comes to it (thanks to the Agent Intellect); once this has happened, the soul (at least if it's a human soul) will have a fundamental self-awareness that underlies all subsequent perception and thought.


                          Hope that helps,
                          Peter


                          peter.adamson@...

                          Philosophy Dept.
                          King's College London
                          Strand
                          London WC2R 2LS
                          UK
                          ________________________________________
                          From: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com [neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Thomas Mether [t_mether@...]
                          Sent: Monday, February 08, 2010 3:44 PM
                          To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: RE: AW: [neoplatonism] Individuation

                          Hello Peter,

                          I would appreciate your comments about the following. They are quotes on the issue of self consciousness as the principle of individuation from Lenn Goodman's book titled Avicenna.

                          "What Avincenna's arguments for the substantiality of the soul portend...is that...the peculiar nature of slef-consciousness is that it is self-constituting....It is unique, non-transferrable, indivisible, non-combinable...It can readily put anything before itself as an object, but is present only to itself as a subject." (p 162)

                          Plus, from an earlier discussion in the book on monopsychism, unity of the active intellect, and individuation,

                          "Ibn Sina...stands by the discreteness of disembodied souls as a corollary of their very consciousness. Each mind is conscious of its own discreteness, and that is the basis of its self-identity and distinctness from all other things. This Avicennan appeal to self-consciousness as the foundation of identity will become the basis of al-Ghazali's own response to the threat of monopsychism...He will argue that...our discrete identities are defined by a consciousness which is indissolubly distinct between your subjecthood and mine." (ibid. pp 128-29)

                          Professor Goodman then cites as supporting articles "The Afterlife" in Arberry's (ed.) Avicenna on Theology andM. Marmura's "Ghazali and the Avicennan Proof from Personal Identity for an Immaterial Self" in A Straight Path: Studies in Honor of Arthur Hyman (Washington: Catholic University Press, 1988)

                          Now, Professor Goodman elaborates on this view when he picks up what I described as the more "Jungian" concept of individuation as part of Ibn Sina's view of individuation. Besides self-consciousness of their own identity as metaphysically constituting their identities, personal history further individuates persons/souls who have autobiographical knowledge of themselves, thus,

                          "Their distinct histories give them an individuality that they can never shed. Even when disembodied, an Avicennan soul retains consciouness and the individuality of its history."(ibid. p 128)

                          And he adds in a footnote,

                          "Therese Druart asks...whether...two men would be one if their knowledge were identical. But in the Avicennan theory of individual identity...even if two men had the same histories..., they would be two and not one; their minds would be distinct."(ibid.)

                          Sorry for the delay in replying; beginning of semester plus I had to locate my copy of the Goodman book.

                          Best,
                          Thomas

                          "




                          --- On Fri, 1/22/10, Adamson, Peter <peter.adamson@...<mailto:peter.adamson%40kcl.ac.uk>> wrote:

                          From: Adamson, Peter <peter.adamson@...<mailto:peter.adamson%40kcl.ac.uk>>
                          Subject: RE: AW: [neoplatonism] Individuation
                          To: "neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com<mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>" <neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com<mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>>
                          Date: Friday, January 22, 2010, 10:57 AM

                          Hello all,

                          This looks like something I should comment on:

                          >>>
                          The other is Ibn Sina's theory. It has some aspects that seem connect the metaphysical question of individuation with the different concept of Jungian indivduation. In this , I'm drawing from Michael Marmura's parallel Arabic-English translation, Avicenna The Metaphysics of the Healing. Islamic Translation Series, Brigham Young, 2005 and L.E. Goodman's Avicenna. Routledge, 1992. As I read these two works, Ibn Sina seems to have minimal and maximal criteria for complete individuation. The minimal criterion is a self-conscious soul aware of its own identity. But this is only a proximate potential (Goodman, p. 127) for the maximal criterion to develop. The maximal criterion is a developmental and unique character-forming history in relation to the common characteristics of human life that forms a unique fully developed self. To fulfill this maximal condition, temporary embodiment in a physical body in this world is necessary for our souls to complete their
                          individuation through an inner alchemy (Goodman, pp. 127-128).
                          >>>

