Avicenna

 

Avicenna (also Ibn Sīnā or Abu Ali Sina; c. 980 – June 1037) was a Persian polymath who is regarded as one of the most significant physicians, astronomers, thinkers and writers of the Islamic Golden Age. He has been described as the father of early modern medicine.

Avicenna wrote his famous “Floating Man” – literally falling man – thought experiment to demonstrate human self-awareness and the substantiality and immateriality of the soul. Because it is conceivable that a person, suspended in air while cut off from sense experience, would still be capable of determining his own existence, the thought experiment points to the conclusions that the soul is a perfection, independent of the body, and an immaterial substance. The knowledge that “I am” is the core of a human being: the soul exists and is self-aware. The body is unnecessary; in relation to it, the soul is its perfection. In itself, the soul is an immaterial substance.

Avicenna made an argument for the existence of God which would be known as the “Proof of the Truthful“. Avicenna argued that there must be a “necessary existent“, an entity that cannot not exist and through a series of argument.

    • Contingent: has a reason for its being
    • Necessary: has no reason for its being
    • God = the necessary being
    • Suppose there were no necessary being
    • Everything, including the current state of the world, YOU, would be contingent
    • There would be an infinite series:
    • You <- father <- his father <- his father <- ….
    • But then the conditions for YOU existence would never be satisfied
    • So, there is a necessary being, God

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