Book II, Section 5

Joseph Kenny

Introductory Study
English Text
Arabic Text

Introductory Study

The text and translation presented below is a selection from the wide range of works by Ibn-Sn (980-1037) that have been published since the celebrations in his honour in the early 1950s. It is only within the past few years that we have had at our disposition the major works and a multitude of minor works of Ibn-Sn. This now permits us to come to a reasonable appreciation of his thought.

There are two ways to present the thought of Ibn-Sn on a topic. The first is to summarize and compare what he says in all his works on a particular topic. (1) The second is to present a particular work to get a direct taste of his argumentation and style; that is the way I follow here.

The text comes from a large work, only part of which is published. That was done by Wilhelm Kutsch, (2) based on a manuscript in Istanbul. Before then the text was unknown, not being mentioned in G.C. Anawati's Essai de bibliographie Avicennienne (Cairo, 1950) or Yahya Mahdawi's Bibliographie d'Ibn-Sn (Teheran, 1954).

The text echoes quite clearly Ibn-Sn's an-Najt and his al-Ishrt wa-t-tanbht, but differs in some respects from the great ash-Shif', which was known in Latin translation since the Middle Ages. It is not yet possible to date this work or many of Ibn-Sn's other works, so as to assess the evolution of his thought.

Ibn-Sn's vocabulary in this work is not abstruse and his arguments are not difficult to follow if one is familiar with the history of ancient and medieval philosophy. Yet his style makes difficult reading, in contrast to the florid but clear Arabic of the Arab al-Kind or the plain straight-forward style of al-Frb. In particular, one is often in doubt about the antecedents of his pronouns, and there are frequent gender shifts in verbs which force one to supply the presumed subject.

This difficult style might be attributed to the fact that Ibn-Sn was not an Arab. His autobiography/biography relates that he was criticized for his defective knowledge of "language"; he therefore set himself to study this for three years and composed some works to prove his capability of style. (3) His Risla al-qa' wa-l-qadar and either version of his Risla ayy ibn-Yaqn are examples of such literary display.

It is possible that the text at hand represents a student's summary of a course, where the oral presentation would be clearer. Nevertheless, it is usually not difficult to know the point he is making. If there is obscurity it is often about implications of his teachings which may lead to conclusions contrary to Faith. Ibn-Sn either does not see these implications or he deliberately plays them down, colouring them with words of religious piety. Thus, when he explicitly denies the resurrection in Risla a-alt, he warns the reader to be quiet and not stir up trouble for him.

In this edition and translation I have added numbers to Kutsch's text for the sake of reference. The first twenty-eight numbers, which I omit, have to do with the soul in general, plant and animal souls and their powers.


29 Note: You can have no doubt that all the vegetative and animal powers that we mentioned are found in man. But man has the additional power of perceiving intelligible reality; this distinguishes him from other kinds of animals, and is called the rational soul. It has two powers, one practical, the other for knowing; the two are called intellects in an equivocal sense. (4) The practical intellect is a power that perceives things that are related to bodily well-being in its particular conditions and the acts proper to it. It moves the body to act on the basis of an estimation it forms about it. The relationship of these practical things to the power for knowing gives rise to widespread common judgements which are not based on pure intellect. Their relationship to animal appetitive powers gives rise to dispositions preparing man for action or passion. Their relationship to the inner senses, such as the estimative sense and the imagination, gives rise to arts, works and management of everything that is generable or corruptible. If the intellect dominates the powers of the body and has influence on them a praiseworthy and pleasant character results. But if these powers dominate the intellect and are not influenced by it and it rather is influenced and led by them, a bad character results.

This leads you to conclude that the soul is a simple substance, one in essence, as we will establish later. It has one orientation towards the Holy and another towards the body and its needs. For this double orientation it has two powers, each one perfecting the relationship between it and what it is dealing with. As it is orientated to the body it is not always receptive of natural influences, but as it is orientated to the Holy it always receives from it.

The power for knowing is a power in which are engraved universal forms which are separated from matter, either of themselves or because of the action of the intellect in receiving them. These are sometimes in potency and sometimes in act......

34 Observation: A body is essentially unable to perceive intelligible forms. This act is only ascribed to animated bodies because of powers that are in them. A power that by its essence perceives intelligible forms is the subject of these forms and is a substance. But if it does not perceive by its essence but with the body, then strong objects of perception must tire, weaken and change the body; thus sight is weakened when very bright objects are seen; the same for hearing when sound is too powerful. But whenever the intellective power understands highly intelligible realities it grows stronger. The body grows weaker after the age of forty, while the intellect grows stronger. Thus we know that the soul understands by its essence. But everything that understands by its essence is a substance. Therefore the soul is a substance.

35 Note: (5) If you observe very well you will also find that when you refer to yourself as "I" you mean something different from what you mean when you say "it". When you say "I" you are referring to your essence, but when you refer to any one of your members or bodily parts you say "it". Such a reference is distinct and separate from what is "I". So it is not "I" nor a part of "I", since "I" does not express a collection of "it" definitions, because the reality of the parts can be different from the reality of the whole. Therefore your use of the word "I" shows that it is something different from your body and different from any of its parts or attributes. That different thing is called the soul.

36 Note: Man has certain knowledge that his essence exists and he can have no doubt of this under any circumstance, but he can be unaware of any one of his members or of his whole body. But what is known is different from what is not known. Therefore his essence is different from his body and all the parts of his body...... (6)

42 Note: The reality of each man is that substance which he refers to by the expression "I", or another addresses as "you". This is one in essence with different functions in the various parts of the body; these are the powers which are known by their distinct influence on single organs which do not have multiple operations. Between the soul and these functions there is a relationship of dependence, since the soul is their source. This relationship is the reason why the operations of these powers can affect the soul and the soul can affect these powers, on a mutual basis.

These powers of the soul can result in opposite operations, such as anger and pleasure, or joy and sadness. Whenever there is sensation, desire, anger, pleasure, joy or sadness the relationship of dependence brings about a disposition in the subject of that power. If these operations go on repeatedly they affect the soul, giving it an inclination which takes over and becomes a character trait of that substance, rooted with the firmness of a habit. If the soul is ever impressed by the thought of something it admires or abhors, the above-mentioned relationship carries this impression to these powers and they are affected by it. Specific impressions are made on them, so that they either tremble or are resolute or overcome by passion etc. Thus courage or cowardice, chastity or wantonness, goodness or evil result from undergoing these experiences repeatedly, and they become a moral habit which can grow weak or strong. It is obvious that some are more prone to anger than others, while others are more ready to please or more courageous.

