Avicenna’s Outsourced Rationalism
Kaukua, Jari (2020). Avicenna’s Outsourced Rationalism. Journal of the History of Philosophy, 58 (2), 215-240. DOI: 10.1353/hph.2020.0037
Published inJournal of the History of Philosophy
© 2020 Journal of the History of Philosophy, Inc.
This paper refutes the claim that Avicenna's theory of science is empiricist in the robust, Lockean sense. I argue that his denial of innatism notwithstanding, the theory of formal identity, together with the metaphysical idea that the ontological structure of the sublunary world is grounded in the active intellect, commits Avicenna to a peculiar kind of rationalism in which the ultimate source of knowledge is an intellect, albeit one extraneous to the human mind. I then introduce two hitherto insufficiently discussed texts to challenge this conclusion. In the end, I claim that although this new material may provide some evidence for a robust empiricism in Avicenna, its consequences remained uncharted by him, and that some of his theological adversaries put forth a more radical kind of empiricism.
PublisherJohns Hopkins University Press
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Related funder(s)Academy of Finland; European Commission
Funding program(s)Research costs of Academy Research Fellow, AoF
The content of the publication reflects only the author’s view. The funder is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.