Combining Philosophers

All the ideas for Avicenna (Abu Ibn Sina), Mark Steiner and Bonaventura

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9 ideas

1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 1. Nature of Metaphysics
Understanding begins with the notion of being and essence [Avicenna]
     Full Idea: Understanding begins with the notion of being and essence.
     From: Avicenna (Abu Ibn Sina) (Commentary on the Metaphysics [1022], 1/6), quoted by Thomas Aquinas - De Ente et Essentia (Being and Essence) p.91
     A reaction: I think I might put it that wisdom is only really possible for people who aim to grasp being and essence in some way. I see no prospect of understanding 'being', and even essences may be forever just beyond our grasp.
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 8. Properties as Modes
Accidents always remain suited to a subject [Bonaventura]
     Full Idea: An accident's aptitudinal relationship to a subject is essential, and this is never taken away from accidents….for it is true to say that they are suited to a subject.
     From: Bonaventura (Commentary on Sentences [1252], IV.12.1.1.1c)
     A reaction: This is the compromise view that allows accidents to be separated, for Transubstantiation, while acknowledging that we identify them with their subjects.
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 5. Simples
The simple's whatness is its very self [Avicenna]
     Full Idea: The simple's whatness is its very self.
     From: Avicenna (Abu Ibn Sina) (Commentary on the Metaphysics [1022], 5.5), quoted by Thomas Aquinas - De Ente et Essentia (Being and Essence) p.103
     A reaction: Aquinas endorses this Aristotelian view in Idea 11208.
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 3. Matter of an Object
The ultimate material of things has the unity of total formlessness [Avicenna]
     Full Idea: The ultimate material of things has the unity of total formlessness.
     From: Avicenna (Abu Ibn Sina) (Commentary on the Metaphysics [1022], 11/12.14), quoted by Thomas Aquinas - De Ente et Essentia (Being and Essence)
     A reaction: This remark is not invalidated by developments in modern particle physics.
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 2. Types of Essence
An essence can either be universal (in the mind) or singular (in concrete particulars) [Avicenna, by Panaccio]
     Full Idea: Avicenna's 'indifference of essence' says the essence of certain things can become universal or singular, according to whether it is entertained by the mind (as a universal) or concretely exemplified as a singular thing. One essence can exist in two ways.
     From: report of Avicenna (Abu Ibn Sina) (Commentary on the Metaphysics [1022]) by Claude Panaccio - Medieval Problem of Universals 'Sources'
     A reaction: This would appear to be a form of nominalism, since in the concrete external world we only have particulars, and it is our mode of thinking (by abstraction?) that generates the universal aspect. I think this is probably right.
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 3. Individual Essences
Particular essence is often captured by generality [Steiner,M]
     Full Idea: Generality is often necessary for capturing the essence of a particular.
     From: Mark Steiner (Mathematical Explanation [1978], p.36)
     A reaction: The most powerful features of an entity are probably those which are universal, like intelligence or physical strength in a human. Those characteristics are powerful because they compete with the same characteristic in others (perhaps?).
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 6. Successive Things
Successive things reduce to permanent things [Bonaventura]
     Full Idea: Everything successive reduces to something permanent.
     From: Bonaventura (Commentary on Sentences [1252], II.2.1.1.3 ad 5), quoted by Robert Pasnau - Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671 18.2
     A reaction: Avicenna first took successive entities seriously, but Bonaventure and Aquinas seem to have rejected them, or given reductive accounts of them. It resembles modern actualists versus modal realists.
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / e. Lawlike explanations
Maybe an instance of a generalisation is more explanatory than the particular case [Steiner,M]
     Full Idea: Maybe to deduce a theorem as an instance of a generalization is more explanatory than to deduce it correctly.
     From: Mark Steiner (Mathematical Explanation [1978], p.32)
     A reaction: Steiner eventually comes down against this proposal, on the grounds that some proofs are too general, and hence too far away from the thing they are meant to explain.
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / m. Explanation by proof
Explanatory proofs rest on 'characterizing properties' of entities or structure [Steiner,M]
     Full Idea: My proposal is that an explanatory proof makes reference to the 'characterizing property' of an entity or structure mentioned in the theorem, where the proof depends on the property. If we substitute a different object, the theory collapses.
     From: Mark Steiner (Mathematical Explanation [1978], p.34)
     A reaction: He prefers 'characterizing property' to 'essence', because he is not talking about necessary properties, since all properties are necessary in mathematics. He is, in fact, reverting to the older notion of an essence, as the core power of the thing.