43 Note: The soul perceives separated intelligible things by their essences; what is not separated from matter it perceives by abstracting their universal forms from the senses. Perception is the realization in the perceiver of a representation of the form of what is perceived; this representation is in every way intellectual and is available to be viewed by an act of perception whenever one wishes. Perception is nothing but the very presence of that representation in the perceiver, and is nothing else. The representation of a thing which corresponds to the thing in every aspect is the perceived object; the object is not the reality which exists outside. Some perceived objects have no outside sensible existence yet have a representational existence, such as geometrical forms and propositions connected [with these] which cannot conceivably be denied. But if the outside reality of the perceived thing were the object of perception then that perception would vanish once the reality itself vanishes, and other impossible consequences would also follow. So the design engraved [in the intellect] is the corresponding representation, and that remains and does not leave [the intellect]. (7)

44 Observation: When a thing is present it is perceived visibly and sensibly, but when it is absent it is imagined, as we have representations of many things which are absent from us but we perceived before. When a universal meaning is formed from what is common among all the single things that you think of, among all the single things of its kind or its genus, it becomes intelligible. The first stage is like seeing Zayd with the sense of sight; the second is like imagining his form and having an inner representation of it after his absence; the third is like the universal meaning that is formed, such as the meaning of man, which belongs to this man and others of his kind.

The sensation of a man includes various accidentals which are part of his reality but their disappearance does not affect his essence. Such are size, location, position and quality. Should any of these accidentals suddenly and circumstantially be replaced [by its opposite], this does not affect the reality of one's humanity. The sensation of man with these concomitant accidentals is because of the matter of which he was made. The abstraction (sic) and perception [of a man] take place by a circumstantial relationship between the sensation of him and his matter, making him present. Therefore the sensory representation of man is the appearance of his visible form upon the elimination of obstacles. Imagination is bringing this image present together with those accidentals by which it is personalized and which express his individuality. The imagination cannot abstract absolutely, but only from the very relationship of sensing, so that in the absence of sensation the imagination continues to represent the visible form with the accidentals we spoke of. But the intellect is able to abstract absolutely from all accidentals, and after abstraction the form remains stable in the intellect. It is right that universal meanings which have no relationship with matter and are free from extraneous accidentals should be intelligible by their essence and do not require abstraction, but by their own essence are abstracted.

45 Note: A soul has two powers, one practical, the other for knowing. The practical power is called the practical intellect and is the source of moving the appetitive power in particular matters which require choice; these matters are abstracted by the soul from what is particular and sensible according to a universal abstraction. We have already spoken about its function, and that does not require repetition.

The power for knowing is called the speculative intellect. It receives the essences of universal things in so far as they are universal. The perfection of this power is to become an intellect in act. From this aspect it has four levels: the first is that of preparedness to receive abstract intelligible forms before receiving them; this is called the material intellect and also the "niche" (8) The second level is the power that results when it actually attains the first intelligible principles through which it passes to secondary intelligible principles. This occurs either by a motion of the mind from first to derived principles as it stretches to seek the middle term in this case it is the "olive tree" or it occurs without any motion but grasps the middle term by one thrust and vision and this is the "oil". The first way is called reasoning, while the second is called intuition. Yet intuition can be very powerful or weak or mediocre. Weak intuition is the [second level] we mentioned; mediocre intuition is more powerful than that, and is called the habitual intellect or the "glass"; the most powerful and mature intuition is that holy power "whose oil would almost glow forth of itself though no fire touched it." If the speculative intellect reaches this perfection by having present the first and derived intelligible principles, and these are there actually and in full view without being absent, then the derived principles are related to the first as "light upon light"; this is the acquired intellect, because it derives from both kinds of principles. it the soul has mastery of intelligible principles and is able to recall them whenever it wants without effort or assistance, that power is called the intellect in act, and this is the "lamp" that it makes use of whenever it wants. The superior cause over and above these levels is the cause of the existence of the soul, since it flows over it; this is the "fire", which is the agent intellect. (9)

46 Annotation: If you have paid attention to what I have said in the previous note about the way that leads to acquiring intelligible principles, you must know the difference between reasoning and intuition; that is, if you have really paid attention.

47 Note: If you have paid attention, your mind must not be unaware that intuition clearly exists, but that some people excel in it, others are deficient, and others have an average amount. (10) Likewise in reasoning, you find some people well prepared to receive intelligible principles, while others are prepared to a lesser degree and some to a lesser degree than that. According to these degrees they derive different benefit from reasoning; thus you find some who grasp many intelligible principles by one leap of their mind, without needing step by step learning; others grasp even more. Just as this power is stronger or weaker, and is sometimes so weak that a person has no intuition at all, so you can measure degrees of intensity and maturity until you come to those who need no step by step learning and no reflection.

48 Note: The soul's perception of intelligible things by its essence and its perception of sensible things occurs only by means of the senses. The senses can only be directed to sensible things and is affected by them. That is because when a sense is affected by a sensible thing the soul can be distracted; in that case there is no perception when the sense is affected. Thus it is clear that perception belongs strictly to the soul, for it perceives sensible forms by the senses and intelligible forms by means of sensible forms. Otherwise, if man were able to perceive the intelligibility of all things only by means of their sensibility, his soul would fall short of the level of absolute perception. But whenever there is something that understands by its essence, such as the Creator and separated substances, it perceives intelligible forms without need of the intermediacy of sensible forms. For these intelligible forms do not come from sensation but from occasions and causes. Yet man perceives such forms by abstracting universals from the particulars that he senses. His soul is potentially knowledgeable; thus the souls of children acquire first principles without the help of the senses. That is because their souls are prepared for them. (11)

49 Annotation: You can easily understand that when the soul is separated, if it is ready for the perception of intelligible things, it has such perception without bodily powers. (12) The acquisition of this perception comes without one's searching or being aware of it, just as first principles come to children, for the ways the soul makes use of knowledge are by the senses.

50 Observation: If there is sensation of a thing and the soul does not perceive it, it is because it is occupied by thinking of other affairs or because of distraction or attention to something else. For when the common sense receives something, it must pass it on to the soul. If the thing does not reach the common sense, this is because the soul has put it to work on something that it is concerned with; so the thing does not reach it.

51 Note: The soul is prevented by the powers of the body from being alone with its essence and what is has perceived. For its perception is in an imaginary form and not absolutely intelligible, since the soul is drawn to sensible things; these take possession of it, and it does not get accustomed to intelligible things or knowledge of them. Rather it is content with the sensible world, trusting in it and not complaining about it. Thus one imagines that intelligible things do not exist, but are only surmisals.

