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Damien Janos: The Issue of Divine Oneness in Avicenna: Between Per Se Predication and Negative Theology
June 17, 2022 @ 15:00 - 17:00 CEST
Short bio.: Damien Janos is presently conducting a Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers at the Fakultät für Philosophie at the LMU in Munich. Prior to that, he was an assistant professor for many years at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, and the Université de Montréal, Canada. He has written extensively on the history of Arabic metaphysics and cosmology, especially on Fārābī’s and Avicenna’s metaphysics. His ongoing projects focus on oneness in Avicenna’s metaphysics, a French translation of Fārābī’s Kitāb al-wāḥid wa-l-waḥda (with Olga Lizzini), and the works of the Arabic Christian thinkers of Baghdad.
Abstract: My presentation is part of an ongoing project focusing on oneness in Avicenna’s metaphysics. I will focus on Avicenna’s views on divine oneness and examine how the secondary literature has described them. Two assumptions in particular will come under scrutiny: that oneness should be reduced to a negative attribute of God, and that oneness derives from and is secondary to the concept of divine existence. After some introductory remarks, I tackle these two issues by discussing some hitherto neglected passages in Avicenna’s works. I argue that Avicenna draws on material taken from Kindī’s and Fārābī’s works and that there are senses of oneness in Avicenna that have not been taken into account and that can help to modify our assessment of his henology.