                          My understanding of Avicenna's position is as follows. Only the rational soul survives the death of the body (this part isn't controversial, it's clearly his view). So in the first instance individuation is secured by the mental "contents" of each soul -- i.e. the range of intelligibles they've grasped. Your soul understands the intelligible *frog*, mine doesn't, which shows that we have distinct souls. The difficulty that arises is, what happens when two souls have grasped the exact same intelligibles? Perhaps this never happens, but if it did I'm not sure that Avicenna has a good story about what would individuate. As it says above, Avicenna does lay a lot of stress on self-awareness, in both the famous "flying man" argument and elsewhere. Whether this is supposed to individuate is not so clear -- nor is it clear to me how it could do so, even if we assume that Avicenna thinks it would. Apparently self-awareness, e.g. in the flying man case, is just my
                          awareness that "I exist". It looks to me like this presupposes that I am an individuated thing. In other words, individuation makes self-awareness possible, not vice-versa.

                          Avicenna does sometimes talk about certain things "adhering" to the rational soul from its bodily life, though he seems to use this more to account for threats of punishment in the afterlife than for individuation. Basically the idea seems to be that someone with a life of physical desire and passion will be tormented by desire in the afterlife. But how he can say this, when he thinks that only the rational soul survives, is a mystery to me.

                          For further reading on this, see:

                          T.-A. Druart, “The Human Soul’s Individuation and its Survival After the Body’s Death: Avicenna on the Causal Relation Between Body and Soul,” Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 10 (2000), 259-273.

                          And I also take the liberty of referring to:

                          “Correcting Plotinus: Soul’s Relationship to Body in Avicenna’s Commentary on the Theology of Aristotle”, in P. Adamson, H. Baltussen and M.W.F. Stone (eds), Philosophy, Science and Exegesis in Greek, Arabic and Latin Commentaries (see above), vol. 2, 59-75.

                          Best,
                          Peter

                          ------------------------------------

                          Yahoo! Groups Links

                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                          ------------------------------------

                          Yahoo! Groups Links








                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Goya
                          ... Dear Thomas, I hope your wife will forgive me if I contribute another title to your list, the best book I have read on Avicenna : Jean (Yahya) Michot s La
                          Message 12 of 13 , Feb 9, 2010
                          • 0 Attachment
                            > Dear Peter,
                            > Thank you for your comments and additional sources. As it happens,
                            > tomorrow is my birthday. My wife asked me what I wanted. I gave her a book
                            > list today, including the titles below. She said, "okay." Then she asked
                            > if that was all I wanted. I gather from her question (married 30 years)
                            > that my birthday is an occasion for her also. Maybe she feels wives
                            > deserve a little something upon their husband's birthdays for putting up
                            > with them all these years.
                            > Thanks again, I may have more questions about matter and individuation in
                            > Ibn Sina.

                            Dear Thomas,

                            I hope your wife will forgive me if I contribute another title to your
                            list, the best book I have read on Avicenna : Jean (Yahya) Michot's La
                            destinee de l'homme selon Avicenne. Le retour a Dieu (ma’âd) et
                            l'imagination, Louvain : Peeters 1986. See particularly pp. 75 sqq. on
                            what the author calls Avicenna's theory of spiritual individuation.