52 Note: The fact that the soul is wrapt in matter prevents it from real knowledge of its essence and attributes. These will be realized after its separation, since [presently] the soul is unable in its acts of understanding to return to its bare essence or to shake off what it is wrapt with. That prevents it from true knowledge of its essence and from looking at its conditions. But when the obstacle is removed and the soul is stripped of what holds it back, it returns to a condition where it can understand its essence and specific attributes. It also returns to the perception of all things without need of a bodily instrument. And it understands that when it imagined that there is no reality but sensible bodies it was wrong and that it is impossible that only bodies should exist.

53 Clarification: The intellect acquires first intelligible principles without effort or searching for them, and is completely unaware of how or when it gains them.

54 Additional clarification: The soul by its nature is aware of existent things. Some of the things it is aware of are present to it actually, always and forever, without effort, such as its awareness of its essence. It gains awareness of some other things by a power prepared for this, such as its awareness of its awareness of its essence. For that reason sometimes it may not know about this second awareness. The same holds for anything that can be described as in potency to awareness. For what it has not acquired it is compelled to acquire. If that is clear, we can conclude that the soul's governance of the practical power and all the powers of the body, its governance of the power that is potentially knowing, and its natural governance of the powers, if it is right and aimed at well-being, is all acquired by effort.

55 Note: Man cannot know the reality of things as they are, for he does not know the constitutive elements of anything, especially the specific differences of its definition which make it what it is. Rather he can only know the its adjuncts, accidentals and properties, which he demonstrates according to what is connected to the thing. Likewise we do not know the reality of the Praiseworthy Creator, nor the reality of intelligences or souls, nor the realities of the spheres and stars, nor the reality of the elements or matter or form, nor the reality of substance and accident. Rather, we only know that a substance is something that exists not in a subject, and that is a property of substance, not part of its essence and reality. Likewise we do not know the reality of the soul, except that it is something which is a perfection of a natural organic body that is potentially alive. If we really knew the essences of things people would not disagree about what things are, since each perceives things differently. One person perceives the adjuncts of a thing that another does not perceive and vice versa. Thus each one judges merely on the basis of the adjuncts he has perceived. (13)

56 Observation: If these principles have been established, you cannot fail to know that whenever we say that a certain thing is necessarily so, we are only talking about the property of a thing or something adjoined to it. Then by means of that property we know other properties. Then by these we come to know the fact that the thing exists and has these properties. In this way we can tell that the soul exists, because we see a body moving, and we judge that the movement has a mover. And when we find a movement that is not appropriate to the thing, compared to the movements of other bodies, we judge that it has a special mover and that this mover has a characteristic that is different from other movers. Then by means of this we pass from one property to another until we establish the existence of the mover. Thus we know about the Most High Creator only what is secondary, namely, that he necessarily exists. By means of this we know another secondary characteristic, and that is his unity. Thus when we say that he exists by his essence, we mean that he is the one whose reality we do not know. Of this we perceive only the fact that is something existent, and that is all. But we are impeded from knowing the realities of things because we are wrapt in matter.

57 Note: Since the acquisition of first intelligible principles comes without effort and without knowledge of how or when they are acquired, they must come from a cause that puts these in the mind. We have previously explained that intelligible forms that are engraved in us are not in a body or in any corporeal thing, but that they are in an incorporeal substance which is the perfection of a body and moves it by choice from a principle that is potentially intellectual. These intelligible principles must be acquired from some cause and that cause cannot be a body or something corporeal. Intelligible principles must be actually present in the source that infuses them. Since they cannot come from a body or something corporeal, this source must be separated from anything bodily. If that is so it must understand its essence and other things perpetually. That source is not something within us nor included in our substance, but is certainly something outside our substance. It has the forms of intelligible things in act. This cannot be the Praiseworthy Creator, because he is one, and from one thing only one thing can proceed, as we will make known. Therefore it must be other than Him, and you will soon know that the Agent Intellect is the giver and infuser of forms, and that souls and intelligences flow from him, and he provides them with acts of intelligence by their conjunction with him. In this way intelligible forms are engraven in these minds to the extent that they are various prepared to receive them in various degrees. (14)

58 Annotation: If the soul is unaware of what it understood, that is because of its occupation and involvement in the corporeal world, to the exclusion of being intent on the Holy Majesty. Or it is because it turned its understanding to some other form which necessitated the obliteration of what was inscribed there before. That comes from the soul's concentration on the perception of sensible things while it turns its gaze away from facing the Holy, or because it turns to some other thing after its conjunction [with the Agent Intellect] had become a stable habit.

59 Note: You already know that the material intellect has the power of being perfectly prepared to receive infusion, and that the first intelligible principles were infused into it in a completely spontaneous way. By receiving these principles it became prepared to acquire secondary intelligible principles. Then it is the habitual intellect. When it is perfectly prepared and has mastery of these principles so that they become a stable habit whereby it can turn just as it likes to the radiance of the holy lights, then it has become the intellect in act. And that is the cause of conjunction.

60 Note: What makes the soul acquire that preparation to receive abstract intelligible forms from the separated Holy Substance is the relationship that exists between the two. That relationship comes about by the soul's involvement with sensible images and the meaningful representations that come to the imagination and memory with the help of the estimative and cogitative senses. This becomes clear from the fact that reasoning brings about intelligible principles. But reasoning is only the arrangement acquired data in a certain format; from this he proceeds to what is not known, as has been discussed in logic. The relationship is between what is present and what is sought, since the two are understood together. Thus it is clear that this reasoning is the cause of preparing the soul to receive. It is prepared to receive a specified intelligible principle after another because the specifier is different from the other which is specified. That specified thing can also be intellectual.

61 Note: If you proceed carefully and see, you will know that what a sleeper sees in his dream he first understand and then imagines. That is because the Agent Intellect infuses intelligible things into the intellect and then infuses them into the imagination. But if someone understands something when he is awake it is just the opposite. For he first imagines the thing; then he understands it.

