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On Common Sense, Estimation, and the Soul’s Unity in Avicenna (2020)

Kaukua, J. (2020). On Common Sense, Estimation, and the Soul’s Unity in Avicenna. In D. Bennett, & J. Toivanen (Eds.), Philosophical Problems in Sense Perception : Testing the Limits of Aristotelianism (pp. 151-160). Springer. Studies in the History of Philosophy of Mind, 26. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-56946-4_8

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsKaukua, Jari

Parent publicationPhilosophical Problems in Sense Perception : Testing the Limits of Aristotelianism

Parent publication editorsBennett, David; Toivanen, Juhana



Journal or seriesStudies in the History of Philosophy of Mind



Publication year2020

Number in series26

Pages range151-160

Number of pages in the book258


Place of PublicationCham

Publication countrySwitzerland

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/74604


This paper addresses two questions related to Themistius’ alleged influence on Avicenna’s theory of the common sense. The first question concerns the phenomenon of incidental perception, which Themistius explained by means of the common sense. For Avicenna, on the contrary, the explanation of cases like our perceiving something yellow as honey involves the faculty of estimation and the entire system of the internal senses that he coined, and this results in an analysis that is considerably more complex than Themistius’. The second question concerns Themistius’ claim according to which an incorporeal spirit is the primary subject of perception. I argue that Avicenna departs from such a view both because for him spirit is a corporeal substance and because he insists that the subject of all cognition is the soul, not any of its faculties. Finally, I conclude by briefly considering other, more general ways in which Themistius could have influenced Avicenna’s psychology.

Keywordsphilosophy of mindperceptions (mental objects)sensescommon sensesoulArabic philosophy

Free keywordsAvicenna; Themistius

Fields of science:

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2020

JUFO rating2

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 20:26