                            Best, Mike



                            > Best, Thomas
                            >
                            > --- On Mon, 2/8/10, Adamson, Peter <peter.adamson@...> wrote:
                            >
                            >
                            > From: Adamson, Peter <peter.adamson@...>
                            > Subject: RE: AW: [neoplatonism] Individuation
                            > To: "neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com" <neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com>
                            > Date: Monday, February 8, 2010, 10:56 AM
                            >
                            >
                            > Dear Thomas,
                            >
                            > Right, what Prof Goodman is pushing here is the idea that self-awareness,
                            > as proven in the Flying Man argument, is according to Avicenna sufficient
                            > to individuate each soul. It certainly seems right that Avicenna wants
                            > self-awareness to be fundamental in his psychology, not least in his
                            > epistemology. There has been some more work done on this recently, e.g.
                            > Deborah Black, “Avicenna on Self-Awareness And Knowing that One
                            > Knows.” In S. Rahman, T. Hassan, T. Street, eds., The Unity of Science
                            > in the Arabic Tradition, pp. 63–87. Dordrecht: Springer Science, 2008.
                            > This is a topic I know that Prof Black has been working on quite a bit. A
                            > Finnish scholar named Jari Kaukua has also worked on this in the past
                            > couple of years; his PhD thesis came out as a book but that might be hard
                            > to get hold of.
                            >
                            > Anyway, I think there are two issues, both of which are difficult: (1) did
                            > Avicenna really think that self-awareness provides individuation? (2) is
                            > this a plausible view? What I said in my earlier email is that the answer
                            > to (2) in my opinion is "no," because it's hard to see how one could
                            > become aware of one's self unless it were already individuated. That is to
                            > say, it looks to me like individuation explains the possibility of
                            > self-awareness, not the other way around. Of course once one is
                            > individuated one might have a direct awareness that gives one access to
                            > one's individual self, but that doesn't ground individuation any more than
                            > my seeing a red barn grounds the barn's redness.
                            >
                            > Furthermore there are many passages in Avicenna's Shifâ' that say
                            > explicitly that matter is needed as a principle of individuation -- for
                            > instance at one point he argues that reincarnation is absurd because if a
                            > preexisting soul entered into a new body, there would be TWO souls in one
                            > body: the preexisting sould and the soul that would automatically arise
                            > from the suitably prepared matter.
                            >
                            > So, I at least suspect that Avicenna's view is this: when matter is
                            > suitably prepared, a soul comes to it (thanks to the Agent Intellect);
                            > once this has happened, the soul (at least if it's a human soul) will have
                            > a fundamental self-awareness that underlies all subsequent perception and
                            > thought.
                            >
                            >
                            > Hope that helps,
                            > Peter
                            >
                            >
                            > peter.adamson@...
                            >
                            > Philosophy Dept.
                            > King's College London
                            > Strand
                            > London WC2R 2LS
                            > UK
                            > ________________________________________
                            > From: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com [neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com] On
                            > Behalf Of Thomas Mether [t_mether@...]
                            > Sent: Monday, February 08, 2010 3:44 PM
                            > To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                            > Subject: RE: AW: [neoplatonism] Individuation
                            >
                            > Hello Peter,
                            >
                            > I would appreciate your comments about the following. They are quotes on
                            > the issue of self consciousness as the principle of individuation from
                            > Lenn Goodman's book titled Avicenna.
                            >
                            > "What Avincenna's arguments for the substantiality of the soul
                            > portend...is that...the peculiar nature of slef-consciousness is that it
                            > is self-constituting....It is unique, non-transferrable, indivisible,
                            > non-combinable...It can readily put anything before itself as an object,
                            > but is present only to itself as a subject." (p 162)
                            >
                            > Plus, from an earlier discussion in the book on monopsychism, unity of the
                            > active intellect, and individuation,
                            >
                            > "Ibn Sina...stands by the discreteness of disembodied souls as a corollary
                            > of their very consciousness. Each mind is conscious of its own
                            > discreteness, and that is the basis of its self-identity and distinctness
                            > from all other things. This Avicennan appeal to self-consciousness as the
                            > foundation of identity will become the basis of al-Ghazali's own response
                            > to the threat of monopsychism...He will argue that...our discrete
                            > identities are defined by a consciousness which is indissolubly distinct
                            > between your subjecthood and mine." (ibid. pp 128-29)
                            >
                            > Professor Goodman then cites as supporting articles "The Afterlife" in
                            > Arberry's (ed.) Avicenna on Theology andM. Marmura's "Ghazali and the
                            > Avicennan Proof from Personal Identity for an Immaterial Self" in A
                            > Straight Path: Studies in Honor of Arthur Hyman (Washington: Catholic
                            > University Press, 1988)
                            >
                            > Now, Professor Goodman elaborates on this view when he picks up what I
                            > described as the more "Jungian" concept of individuation as part of Ibn
                            > Sina's view of individuation. Besides self-consciousness of their own
                            > identity as metaphysically constituting their identities, personal history
                            > further individuates persons/souls who have autobiographical knowledge of
                            > themselves, thus,
                            >
                            > "Their distinct histories give them an individuality that they can never
                            > shed. Even when disembodied, an Avicennan soul retains consciouness and
                            > the individuality of its history."(ibid. p 128)
                            >
                            > And he adds in a footnote,
                            >
                            > "Therese Druart asks...whether...two men would be one if their knowledge
                            > were identical. But in the Avicennan theory of individual identity...even
                            > if two men had the same histories..., they would be two and not one; their
                            > minds would be distinct."(ibid.)
                            >
                            > Sorry for the delay in replying; beginning of semester plus I had to
                            > locate my copy of the Goodman book.
                            >
                            > Best,
                            > Thomas
                            >
                            > "
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > --- On Fri, 1/22/10, Adamson, Peter
                            > <peter.adamson@...<mailto:peter.adamson%40kcl.ac.uk>> wrote:
                            >
                            > From: Adamson, Peter
                            > <peter.adamson@...<mailto:peter.adamson%40kcl.ac.uk>>
                            > Subject: RE: AW: [neoplatonism] Individuation
                            > To: "neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com<mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>"
                            > <neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com<mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>>
                            > Date: Friday, January 22, 2010, 10:57 AM
                            >
                            > Hello all,
                            >
                            > This looks like something I should comment on:
                            >
                            >>>>
                            > The other is Ibn Sina's theory. It has some aspects that seem connect the
                            > metaphysical question of individuation with the different concept of
                            > Jungian indivduation. In this , I'm drawing from Michael Marmura's
                            > parallel Arabic-English translation, Avicenna The Metaphysics of the
                            > Healing. Islamic Translation Series, Brigham Young, 2005 and L.E.
                            > Goodman's Avicenna. Routledge, 1992. As I read these two works, Ibn Sina
                            > seems to have minimal and maximal criteria for complete individuation. The
                            > minimal criterion is a self-conscious soul aware of its own identity. But
                            > this is only a proximate potential (Goodman, p. 127) for the maximal
                            > criterion to develop. The maximal criterion is a developmental and unique
                            > character-forming history in relation to the common characteristics of
                            > human life that forms a unique fully developed self. To fulfill this
                            > maximal condition, temporary embodiment in a physical body in this world
                            > is necessary for our souls to complete their
                            > individuation through an inner alchemy (Goodman, pp. 127-128).
                            >>>>
                            >
                            > My understanding of Avicenna's position is as follows. Only the rational
                            > soul survives the death of the body (this part isn't controversial, it's
                            > clearly his view). So in the first instance individuation is secured by
                            > the mental "contents" of each soul -- i.e. the range of intelligibles
                            > they've grasped. Your soul understands the intelligible *frog*, mine
                            > doesn't, which shows that we have distinct souls. The difficulty that
                            > arises is, what happens when two souls have grasped the exact same
                            > intelligibles? Perhaps this never happens, but if it did I'm not sure that
                            > Avicenna has a good story about what would individuate. As it says above,
                            > Avicenna does lay a lot of stress on self-awareness, in both the famous
                            > "flying man" argument and elsewhere. Whether this is supposed to
                            > individuate is not so clear -- nor is it clear to me how it could do so,
                            > even if we assume that Avicenna thinks it would. Apparently
                            > self-awareness, e.g. in the flying man case, is just my
                            > awareness that "I exist". It looks to me like this presupposes that I am
                            > an individuated thing. In other words, individuation makes self-awareness
                            > possible, not vice-versa.
                            >
                            > Avicenna does sometimes talk about certain things "adhering" to the
                            > rational soul from its bodily life, though he seems to use this more to
                            > account for threats of punishment in the afterlife than for individuation.
                            > Basically the idea seems to be that someone with a life of physical desire
                            > and passion will be tormented by desire in the afterlife. But how he can
                            > say this, when he thinks that only the rational soul survives, is a
                            > mystery to me.
                            >
                            > For further reading on this, see:
                            >
                            > T.-A. Druart, “The Human Soul’s Individuation and its Survival After
                            > the Body’s Death: Avicenna on the Causal Relation Between Body and
                            > Soul,” Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 10 (2000), 259-273.
                            >
                            > And I also take the liberty of referring to:
                            >
                            > “Correcting Plotinus: Soul’s Relationship to Body in Avicenna’s
                            > Commentary on the Theology of Aristotle”, in P. Adamson, H. Baltussen
                            > and M.W.F. Stone (eds), Philosophy, Science and Exegesis in Greek, Arabic
                            > and Latin Commentaries (see above), vol. 2, 59-75.
                            >
                            > Best,
                            > Peter
                            >
                            > ------------------------------------
                            >
                            > Yahoo! Groups Links
                            >
                            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > ------------------------------------
                            >
                            > Yahoo! Groups Links
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            >
                            >


