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10 Avicenna's Emanated Abstraction

One of the largest ongoing debates in scholarship on Avicenna (Ibn Sīnā) concerns his epistemology of the first acquisition of intelligible forms or concepts. “Emanationists” hold that intelligibles are emanated by the separate Active Intellect (AI) directly into human minds. “Abstractionists” hold that intelligibles are abstracted by the human intellect from sensory images. Neither of these positions has a satisfactory grip on Avicenna’s philosophy. I propose that the two positions can be reconciled because Avicenna states in many texts that what the AI emanates is a power, and not the various intelligible forms. I argue that this can only be the power of abstraction itself. This new interpretation does greater justice to Avicenna’s system and reveals his unique place in the history of epistemology.

Stephen R. Ogden vol. 20 2020
20 Tolerance as Civility

The question of toleration, of whether we should express disapproval at wrongdoing, is distinguished from the question of accommodation, of whether we should interfere with such wrongdoing. Liberal doctrines of accommodation invoke the value of autonomy. A doctrine of toleration is proposed that is based instead on the value of civility, on the (non-instrumental) value of suppressing the public expression of disapproval. Civility is of value within various relationships, a point illustrated by an examination of friendship. This doctrine of tolerance as civility is needed to explain practices of toleration among illiberal peoples and it suggests a way of extending such practices to others who do not value personal autonomy.

David Owens vol. 15 August 2015