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Paper   IPM / Philosophy / 14436
School of Analytic Philosophy
  Title:   Avicenna on the Origination of the Human Soul
1.  Seyed N. Mousavian
2.  Seyed H. Saadat Mostafavi
  Status:   Published
  Journal: Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy
  Vol.:  5
  Year:  2017
  Pages:   41-86
  Supported by:  IPM
According to the common wisdom, among both contemporary scholars and classic interpreters, Avicenna is committed to 'Co-origination': The human soul is temporally originated with the human body. Against the common wisdom, we will argue that Coorigination is ambiguous and vague and thus its attribution to Avicenna is in need of clarification and precisification. The problem is broken down into two sub-problems: First, the problem of the origination of different souls/powers, namely the vegetative, animal and rational, in humans, and second, the problem of the relationship between these souls/powers. Based on our solutions to these two sub-problems, we will offer our own reading of Co-origination according to which Avicenna is not committed to the view that the human soul is originated with the 'human body' in its ordinary sense. Our reading has significant corollaries: First, we will attempt to show where an influential argument by Dag Hasse and Dimitri Gutas against a form of 'supernal knowledge' by the faculty of imagination goes astray, and second, we will offer a solution to the notorious problem of the integrator and retentive factor of the fundamental elements of the embryo's body, a matter of substantial disagreement between ar-Rāzī and aṭ-Ṭūsī. We shall briefly explain how the seemingly 'contrary' textual evidence may be handled and will end by touching upon some open questions that our study engenders.

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