Moving the orbs: Astronomy, physics, and metaphysics, and the problem of celestial motion according to Ibn sīnā: Damien Janos

Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 21 (2):165-214 (2011)

Ibn Sīnā's celestial kinematics represents an important aspect of his cosmology but has up to now received little attention in the secondary literature. After a short overview of some key features of his cosmology, this article attempts to clarify the role played by the separate intellects, the celestial souls, and the celestial bodies in causing celestial motion. It challenges the common view that Ibn Sīnā adhered to the theory of ten separate intellects developed by al-Fārābī and attempts to reconstruct his astronomical-metaphysical model on the basis of his main philosophical works. In addition, the article addresses the thorny question of how motion is transmitted from the intellectual to the physical plane, and it sheds light on the place of physics, metaphysics, and astronomy in Ibn Sīnā's cosmological method. Résumé La théorie avicenienne du mouvement des orbes célestes représente un aspect important de sa cosmologie qui n'a cependant pas encore été l'objet d'une étude approfondie. Cet article compte combler ce manque en fournissant une analyse des différents principes à l'origine du mouvement céleste, ainsi qu'une réflexion sur le rôle des disciplines astronomique, physique, et métaphysique dans les explications que fournit Ibn Sīnā à ce sujet. L'accent est mis sur le rapport des intelligences aux orbes et sur la problématique du passage de l'intellectif au physique, un moment charnière dans la cinématique avicenienne. En outre, l'étude remet en question l'adhésion d'Ibn Sīnā à la théorie farabienne des dix intelligences et entreprend une reconstitution de son modèle cosmologique.
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DOI 10.1017/S0957423911000014
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