The reality of the non-existent object of thought: The possible, the impossible, and mental existence in Islamic philosophy (eleventh–thirteenth centuries)

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Abstract

One of the most widespread claims combining epistemology and metaphysics in post-Avicennian Islamic philosophy was that every object of thought is real. In Muʿtazilite reading, it was endorsed due to a theory of knowledge which states that knowledge is a connection or relation between the knower and the object known. Avicennists accepted it due to the rule that in a proposition “s is p” if p is something positive s has to be positive and real too. Hence, insofar as one can conceptually distinguish between two non-existent items, they have to be real. In this article, the author presents significant consequences of this theory: the acceptance and denial of non-existent yet real extramental objects; the concept of mental existence as an alternative solution; the conceivability of paraconsistent ideas and their reality or reducibility to some real objects.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy
EditorsRobert Pasnau
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages1-34
Volume6
ISBN (Print)9780198827030
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2018

Publication series

NameOxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy
PublisherOxford University Press
ISSN (Print)2472-307X

Keywords

  • non-existent objects
  • intentionality
  • mental existence
  • paraconsistency
  • Muʿtazilites
  • Avicenna
  • Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī
  • Ibn al-Malāḥimī

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