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AVICENNA ON HUMAN SELF-INTELLECTION

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 August 2022

Boris Hennig*
Affiliation:
Ryerson University, Toronto
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Abstract

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I argue that Avicenna allows for at least one case where we can intellectually grasp a particular individual as such: Each human intellect can intellect itself as numerically this one intellect without relying on any general notion or concept. This is because humans can retain their individuality when separated from their bodies. I discuss passages in which Avicenna appears to affirm and deny that humans can intellect themselves. I conclude that in contrast to the self-awareness that Avicenna showcases in his “floating human” thought experiment, human self-intellection is a rare achievement, and I explain how it differs from the more perfect self-intellection of the divine intellect.

Résumé

Résumé

Je soutiens qu'Avicenne admet au moins un cas où il est possible pour notre intellect de saisir un individu particulier en soi : chaque intellect humain peut s'appréhender comme étant numériquement lui-même sans avoir recours à une notion ou un concept général. Car l’être humain préserve son identité lorsqu'il est séparé de son corps. Nous discutons des textes où Avicenne semble affirmer et nier qu'un être humain peut s'appréhender lui-même. Nous concluons que, contrairement à la conscience de soi qu'invoque Avicenne dans l'expérience de pensée de « l'homme volant», l'auto-intellection humaine est une réalisation rare et nous expliquons ce qui la distingue de l'auto-intellection plus complète de l'intellect divin.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press
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