                            Michael Chase
                            CNRS UPR 76
                            Paris-Villejuif
                            France
                          • Thomas Mether
                            Thanks Mike, I did add it (its my birthday all day today). Thomas ... From: Goya Subject: RE: AW: [neoplatonism] Individuation To:
                            Message 13 of 13 , Feb 9, 2010
                            • 0 Attachment
                              Thanks Mike, I did add it (its my birthday all day today). Thomas

                              --- On Tue, 2/9/10, Goya <goya@...> wrote:


                              From: Goya <goya@...>
                              Subject: RE: AW: [neoplatonism] Individuation
                              To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                              Date: Tuesday, February 9, 2010, 2:06 AM


                               




                              > Dear Peter,
                              > Thank you for your comments and additional sources. As it happens,
                              > tomorrow is my birthday. My wife asked me what I wanted. I gave her a book
                              > list today, including the titles below. She said, "okay." Then she asked
                              > if that was all I wanted. I gather from her question (married 30 years)
                              > that my birthday is an occasion for her also. Maybe she feels wives
                              > deserve a little something upon their husband's birthdays for putting up
                              > with them all these years.
                              > Thanks again, I may have more questions about matter and individuation in
                              > Ibn Sina.

                              Dear Thomas,

                              I hope your wife will forgive me if I contribute another title to your
                              list, the best book I have read on Avicenna : Jean (Yahya) Michot's La
                              destinee de l'homme selon Avicenne. Le retour a Dieu (ma’âd) et
                              l'imagination, Louvain : Peeters 1986. See particularly pp. 75 sqq. on
                              what the author calls Avicenna's theory of spiritual individuation.

