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Jon McGinnis

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195331479

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195331479.001.0001

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Avicenna’s Intellectual and Historical Milieu

Avicenna’s Intellectual and Historical Milieu

(p.3) 1 Avicenna’s Intellectual and Historical Milieu

Jon McGinnis (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter covers the historical, cultural, and intellectual background up to and during the time of Avicenna. It begins by presenting the Greek course curriculum taught at the Academies in Athens and Alexandria, with its emphasis on Aristotle in logic and the natural sciences, and then its increasing reliance on Plato, particularly as read through his Neoplatonic interpreters, for metaphysics, ethics, and politics. This course curriculum was in turn inherited by philosophers working in the medieval Islamic world, and provided the basis of Avicenna’s own education. The chapter then considers the factors and institutions indigenous to the Arabic-Islamic milieu in which Avicenna worked, such as Islamic theology and law, as well the immediate historical and political situation in which Avicenna found himself. It concludes with a detailed presentation of the life and works of Avicenna.

Keywords:   Avicenna, Aristotle, Aristotelianism, Neoplatonism, Islamic theology, Kalām, Graeco-Arabic translation movement, al-Kindī, al-Fārābī

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