When we try to prepare to receive infusion from the Agent Intellect with regard to one or more intelligible principle, we must first remove any obstacle or keep it from operating in a way to prevent the soul from what it seeks. Its preparation is specifically for that purpose. Thus the imagination works hard to keep anything from hindering the soul from the understanding, which is its aim. For example, if someone wants to understand some geometrical or astronomical question, he must put his imagination to work on the shapes that result from lines, lest it happens that what he wants is something different from what he imagined, and an obstacle to understanding comes in. The perfection of the human soul is in taking its fundamental intelligible principles from the imaginative power. Then it will not need convert its knowledge back into fundamental principles again, and will have the perfection of understanding. (15)

62 Observation: After separation from the body the soul is specially ready to receive the infusion of the Agent Intellect, for the action of the Agent Intellect does not depend on anything else if the material is disposed to receive and it is ready for infusion.

63 Clarification: From this secret you know that man must put all his energy and determination during this life to developing perfect readiness to receive the infusion and to reach the goal of going deep into this, as I said above. For the soul is conjoined naturally to the Agent Intellect. There is indication of this in dreams and premonitions. The perfection of this conjunction is entering the world that is by its very being holy.

64 Note: Scientific perceptions are grounded in the imagination and senses is because of they depend on what can be imagined and pictured, such as shapes, structures and figures which are related to the imagination and by its help can be pictured and grasped. But intellectual things are not like that. On the contrary, the imagination is a strenuous obstacle getting in their way. The imagination resists and is angry at the diminishing of its opposition. Therefore shapes and sensible images are put before its view so that the imagination may be occupied with them and thus become an intermediary between these things and what is intelligible about them by demonstration. The imagination works on these because they are of the type that it seeks to demonstrate; so they are not an obstacle to it. All learning is completed and perfected by the working of the imagination on the visible things that befit it. Its goal is completed in understanding, lest it become an obstacle to what the soul seeks.

65 Summary: If the soul puts its powers to work in their own departments with the perceptions that befit them and are of its type, its status will then be that of abstraction from matter, ready to receive forms from the Giver of forms.

66 Addition: The possibility of being disposed to receive infusion is open to all souls. There is no difference except that of distance or closeness, for a remote disposition requires an outside disposing agent, but a proximate disposition has of its essence the disposition to receive.....

85 Note: The soul comes to exist with the body. It is not possible for it to exist before the body, because in that case it would have to be either one soul or many. If there were one soul, the perceptions of one person would be the perceptions of all and vice versa, but that is impossible. Nor can it be maintained that while there is one soul perceptions differ because of different bodily conditions and differences in purity or turbidity of the powers. For we have seen that the soul has no relationship with the body or its conditions except the relationship of managing and governing it, and that the differences of bodily conditions do not in any way at all affect the substance of the soul. But the body is only an instrument of the soul which it uses to acquire its universal perceptions from particular things that are present in the senses.

But if there were many [pre-existent] souls, they would either be different from one another or not. If not, then multiplicity would be impossible. But if there were differences, they would either be intrinsic to the soul's reality or not. The first case is impossible, since its reality is the same and its substance is united; so its reality cannot accommodate an intrinsic difference. Nor can the difference of souls come from adjuncts, since a united reality cannot have opposite differences, and before the existence of the body there are no differentiating accidents. So its unification is not possible before it is involved in a body, since it is not a body or anything corporeal such as can receive division and be multiplied. If it is false that the [pre-existent] soul is one and it is false that it is multiple, then it is false that it is pre-existent; rather it comes to exist together with the body.

86 Note: From the principles which we have laid down it is clear that the human soul which is the subject of intelligible forms is a substance which is not a body or in a body, nor does it need a body for the subsistence of its essence, or for the preservation of intellectual forms, or for its specific operations, but its relationship with the body is that the body may be its instrument in acquiring the perfection that it desires. Once it attains this, it no longer needs the body and is independent of it, especially if it has the power and stable habit to elicit perfect acts of understanding. It has no need for anything corporeal, nor to refer to the bodily world at all. It has also been established that the cause of its existence is permanent, and if the body decays, the soul has lost something it does not need to exist. This does not necessitate the corruption of its essence or the impeding of its operations and acts of understanding. In spite of bodily corruption the cause of the soul's existence is permanent and that necessitates the permanence of the soul after the corruption of the body.

87 Note: Whatever undergoes corruption must, before corruption, be capable of corruption. Since what subsists of itself does not have this capability, a corruptible thing must have a subject by which it subsists. This subject must exist when corruption takes place, because something which has the potentiality of undergoing corruption is the very thing that is said to undergo corruption. So it is established that whatever undergoes corruption must have matter. But the soul has no matter, as has been said above. Therefore it is incapable of corruption.

88 Note: Something which would come into being without the possibility of its coming into being cannot come into being, since the possibility of its coming into being is insufficient to bring it about. Therefore its realization is dependent on conditions. If these conditions are not found, the thing cannot exist.

89 Note: The existence of the body is a condition for the existence of the soul, without doubt. But the body is not a condition for the soul's permanence, since it has no need of the body. When it leaves the body, losing some perfection, it gains other perfections apart from it, since the body is not a condition of its perfection as it was for its coming into existence. If it is not a condition of its perfection, it is not surprising that the soul gains perfection after leaving the body. (16)

90 Conclusion: Animals do not understand their essences, because their souls are not separated from matter. They can only perceive their essences by their estimative power, not in an intelligible way. The soul of man can understand its own essence because it is separated from matter, and the intelligibility of anything is its separation from matter. This is the reason for the permanence of human souls.

To the Giver of the intellect be praise without end.
The end of the section on natural science, from the book Notes and observations.
God bless Muammad, the Prophet of mercy and guidance.
This is all I have to say.

النكت والفوائد في العلم الطبيعي
(من الفن الخامس من الكتاب الثاني)
لابن سينا

29 نكتة: وأنت فلا تشك في أن جميع ما ذكرناه من القوى النباتية والحيوانية موجود في الإنسان ثم يزيد بأن له قوة أخرى نمكن بها من إدراك المعقولات يمتاز بها عن سائر أصناف الحيوان وتلك هي المسماة بالنفس الناطقة ولها فوتان عاملة وعالمة وتسمى كل واحة عقلا بالاشتراك فالعاملة قوة مدركة لأمور تتعلق بمصالح البدن في أحواله الجزئية وأفعاله الخاصة به وهي محركة له إلى ذلك على مقتضى رأي يجمع عليه وبنسبة هذه إلى القوة النظرية تحدث القضايا الذائعة والمشهورة التي ليست مستندة إلى العقل الصريح وبنسبتها إلى القوى الحيوانية النزوعية تحدث هيئات يستعد بها الإنسان لقبول الفعل والانفعال وبنسبتها إلى القوى الباطنة كالوهمية والمتخيلة تستنبط الصنائع والأعمال والتدبير في كل كائن فاسد وبتسلطها على قوى البدن وانفعال القوى عنها تكون الأخلاق الحميدة المرضية وبتسلط تلك القوى عليها وإن لا تنفعل عنها وتنفعل هي عن تلك وتنفاد لها تكون الأخلاق الرذيلة

