Re: Agent intellect
- Maybe 'Aristotelian rendering of Plotinus' sounds too stong - what I meant was that the Arabic Plotinus seems to be concerned with certain Aristotelian questions and is adding commentary on the Plotinian perspective based on a familiarity with Aristotle's works, adding Aristotelian terminology not found in the Plotinian passage, although the interesting example below, while being expanded discussion on an Aristotelian question, admittedly seems more like a standard Platonic argument to the Aristotelian problem, not much in the way of extra Aristotelian elements.
> M.C. I'm afraid I don't believe either of these claims is accurate. The
> only discussion in the Theology of the soul as the form of the body, as
> far as I can tell occurs at p. 55 Badawi, and closely follows Plotinus's
> discussion at Ennead IV 7 8.5. Like Plotinus (and Porphyry, for that
> matter, who wrote a treatise against Aristotle on the subject), the author
> rejects the concept, or at least severely qualifies it. Cf. Theology II,
> 71, p. 211 Lewis: "If the soul is a form, adhering and not
> separating...then how does she withdraw in sleep, and separate from the
> body ..if the soul were a perfection of the body qua body, she would not
> separate from it and would not know the remote...and that is not so."
> Plotinus' other main discussion of the notion of the soul as entelechy
> (Enn. 4, 2, 1) has no parallel in the Theology.
> Since the Theology passes itself off as being written by Aristotle, it has
> to contain some echoes of Aristotle to make the forgery credible. But its
> most characteristic elements - creation of the world ex nihilo and outside
> of time, separability of the soul, doctrine of the First principle as pure
> being, doctrine of emanation - have nothing to do with Aristotle and are
> purely Neoplatonic. Neoplatonism had, of course, integrated a number of
> Aristotelian doctrines, so it's not surprising if the Neoplatonica Arabica
> contain some traces of them. But they are far from being the dominant
> aspect, These writings were, in fact, invented to supplement Aristotle by
> providing a Neoplatonic-style theology that was absent in his theory.
> Peter Adamson will, I hope, correct me if I'm wrong.
> Best, Mike
> Michael Chase
> CNRS UPR 76
- Here's a pretty decent summary of Avicenna's cosmology (McGinnis):
Avicenna's modal ontology yet again provides him with a neat solution to this problem of medieval cosmology. From the necessary Existent there emanantes fro Avicenna the Intellect associated witht eh outermost celestial sphere. This Intellect must itself already be composite, for it is something possible in tiself but necessary through another. Now, continues Avicenna, when this Intellect contemplates the Necessary Existent, there emanates from that first Intellect another Intellect-let this second Intellect be the one associated with the fixed stars. In addition to contemplating the Necessary Existent, the first Intellect also contemplate itself, but, as has already been seen, it si something composite consisting of its won possible existence and the necessary existence it has from another. Thus, according to Avicenna's own unique emanative scheme, when the first Intellect contemplates itself as something merely possible in itself, there emanates from it a certain celestial body, whereas when it contemplates itself as necessary through another, it emanates that celestial body's soul. This process continues at the level of the second Intellect. Now, however, the second Intellect contemplates its relation the first Intellect and the Necessary Existent. This emanative process continues cascading downward with new Intellects, souls, and clestial bodies being produced until reaches the Active Intellect or Giver of Forms, which is the Intellect that produces the Moon and lunar soul.