A1 Journal article (refereed)
Avicenna’s Outsourced Rationalism (2020)

Kaukua, J. (2020). Avicenna’s Outsourced Rationalism. Journal of the History of Philosophy, 58(2), 215-240. https://doi.org/10.1353/hph.2020.0037

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Kaukua, Jari

Journal or series: Journal of the History of Philosophy

ISSN: 0022-5053

eISSN: 1538-4586

Publication year: 2020

Volume: 58

Issue number: 2

Pages range: 215-240

Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/hph.2020.0037

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/68498


This paper refutes the claim that Avicenna's theory of science is empiricist in the robust, Lockean sense. I argue that his denial of innatism notwithstanding, the theory of formal identity, together with the metaphysical idea that the ontological structure of the sublunary world is grounded in the active intellect, commits Avicenna to a peculiar kind of rationalism in which the ultimate source of knowledge is an intellect, albeit one extraneous to the human mind. I then introduce two hitherto insufficiently discussed texts to challenge this conclusion. In the end, I claim that although this new material may provide some evidence for a robust empiricism in Avicenna, its consequences remained uncharted by him, and that some of his theological adversaries put forth a more radical kind of empiricism.

Keywords: philosophy; empiricism; rationalism; skepticism

Free keywords: Avicenna (Ibn Sīnā); Locke; empiricism; rationalism; skepticism

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Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

JUFO rating: 3

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 13:27