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Avicenna and his Sources: Alexander of Aphrodisias and Themistius (Part 1)

Meline Costa Sousa


This article is part of a broader investigation on Avicenna and his Greek Aristotelian sources. It aims to discuss the relation between Avicenna, Alexander of Aphrodisias, and Themistius from their theory about the intellect. Nowadays, there is a long debate among scholars concerning Avicenna’s noetic theory. One of its issues is the nature of the agent intellect and its relationship with the human intellect. However, since it is a difficult subject, the following lines are the first part of the mentioned investigation. They will be restricted to a general introduction to those three interpretations of the nature of the productive (or agent) intellect. One finds an analysis of the relation between Avicenna and his Greek sources based on the strict association (sometimes a strong dependence) of Avicenna’s theory with Alexander’s and Themistius’ ones. Thus, I will discuss their interpretation of Aristotle’s De anima 430a10-25 concerning the description and distinction of the intellects. Then, I will indicate some difficulties related to this strict association.


Avicenna, Sources, Arabic Philosophy, Greek Philosophy, Intellect, Reception.

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