                              Best, Mike

                              > Best, Thomas
                              >
                              > --- On Mon, 2/8/10, Adamson, Peter <peter.adamson@ kcl.ac.uk> wrote:
                              >
                              >
                              > From: Adamson, Peter <peter.adamson@ kcl.ac.uk>
                              > Subject: RE: AW: [neoplatonism] Individuation
                              > To: "neoplatonism@ yahoogroups. com" <neoplatonism@ yahoogroups. com>
                              > Date: Monday, February 8, 2010, 10:56 AM
                              >
                              >
                              > Dear Thomas,
                              >
                              > Right, what Prof Goodman is pushing here is the idea that self-awareness,
                              > as proven in the Flying Man argument, is according to Avicenna sufficient
                              > to individuate each soul. It certainly seems right that Avicenna wants
                              > self-awareness to be fundamental in his psychology, not least in his
                              > epistemology. There has been some more work done on this recently, e.g.
                              > Deborah Black, “Avicenna on Self-Awareness And Knowing that One
                              > Knows.� In S. Rahman, T. Hassan, T. Street, eds., The Unity of Science
                              > in the Arabic Tradition, pp. 63–87. Dordrecht: Springer Science, 2008.
                              > This is a topic I know that Prof Black has been working on quite a bit. A
                              > Finnish scholar named Jari Kaukua has also worked on this in the past
                              > couple of years; his PhD thesis came out as a book but that might be hard
                              > to get hold of.
                              >
                              > Anyway, I think there are two issues, both of which are difficult: (1) did
                              > Avicenna really think that self-awareness provides individuation? (2) is
                              > this a plausible view? What I said in my earlier email is that the answer
                              > to (2) in my opinion is "no," because it's hard to see how one could
                              > become aware of one's self unless it were already individuated. That is to
                              > say, it looks to me like individuation explains the possibility of
                              > self-awareness, not the other way around. Of course once one is
                              > individuated one might have a direct awareness that gives one access to
                              > one's individual self, but that doesn't ground individuation any more than
                              > my seeing a red barn grounds the barn's redness.
                              >
                              > Furthermore there are many passages in Avicenna's Shifâ' that say
                              > explicitly that matter is needed as a principle of individuation -- for
                              > instance at one point he argues that reincarnation is absurd because if a
                              > preexisting soul entered into a new body, there would be TWO souls in one
                              > body: the preexisting sould and the soul that would automatically arise
                              > from the suitably prepared matter.
                              >
                              > So, I at least suspect that Avicenna's view is this: when matter is
                              > suitably prepared, a soul comes to it (thanks to the Agent Intellect);
                              > once this has happened, the soul (at least if it's a human soul) will have
                              > a fundamental self-awareness that underlies all subsequent perception and
                              > thought.
                              >
                              >
                              > Hope that helps,
                              > Peter
                              >
                              >
                              > peter.adamson@ kcl.ac.uk
                              >
                              > Philosophy Dept.
                              > King's College London
                              > Strand
                              > London WC2R 2LS
                              > UK
                              > ____________ _________ _________ _________ _
                              > From: neoplatonism@ yahoogroups. com [neoplatonism@ yahoogroups. com] On
                              > Behalf Of Thomas Mether [t_mether@yahoo. com]
                              > Sent: Monday, February 08, 2010 3:44 PM
                              > To: neoplatonism@ yahoogroups. com
                              > Subject: RE: AW: [neoplatonism] Individuation
                              >
                              > Hello Peter,
                              >
                              > I would appreciate your comments about the following. They are quotes on
                              > the issue of self consciousness as the principle of individuation from
                              > Lenn Goodman's book titled Avicenna.
                              >
                              > "What Avincenna's arguments for the substantiality of the soul
                              > portend...is that...the peculiar nature of slef-consciousness is that it
                              > is self-constituting. ...It is unique, non-transferrable, indivisible,
                              > non-combinable. ..It can readily put anything before itself as an object,
                              > but is present only to itself as a subject." (p 162)
                              >
                              > Plus, from an earlier discussion in the book on monopsychism, unity of the
                              > active intellect, and individuation,
                              >
                              > "Ibn Sina...stands by the discreteness of disembodied souls as a corollary
                              > of their very consciousness. Each mind is conscious of its own
                              > discreteness, and that is the basis of its self-identity and distinctness
                              > from all other things. This Avicennan appeal to self-consciousness as the
                              > foundation of identity will become the basis of al-Ghazali's own response
                              > to the threat of monopsychism. ..He will argue that...our discrete
                              > identities are defined by a consciousness which is indissolubly distinct
                              > between your subjecthood and mine." (ibid. pp 128-29)
                              >
                              > Professor Goodman then cites as supporting articles "The Afterlife" in
                              > Arberry's (ed.) Avicenna on Theology andM. Marmura's "Ghazali and the
                              > Avicennan Proof from Personal Identity for an Immaterial Self" in A
                              > Straight Path: Studies in Honor of Arthur Hyman (Washington: Catholic
                              > University Press, 1988)
                              >
                              > Now, Professor Goodman elaborates on this view when he picks up what I
                              > described as the more "Jungian" concept of individuation as part of Ibn
                              > Sina's view of individuation. Besides self-consciousness of their own