والذي يحصّل لك هذا أن النفس جوهر بسيط أحدي الذات كما نقرره بعد ولها وجه تنصرف به إلى القدس ووجه تنصرف به إلى البدن ومصالحه وبحسب هذين لها قوتان كل واحدة تتم بها العلاقة فيما بينها وبين ما هي منصرفة إليه والوجه المنصرف إلى البدن لا يقبل الآثار الطبيعية بوجه والوجه المنصرف إلى القدس دائم القبول منه

وأما العالمة فهي القوة المنتقشة بالصور الكلية التي تكون مجردة عن المواد إما بأنفسها وإما بتجريدها لها وقبولها لها قد يكون بالقوة وقد يكون الفعل.....

34 فائدة: فالجسم بذاته غير قوي على إدراك المعقولات وإنما وُصفت به الأجسام الحيوانية لقوى فيها والقوى إن أدركت بذاتها كانت محلا للصور العقلية بذاتها فهي جواهر وإن لم تحرك بذاتها بل مع الجسم لزم الكلام عند ورود المدركات الشاقة توهي الجسم وتغيّره ويضعف البصر عند توارد المبصرات النيّرة والسمع عند ورود الأصوات القوية والقوة الدراكة للمعقولات كلما تعقلت المعقولات الشاقة كانت أقوى وقد يضعف الجسم بعد الأربعين ويقوى الإدراك فعُلم أنه للنفس بذاتها وكل ما كان مدركا بذاته فهو جوهر فالنفس جوهر.

35 نكته: وأنت إذا تأملت حق التأمل وجدت أيضا إشارتك إلى ذاتك بقولك أنا مفهومه غير مفهوم قولك هو وأنت عند قولك أنا تشير إلى ذاتك فإذا أشرت إلى كل واحد من أعضائك وأجزاء بدنك فإنما تقول هو وهذة الإشارة منفصلة خارجة عما هو أنا فليست أنا ولا جزء أنا إذ ليس أنا عبارة عن مجموع الهويات لجواز أن تكون حقيقة الأجزاء غير حقيقة الجملة فإذن إشارتك بأنا تقتضي أن يكون شيئا غير جسدك وغير كل واحد من أجزائه وتوابعه فذلك الغير يسمى نفسا.

36 نكتة: الإنسان يكون متحققا عالما بوجود ذاته وثبوتها غير متصور له الذهول عنها في حال من الأحوال ويكون غافلا عن كل واحد واحد من أعضائه وعن جملة بدنه وما هو معلوم غير ما ليس بمعلوم فذاته مغايرة لجسمه ولجميع أجزاء جسمه....

42 نكتة: وحقيقة كل إنسان هي هذا الجوهر الذي نشير إليه بأنا أو يشير إليه غيره بأنت وهو أحديّ الذات وله شُعب متفرقة في أجزاء البدن هي القوى عُرفت لاختلاف تأثيراتها إذ الشيء الواحد لا يصدر عنه أفاعيل مختلفة وبينها وبين تلك الشُعب نسبة التعلق بكونها مبدأ لها وهذه النسبة هي السبب في تأدّي تلك الأفعال من القوى إلى النفس ومن النفس إلى القوى على التعاكس

وتلك الشعب بالنفس يقع تصرفها في أمور توجب تضادّاً في الأفاعيل كالغضب والرضا والفرح والترح فعند الإحساس أو الشهوة أو الغضب أو الرضا أحدثت نسبة التعلق هيئةً في حامل تلك الشعبة فإذا تكررت تأدّت إلى النفس فحدث الإذعان فتمكّن وصار خُلفا معتادا لهذا الجوهر راسخا رسوخ الملكة وإذا تأثرت النفس بفكر في أمر تستعظمه وتستهوله فتحمل تلك النسبة ذلك الأثر إلى تلك الشعب فتنفعل عنه ويحصل فيها آثار مخصوصة فيقشعرّ منه أو يأخدها زمع أو يستولى عليها حرارة إلى غير ذلك ومن ذلك تقع الشجاعة والجبن والعفاف والستهتار والخير والشر بانفعالات يصير تكرارها خلقا وتضعف وتقوى فيُرى إنسان أشد عضبا وآخر أسرع رضاَ وآخر أكثر شجاعة من آخر.

43 نكتة: والنفس مدركة للمعقولات المجردة بذاتها ولغير المجردة باستنزاع صورها الكلية من الحواسّ والإدراك هو أن تحصل في المدرك تمثل صورة المدرَك من كل وجه تمثلا عقليا لا يزال مشاهدة عنده بما به يقع الإدراك متى شاء وليس الإدراك إلا نفس حضور ذلك المثال في المدرِك لا شيء غيره ومثال الشيء المطابق له من جميع الوجوه هو المدرَك لا حقيقته الموجودة في الخارج فمن المدركات ما ليس له وجود حسي في الخارج وله مثال حاصل كأشكال كثيرة هندسية ومفروضات متعلقة لا يتصور إنكارها ولو كان حقيقة الشيء المدرك الخارجة هي المدرَكة لزال ذلك الإدراك عنده زوال تلك الحقيقة وللزم منه أيضا محالات كثيرة فالمرتسم المتنقش هو المثال المطابق وذلك باق لا يفارِق.

44 قائدة: الشيء عند حضوره يدرك مشاهدة وحسّا وعند غيبته يكون متخيلا كتمثل صور كثيرة مما غاب عنّا عن كثير ممّا أدركناه وعند تصور المعنى الكلي من المشترك بين كل واحد ممّا تصورته وبين كل واحد من نوعه أو جنسه يكون معقولا فالأول كمشاهدة زيد بحاسّة الإبصار والثاني كتخيل صورته وتمثلها في الباطن بعد الغيبة والثالث مثل ما يتصوره من المعنى الكلي مثل معنى الإنسان الذي يوجد له ولغيره من نوعه

وعند الإحساس به يكون له عوارض سنحت له من حقيقته لا يؤثر زوالها في ماهيته كالمقدار والأين والوضع والكيف وأيّ شيء من هذه فُرض دفعة وملابسة عوضه فإنه لا يكون مؤثرا في حقيقة الإنسانية له ونيل الحسّ له مع هذه العوارض اللاحقة له لسبب مادّته التي كُوّن منها والتجريد والنيل بعلاقة وضعية يكون بين حسّه ومادته وهو أن يكون حاضرا ولذلك فإنّ الذي يتمثل في الحس منه ظاهر صورته المرئية مع ارتفاع الموانع والخيال استحضاره لها مع تلك العوارض التي يتشخص بها ويكون باعتبارها جزئيا ولا يقدر الخيال أن يجرّد مطلقا بل عن نفس العلاقة الحسية ويبقى مع غيبتها متمثلا لها مع عوارضها المذكورة والعقل يتمكن من التجريد المطلق عن كل ما يلحقها وبعد التجريد تبقى ثابتة عنده فحري بما ليس له تعلق بالمواد من المعاني الكلية البرية عن العوارض الغريبة أن يكون معقولا بذاته لا يفترق إلى تجريد بل هو في ذاته مجرّد.

