Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-qcsxw Total loading time: 0.306 Render date: 2022-08-16T14:06:27.084Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Notes on Avicenna's Concept of Thingness (šay'iyya)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 May 2002

Robert Wisnovsky
Affiliation:
Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University, 6 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA

Extract

Did classical kalām debates about how thing (šay') and existent (maw[gcaron]ūd) relate to each other pave the way for Avicenna's distinction between essence (māhiyya) and existence (wu[gcaron]ūd)? There are some indications that the concept of thingness (šay'iyya) may have played a bridging role between the mutakallimūn's discussions and those of Avicenna. Nevertheless, Avicenna's appeals to thingness occur most densely in passages devoted to analyzing the relationship between efficient and final causes, an entirely Aristotelian topic. A philological question arises: should these passages be emended to read causality (sababiyya) in place of thingness (šay'iyya)? I argue that the balance of evidence compels us to retain thingness. For Avicenna, thingness is the respect in which the final cause is prior to the efficient cause (as well as to the formal and material causes); existence, by contrast, is the respect in which the efficient cause is prior to the final cause. In fact, over the course of Avicenna's career a progression from the kalām problematic of šay' v. maw[gcaron]ūd to his own problematic of māhiyya v. wu[gcaron]ūd can be detected in his discussions of efficient and final causation.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2000 Cambridge University Press

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)
8
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Notes on Avicenna's Concept of Thingness (šay'iyya)
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Notes on Avicenna's Concept of Thingness (šay'iyya)
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Notes on Avicenna's Concept of Thingness (šay'iyya)
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *