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The concept of substance in the philosophy of ya'gūh al- Kindī and avicenna (Ibn sīnā)

Berruin, Mohammad M. (1971) The concept of substance in the philosophy of ya'gūh al- Kindī and avicenna (Ibn sīnā). Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The Muslim philosophers al-Kindī and Avicenna founded their metaphysical system largely on concepts that they inherited from Aristotle Of primary importance among these concepts is that of substance, which the Muslim philosophers defined as that which exists by itself. Thus it may be seen that a substance is always a self-subsisting entity. Opposed to this view is the concept of accident, or property which may accrue to a substance at any one moment, and which does not affect its substantial existence. In as much as the concept of substance is fundamental to al- Kindī and Avicenna, so their definitions and classifications of it are important. For, ‘substance' embraces, material objects, souls, and intellects. On the definition of the material substance al- Kindī and Avicenna differed widely. They were, however, agreed in applying the term 'substance’ to every material body, and their disagreement is seen to be merely a technical one. al- Kindī and Avicenna believed in the existence of the soul, and attempted to prove its substantiality. More difficult to discern is their view of the facilities of the soul. Other problems to be raised are whether all souls may be united into one soul after death. The intellect is also a candidate for consideration as a substance. Some intellects are merely a faculty of soul, and neither thinker regards these as substances. Each, however, considers there to be substantial intellects: one only for al- Kindī but many for Avicenna, which he called pure intellects. The substantiality of God is a religious question, and one of importance since Plato. The attributed of God are limited to a few Neo-platonic concepts in the eyes of Muslim philosophers, and neither the Aristotelian substance, nor the Neo-Platonic hypostasis comes among these. Thus on religious issues they are finally compelled to reject Aristotelianism which supplied the foundations of their metaphysics.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1971
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Sep 2013 09:28

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