45 نكتة: النفس لها قوتان عاملة وعالمة فالعاملة منهنا تسمى بالعقل العملي وهي المبدأ لتحريك القوة الشوقية إلى ما يقع الاختيار عليه من أمور جزئية مجردة للنفس عن جزئي محسوس تجريدا على وجه كلي وقد سبق من بيان فعلها ما يغي عن الإعادة

وأما العالمة فإنها تسمى بالعقل النظري وهو القابل لماهيات الأمور الكلية من جهة كليتها وهذه القوة تكميلها بأن تصير عقلا بالفعل ولها إذ ذاك مراتب أربعة، الأولى هو أن يكون لها استعداد لإن تقبل الصور العقلية المجردة قبل حصولها وهي تسمى العقل الهيولاني والمشكاة والثانية قوة تحصل عند حصول المعقولات الأول بالفعل يتوصل بها إلى حصول المعقولات الثانية إما بحركة الذهن من الأول إلى الثواني حركة انتقالية يطلب بها الحد الأوسط فذلك الشجرة الزيتونة، وإما بغير حركة بل بحصول الحد الأوسط دقعة واحدة متمثلا فهو الزيت فالطريق الأول ما يسمى فكرا والثاني ما يسمى حدسا. ثم هذا الحدس قد يكون قويا جدا وضعيفا ووسطا فالضعيف ما ذكرناه والوسط هو أقوى من ذلك وهو المسمى عقلا بالملكة والزجاجة أو القوي من ذلك البالغ هو الفوة القدسية التي يكاد زيتها يضيء ولو لم تمسسه نار فإذا حصل للنظرية هذا الكمال بحصول المعقولات الأول والثواني وصارت لها بالفعل مشاهدة غير غائبة وكانت الثواني على الأول نورا على نور وهو العقل المستفاد لأنه اُستحصل من الأمرين وإذا تمكنت النفس من المعقولات وصارت قادرة على استحضارها متى شاءت استحضارا غير كسبي ولا باستعانة كانت تلك القوة المسماة بالعقل بالفعل وهو المصباح الذي يستمد منه كلما شاء وعلة الروقي في معارج هذه الرتب هو علة وجود النفس لأنه الفائض عليها وهو النار وذلك هو العقل الفعّال.

46 تذييل: وأتت إذا تأملت ما ذكرته في إثناء هذه النكتة من الطرق المؤدية إلى اكتساب المعقولات عرفت الفرق ما بين الفكرة والحدس إن تأملت حق التأمل.

47 نكتة: وأنت فلا يخفي عن ذهنك إذا تأملت أن الحدس ظاهر الوجود ويختلف في الناس بالزيادة والنقصان والتوسط وكذلك في الفكر أيصا وتجد في الناس من هو أشد استعدادا لقبول التعقلات ومن هو دونه ودون ذلك أيصا وبحسب ذلك يكون انتفاعهم بالفكر ولذلك فإنك تجد فيهم من يصيب كثيرا من المعقولات دفعة من ذهنه غير محتاج إلى كسب وتعلّم ومصيبا أكثر من ذلك فلما كانت هذه القوة قد تقوى وتضعف وينتهي في الضعف إلى من لا يوجد له حدس فكذلك فاقض في جانب الزيادة وبلوغه إلى من لا يحتاج إلى كسب وتعلم ولا إلى فكر وروية.

48 نكتة: إدراك المعقولات للنفس بذاتها وإدراك المحسوسات إنما هو للنفس بواسطة الحواس فليس للحاسة إلا مباشرة المحسوسات وانفعالها عنها وذلك لإن الحاسة عند انفعالها عن المحسوس قد تكون النفس غافلة ولا يحصل الإدراك مع انفعال الحاسة فيتبين أن الإدراك إنما هو للنفس فإنها تدرك الصور المحسوسة بالحواس وتدرك صورها المعقولة بتوسط الصور المحسوسة وإلا فإن الإنسان لا يتمكن من إدراك معقولية كل شيء إلا بوساطة محسوسيته لنقص في نفسه عن درجة الإدراك المطلق وكلما هو عاقل بذاته كالباري والعقول المفارقة يدرك الصور المعقولة بغير حاجة إلى توسط الصور المحسوسة فلا تحصل من الإحساس بل من الأسباب والعلل والإدراكات الحاصلة للإنسان تكون باستنزاع الكليات عن الجزئيات من جهة إحساسه بها ونفسه عالمة بالقوة وكذلك فإن نفوس الأطفال لها الأوائل والمبادئ وحصولها من غير استعانة بالحواس وذلك لأنها مستعدة لها.

49 تذييل: وأنت فيسهل عليك أن تعلم أن النفس عند مفارقتها إذا كانت مستعدة لدرك المعقولات حصلت لها مدركة بغير قوى جسمية لكن ذلك الحصول من غير قصد ولا شعور به كحصول الأوائل للأطفال فالمعارف طرق استفادتها للنفس بالحواس.

50 فائدة: إذا وقع الحس على شيء ولم تدركه النفس ولاشتغالها عنه ببعص شواغلها من فكر أو غفلة أو إقبال على غيره فالحس المشترك عند حصوله فيه لا يتمكن من أن يؤديه إليها أو لا يحصل فيه لكون النفس قد شغلته بما هي منصبّة إليه فلا يحصل له.

51 نكتة: النفس ممنوعة من قوى البدن عن الانفراد بذاتها ومدركاتها فالإدراك الحاصل لها متخيل لا معقول مطلق لكونها منجذبة إلى المحسوسات وهي مستولية عليها ولم يقع لها ألف بالمعقولات ولا معرفة بها لكن تطمئن إلى عالَم الحس واثقة به غير شاكة فيه ويقع في الوهم أن العقليات غير موجودة وإنما هي موهومة.

