According to Avicenna, whatever exists, while it exists, exists of necessity. Not all beings, however, exist with the same kind of necessity. Instead, they exist either necessarily per se or necessarily per aliud. Avicenna on the Necessity of the Actual: His Interpretation of Four Aristotelian Arguments explains how Avicenna uses these modal claims to show that God is the efficient as well as the final cause of an eternally existing cosmos. In particular, Celia Kathryn Hatherly shows how Avicenna uses four Aristotelian arguments to prove this very un-Aristotelian conclusion. These arguments include Aristotle's argument for the finitude of efficient causes in Metaphysics 2; his proof for the prime mover in the Physics and Metaphysics 12; his argument against the Megarians in Metaphysics 9; and his argument for the mutual entailment between the necessary and the eternal in De Caelo 1.12. Moreover, Hatherly contends, when Avicenna's versions of these arguments are correctly interpreted using his distinctive understanding of necessity and possibility, the objections raised against them by his contemporaries and modern scholars fail.
Celia Kathryn Hatherly is assistant professor of philosophy in the Humanities Department at MacEwan University.
Part One: God as The First Cause of Existence
Chapter One: The Modal Distinction in the Proof from the Metaphysics of the Healing
Chapter Two: The Modal Distinction in the Proof in the Metaphysics of the Salvation
Part Two: God as The Ultimate Final Cause
Chapter Three: The First Efficient Cause as the Ultimate Final Cause
Chapter Four: The Role of the Proof from Motion
Part Three: The Eternity of the World
Chapter Five: Material Potency as a Principle of Change
Chapter Six: The Eternal and the Generable