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Ibn Sina. Avicenna and the proofs for the nature of God. Avicenna. 980-1037 Influence of Aristotle Influence on Aquinas The tension between anthropomorphic and philosophical understandings of God. Format for the Arguments. Set up the problem. Often with definitions

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ibn sina

Ibn Sina

Avicenna and the proofs for the nature of God

avicenna
Avicenna
  • 980-1037
  • Influence of Aristotle
  • Influence on Aquinas
  • The tension between anthropomorphic and philosophical understandings of God
format for the arguments
Format for the Arguments
  • Set up the problem.
    • Often with definitions
  • Provide a demonstration.
  • This is a version of medieval disputation.
that there is a necessary being
That there is a Necessary Being
  • All being is either contingent or necessary
  • A contingent being has a reason for being
    • A cause
  • If that contingent being’s reason is a contingent being, then that being also has a reason for being
    • A cause
that there is a necessary being ii
That there is a Necessary Being, II
  • If there is only a chain of contingent beings, there is no being.
    • Nothing exists
  • [We know that things do exist.]
  • There must be a first being that has no reason
    • A first Cause
  • There must be a Necessary being
    • An uncaused being
of the unity of god
Of the Unity of God
  • Notice that this argument is that necessary being is one.
  • This is an argument against the Christian understanding of a trinity
of the unity of god ii
Of the Unity of God, II
  • If there are two (or three) necessary beings, they must be distinguishable
  • Distinctions are accidental (adjoined to something after its essence is established) or essential (part of what the thing is)
of the unity of god iii
Of the Unity of God, III
  • If the things are distinguished by accidental characteristics
    • Each may have accidental characteristics, and so both are caused.
    • One may have an accidental characteristic, so that one is not a necessary being.
  • We are left with only one necessary being.
of the unity of god iv
Of the Unity of God, IV
  • If the things are distinguished by essential characteristics
    • If the distinctions are in both, then both are compound and both are caused. Neither is a necessary being.
    • If the essential distinction is in one only, then it is compound and so caused. It is contingent and the other is necessary
  • God is Necessary and One.
god is without cause
God is without cause
  • Active cause—that from which a thing has its being
  • Final cause-that on account of which a thing has being
  • Material cause-that in which a thing has being
  • Formal cause—that through which a thing has being
god s attributes
God’s attributes
  • Their multiplicity does not destroy his unity (p. 67)
  • Can you explain this?
god s knowledge
God’s knowledge
  • Self-thinking thought
  • God’s knowledge of his essence is his knowledge, his being known, and his knowing.