The Question of Being Between Avicenna and Heidegger

Dissertation, New School for Social Research (1999)

Nader El-Bizri
American University of Beirut
"The Question of Being between Avicenna and Heritages" investigates Avicenna's ontological, epistemological, mystic, and linguistic accounts of being while at the same time accounting for Martin Heidegger's critique of the history of metaphysics. This investigation constitutes one of the first elaborate examinations of Avicenna's phenomenological considerations of the question of being. And the consideration of Avicenna's philosophical works has been mainly conducted through primary Arabic medieval texts that have not yet been translated into English, French, or German, nor sufficiently addressed by Western scholarship. ;Martin Heidegger claims that the history of metaphysics is the history of the oblivion of being while holding that his "fundamental ontology" presents a "genuine" phenomenological account that attempts to overcome metaphysics. However, Avicenna's philosophical works do testify to the emergence of a phenomenological philosophical tradition that took the question of being to be the most central question of philosophical investigations. This Avicennian philosophical heritage grounded subsequent developments that attested to the rise of a new strain in ontology that overcomes substance and subject based ontology while being characterized by salient phenomenological dimensions. This state of affairs does indeed point to the incompleteness of Heidegger's critique of metaphysics and sets a historical precedence that emphasizes some of what later figures in Heidegger's phenomenology of being. ;Avicenna's ontology of being overcomes the Aristotelian ousiolgy , while his epistemological and mystic views overcome the classical ontological reliance on the metaphysical subject. With Avicenna, being is not reduced to ousia , essence, subjectivity, or to anything that is other than being. His phenomenology of being constitutes a process-ontology that overcomes classical and transcendental ontology, and his views about being approximate what figures in Heidegger's existential analytic of Dasein, temporality, and the modern dispensation of being under the spell of "enframing" . To sum up, Avicenna's philosophical accounts of being present phenomenological dimensions in ontology that offer alternative phenomenological methods of investigation in ontology that would contribute to the renewal of philosophy in general and ontology and metaphysics in particular
Keywords Philosophy
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