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Abu ?Ali Ibn Sina (known in this volume by his Latin and, hence, English name, Avicenna) should be recognized as the single most influential thinker of the medieval period. As shown in the chapters that comprise this volume, he had an unparalleled impact on Muslim philosophers and theologians - who mostly ceased responding to Aristotle in order to engage instead with Avicenna. He was also greatly (albeit often indirectly) influential on Jewish philosophy. And, of course, he was perceived as a major thinker by medieval and Renaissance philosophers in the Latin Christian tradition. Yet much fairly basic research remains to be done concerning this giant in the history of ideas. As Peter E. Pormann mentions in his contribution to this volume, the study of Avicenna's epochal contribution to the history of medicine is still in its infancy. On the philosophical side, things are somewhat better. Indeed, a great deal of excellent research has been devoted to Avicenna's life and thought. Still, we lack such basic tools as reliable editions of some works and translations, even for many major writings. Even major texts such as the Physics and Metaphysics from the Cure have become available in English only within the past few years. Major figures like Plato, Aquinas, and Kant are, naturally enough, the subject of an ever-growing body of collected volumes, companions, and guidebooks. So it is another mark of the relative neglect paid to Avicenna that there has, until now, been no collection in which leading experts examine all aspects of his thought. This volume is intended to fill that lacuna. It is not, however, only a companion or guide to what is already known about Avicenna. In keeping with the aims of the series to which it belongs, each chapter in Interpreting Avicenna seeks to advance the current state of our knowledge. Often, the authors have additionally pointed to areas where work remains to be done. His medical writings have already been mentioned. Another example is the Jewish and Latin reception, where the contributions found here not only present (and, indeed, push forward) the status quaestionis, but also show how many questions remain to be answered.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInterpreting Avicenna
Subtitle of host publicationCritical Essays
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781139047890
ISBN (Print)9780521190732
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


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