                              > identity as metaphysically constituting their identities, personal history
                              > further individuates persons/souls who have autobiographical knowledge of
                              > themselves, thus,
                              >
                              > "Their distinct histories give them an individuality that they can never
                              > shed. Even when disembodied, an Avicennan soul retains consciouness and
                              > the individuality of its history."(ibid. p 128)
                              >
                              > And he adds in a footnote,
                              >
                              > "Therese Druart asks...whether. ..two men would be one if their knowledge
                              > were identical. But in the Avicennan theory of individual identity...even
                              > if two men had the same histories... , they would be two and not one; their
                              > minds would be distinct."(ibid. )
                              >
                              > Sorry for the delay in replying; beginning of semester plus I had to
                              > locate my copy of the Goodman book.
                              >
                              > Best,
                              > Thomas
                              >
                              > "
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > --- On Fri, 1/22/10, Adamson, Peter
                              > <peter.adamson@ kcl.ac.uk<mailto:peter. adamson%40kcl. ac.uk>> wrote:
                              >
                              > From: Adamson, Peter
                              > <peter.adamson@ kcl.ac.uk<mailto:peter. adamson%40kcl. ac.uk>>
                              > Subject: RE: AW: [neoplatonism] Individuation
                              > To: "neoplatonism@ yahoogroups. com<mailto:neoplatonis m%40yahoogroups. com>"
                              > <neoplatonism@ yahoogroups. com<mailto:neoplatonis m%40yahoogroups. com>>
                              > Date: Friday, January 22, 2010, 10:57 AM
                              >
                              > Hello all,
                              >
                              > This looks like something I should comment on:
                              >
                              >>>>
                              > The other is Ibn Sina's theory. It has some aspects that seem connect the
                              > metaphysical question of individuation with the different concept of
                              > Jungian indivduation. In this , I'm drawing from Michael Marmura's
                              > parallel Arabic-English translation, Avicenna The Metaphysics of the
                              > Healing. Islamic Translation Series, Brigham Young, 2005 and L.E.
                              > Goodman's Avicenna. Routledge, 1992. As I read these two works, Ibn Sina
                              > seems to have minimal and maximal criteria for complete individuation. The
                              > minimal criterion is a self-conscious soul aware of its own identity. But
                              > this is only a proximate potential (Goodman, p. 127) for the maximal
                              > criterion to develop. The maximal criterion is a developmental and unique
                              > character-forming history in relation to the common characteristics of
                              > human life that forms a unique fully developed self. To fulfill this
                              > maximal condition, temporary embodiment in a physical body in this world
                              > is necessary for our souls to complete their
                              > individuation through an inner alchemy (Goodman, pp. 127-128).
                              >>>>
                              >
                              > My understanding of Avicenna's position is as follows. Only the rational
                              > soul survives the death of the body (this part isn't controversial, it's
                              > clearly his view). So in the first instance individuation is secured by
                              > the mental "contents" of each soul -- i.e. the range of intelligibles
                              > they've grasped. Your soul understands the intelligible *frog*, mine
                              > doesn't, which shows that we have distinct souls. The difficulty that
                              > arises is, what happens when two souls have grasped the exact same
                              > intelligibles? Perhaps this never happens, but if it did I'm not sure that
                              > Avicenna has a good story about what would individuate. As it says above,
                              > Avicenna does lay a lot of stress on self-awareness, in both the famous
                              > "flying man" argument and elsewhere. Whether this is supposed to
                              > individuate is not so clear -- nor is it clear to me how it could do so,
                              > even if we assume that Avicenna thinks it would. Apparently
                              > self-awareness, e.g. in the flying man case, is just my
                              > awareness that "I exist". It looks to me like this presupposes that I am
                              > an individuated thing. In other words, individuation makes self-awareness
                              > possible, not vice-versa.
                              >
                              > Avicenna does sometimes talk about certain things "adhering" to the
                              > rational soul from its bodily life, though he seems to use this more to
                              > account for threats of punishment in the afterlife than for individuation.
                              > Basically the idea seems to be that someone with a life of physical desire
                              > and passion will be tormented by desire in the afterlife. But how he can
                              > say this, when he thinks that only the rational soul survives, is a
                              > mystery to me.
                              >
                              > For further reading on this, see:
                              >
                              > T.-A. Druart, “The Human Soul’s Individuation and its Survival After
                              > the Body’s Death: Avicenna on the Causal Relation Between Body and
                              > Soul,� Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 10 (2000), 259-273.
                              >
                              > And I also take the liberty of referring to:
                              >
                              > “Correcting Plotinus: Soul’s Relationship to Body in Avicenna’s
                              > Commentary on the Theology of Aristotle�, in P. Adamson, H. Baltussen
                              > and M.W.F. Stone (eds), Philosophy, Science and Exegesis in Greek, Arabic
                              > and Latin Commentaries (see above), vol. 2, 59-75.
                              >
                              > Best,
                              > Peter
                              >
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                              Michael Chase
                              CNRS UPR 76
                              Paris-Villejuif
                              France











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