52 نكتة: كون النفس ملابسة للهيولى يمنعها عن تحقق ذاتها وصفاتها التي تتحقق بعد التجريد لإنها غير متمكنة من الرجوع في التعقلات إلى مجرد ذاتها والتخلي عما هي ملابسة له وذلك مانع عائق عن تحققها بذاتها وعن الاطّلاع على أحوالها فعند زوال المانع والتجرد عن العائق ترجع إلى مقتضى من تعقل ذاتها وصفاتها المخصوصة بها وترجع مدركة للأشياء كلها بغير احتياج إلى آلة بدنية وتعلم أن ما كان يتخيل لها من أنه لا حقيقة إلا الجسم المحسوس غير صحيح وأن لا وجود إلا له محال.

53 تبصرة: المعفولات الأولة تحصل للعقل من غير كسب ولا طلب ولا علم بكيفية الحصول ولا زمان الحصول ولا يقع بذلك شعور.

54 زيادة تبصرة: lang=AR-SA والنفس تشعر بالموجودات بالطبع فبعض ما هي شاعرة به يكون لها بالفعل دائما أبدا من غير كسب كالشعور بذاتها والبعص اللآخر شعور مكتسب بقوة مستعدة له كشعورها بشعورها بذاتها ولهذا ربما لا تعلم بذلك الشعور وكذلك كل ما يوصف بقوته على الشعور فإن كل ما ليس بمحصل له يضطر إلى تحصيل وإذا تحقق هذا عُلم منه أن تصريفها للقوة العاملة وجميع قوى البدن بالطبع وتصريفها للقوة العالمة بالقوة والتصريف الطبيعي للقوى وإن كان على السداد ومتجها إلى الصلاح فهو كسبي.

55 نكتة: لا يتمكن الإنسان على حقائق الأشياء على ما هي عليه فإنه لا يعرف المقومات لكل واحد منها وخاصة الفصول التي تكون الحقيقة هي ما هي بها لكن لا يمكنه إلا معرفة لوازم وأعراض وخواص يقع بها استدلاله على ما هي لاحقة له ومنه إننا لا نعرف حقيقة الباري سبحانه ولا حقيقة العقول ولا النفوس ولا حقائق الأفلاك والكواكب ولا حقيقة العناصر ولا الهيولى ولا صورة ولا حقيقة الجوهر ولا العرض بل إنما نعرف أن الجوهر هو شيء له أنه موجود لا في موضوع وذلك خاصية له لا لذاته وحقيقته وكذلك لا نعرف حقيقة النفس إلا أنها شيء يكون كمالا لجسم طبيعي آلي ذي حياة بالفوة ولو لا ذلك لما وقع للناس اختلاف في ماهيات الأشياء لإنه قد يقع التفاوت في إدراكات الناس فيدرك هذا من لوازم شيء ما لا يدركه ذاك وبالعكس فحكم كل واحد بمقتصى ما أدرك من اللوازم.

56 فائدة: وأنت فغير خاف عنك إن استثبت هذه الأصول أننا اذا اوجبنا ثبوت شيء مخصوص فإنما ذلك من خاصة له أو لازم ثم بتوسط تلك الخاصة عرفنا أخرى ثم يتوصل بذلك إلى معرفة إنيّته وإثباتها ومن ذلك إنّا إنما نُثبت النفس لإنا رأينا جسما يتحرك فحكمنا بأن للحركة محركا ولمّا وجدنا حركته غير موافقة لشيء من حركات سائر الأجسام فحكمنا بأن له محركا خاصا وله صفة غير موجودة لمحرك غيره ثم بتوسط هذه وقفنا على خاصة بعد خاصة حتى أثبتنا الإنية و كذلك لا نعرف من الباري تعالى إلا لازما وهو أنه واجب الوجود ونعرف بواسطته لازما أخر وهو الوحدانية وكذلك فإذا قلنا أنه الموجود بذاته فمعناه أنه الذي لا نعرف حقيقته ولا ندركها إلا انها موجود فحسب فالحقائق ممنوع عنا إدراكها بسبب ملابسة المواد.

57 نكتة: حصول المعقولات الأولة لما كان بغير كسب ولا عن علم كيفية حصوله ولا زمان حصوله فلا بد له من علة مكسبة فنقول أنه قد تقدم بياننا أن صور المعقولات المنقشة فينا ليست في جسم ولا في ذي جسم وأنها في جوهر غير جسم هو كمال لجسم محرك له بالاختيار عن مبدأ عقلي بالقوة فهذه المعقولات حصولها لا بد له من سبب ولا يجوز أن يكون ذلك السبب جسما ولا جسمانيا فإن مفيض المعقولات ومفيدها يجب أن تكون عنده بالفعل وإذا لم يكن المفيد لها جسما ولا جسمانيا وجب تجرده وإذا كان كذلك كان متعقلا لذاته ولغيره على الدوام وليس ذلك بشيء داخل فينا ولا ملابس لجواهرنا فثبت أنه شيء خارج عن جواهرنا فيه صور المعقولات بالفعل ولا يكون ذلك الباري سبجانه لإنه واحد والواحد لا يصدر عنه إلا واحد كما ستعرفه فبقي أن يكون غيره وأنت تعلم عن قريب أن العقل الفعّال واهب الصور ومفيضها وأن النفوس والعقول فائضة عنه فهو الذي يفيدها التعقلات لاتصال بينها وبينه بما ينتقش فيها من صور المعقولات التي تختص باستعد\داتها الخاصة لأحكام خاصة.

58 تذييل: فإذا غفلت النفس عما عقلته فلاشتغالها وميلها إلى عالم الأجسام عن ملاحظة الجناب القداسي أو التفاتها إلى تعقل صورة أخرى توجب انمحاء المرتسم قبلها وذلك لإعراضها إلى المدركات الحسية وإصراف وجهها عن الاتجاه إلى القدس أو لاتجاه إلى أمر أخر من أموره بعد أن صار لها الاتصال ملكة ثابتة.

59 نكتة: وأنت فقد علمت أن العقل الهيولاني له قوة استعداد تام لقبول الفيض وأنه أُفيض عليه المعقولات الأولة التي هي له بديهية واستعد بتلك لقبول اكتساب المعقولات الثانية وهو العقل بالملكة وعند تمام هذا الاستعداد وتمكنه بحيث يصير ملكة مستقرة يتجه بها أنّى شاء إلى إشراق أنوار القدس صارت عقلا بالفعل فذلك هو علة الاتصال.

60 نكتة: فأما ما يكسّب النفس ذلك الاستعداد لقبول المجردات العقلية عن الجوهر القدسي المفارق فإنه أن يكون ذلك لنسبة واقعة بينهما وتلك النسبة إنما تحصل بتصرفات النفس في الخيالات الحسية والمثل المعنوية الحاصلين في المصورة والذاكرة باستخدام الوهمية والمفكرة والذي يبين ذلك أن الفكر محصّل للمعقولات والفكر إنما يكون ترتيب أمور حاصلة على هيئة مخصوصة يتوصل بها إلى ما ليس بمعلوم كما سلف في المنطق فالنسبة واقعة بين الحاصل والمستحصَل لكونهما كتعقلين وبذلك يتبين أن تلك الفكرة سبب الاستعداد للقبول وإنما استعادت معقولا مخصصا بعد معقول لإن المخصِص غير المخصَص الآخر وقد يكون أيضا ذلك المخصص عقليا.

61 نكتة: وأنت إذا تلطفت وتبصرت علمت أن ما يراه النائم في منامه فإنه إنما يعقله أولا ثم يتخيله وذلك لكون العقل الفعّال مفيض المعقولات على العقول ثم يفيض تلك المعقولات إلى التخيل وإذا تعقل المستيقظ شيأ فإنه على العكس من ذلك فإنه يتخيله ثم يعقله

ونحن عند ما نحاول الاستعداد لقبول الفيض من العقل الفعّال في معقول خاص أو معقولات ولا بد من إزالة المانع أو شغله بما يشغله عن الممانعة للنفس عن مطلوبها فيتخصص استعدادها لذلك فيشغل الخيال شغلا فويا بحيث لا يقع له معاوقة للنفس عما هي بصدده من التعقل وذلك كمن يريد يعلم بعض مسائل الهندسة أو الهيئة فلا بد وإن يشغل الخيال بتخيل الأشكال الكائنة عن الخطوط لألا يصير إلى أن المراد شيء أخر غير ما تخيلته فيقع الممانعة وكمال المنفس الإنسانية عند أخذ مبادئ معقولاتها من القوة الخيالية ثم لا تحتاج فيما تحاوله من المعرفة إلى المبادئ منها مرة أخرى فيحصل لها كمال التعقل.

62 فائدة: فعند التجرد تكون متخصصة الاستعداد لقبول فيض العقل الفعّال فإنه بالفعل فعّال لا يتوقف فعله على أمر أخر عند تخصص المادة بالقبول واستعدادها للقيض.

63 تبصرة: وأنت فتعلم من هذا السر ان الإنسان يجب عليه بذل الجهد والدأب في حياة الدنيا للتعرض للاستعداد التام لقبول الفيض وتبلغ المبلغ الذي ذكرته من الترسخ لذلك فإن النفس متصلة بالطبع بالعقل الفعّال ودليله المنامات والإنذارات وتتميم ذلك الاتصال بالإقبال على العالم القدسي بالكنه.

64 نكتة: استثبات المعلومات المدركة من العلوم في التخيل والحس يكون بتعلقها بما يتخيل ويتصور كالأشكال والهيئات والمثالات مما له تعلق بالتخيل وله مساعدة على تصوره وإدراكه والأمور العقلية لما لم يكن كذلك بل بخلافه كانت الخيالية ممانعة قاهرة بالمعاوقة عنها فقهر الخيال وغضب على زوال ممانعةه فلذلك جُعلت الأشكال والتماثيل المحسوسة مشاهدة ليشتغل بها التخيل فيكون واسطة بينه وبين المعقول منها بالبرهان يتشغل بها الخيال لإنها من جنس ما يطلب برهانه فلا يكون له ممانعة وكل تعلّم فإنه يتم ويكمل بشغل الخيال بما يليق به من مرئي. يتم به الغرض في التعقل لألا يكون عائقا عما طلبته النفس.

65 خلاصة: إذا شغلت النفس قواها شعبها بما يليق بها من الإدراكات التي هي بحسبها كان حكمها إذ ذاك حكم مجرَّد عن المادة مستعد لقبول الصور من واهب الصور.

66 زيادة: إمكان التخصيص لقبول الفيض للنفوس كلها ولا تختلف إلا بالبعد والقرب فالإمكان البعيد محتاج إلى مخصص خارجي والإمكان القريب يقتضي التخصيص من ذاتها لذلك القبول.....

85 نكتة: النفس ووجودها مع البدن ولا جائز أن تكون موجودة قبله فإنها إذ ذاك لا يخلو إما أن تكون واحدة أو متكثرة فإن كانت واحدة لزم أن تكون مدركات الواحد مدركات الكل وبالعكس وهو محال وليس من الجائز أن يقال إنما اختلفت المدركات مع اتحاد النفس بسبب اختلاف أحوال الأبدان وتفاوتها في صفاء القوى وكدورتها وقد سبق أن ليس للنفس تعلق بالبدن ولا بأحواله إلا تعلق تدبير وسياسة وأن اختلاف حالات البدن مما لا يؤثر في جوهرها البتة بوجه وإن البدن لها كالآلة تستعمله في تحصيل إدراكات كلية من أمور جزئية حاصلة في الحواس

وإن كانت متكثرة فإما أن يقع بينها تمايز أو لا يقع فإن لم يقع فالتكثر محال وأما إن وقع فإما أن يكون لما هو داخل في حقيقتها أو لا والأول محال لإن حقيقتها متفقة وجوهرها متحد وليس حقيقتها قابلة لشيء داخل فيها ولا يكون امتيازها باللوازم فإن الحقيقة المتحدة لا يلزمها مختلفات متقابلة وقبل وجود البدن فلا عوارض مميزة واتحادها غير جائز قبل التصرف في البدن فإنها ليست بجسم ولا جسماني حتى تقبل القسمة فتتكثر وإذا بطل أن تكون واحدة وبطل أن تكون متكثرة بطل أن تكون موجودة فوجودهما معا.

86 نكتة: فقد تبين واتضح من أصول قدمتنا أن النفس الإنسانية التي هي محل المعقولات جوهر ليس بجسم ولا في جسم ولا يحتاج في قوام ذاته إلى جسم ولا في اسحفاظ الصور العقلية ولا في أفعالها المختصة بل تعلقها به ليكون آلة لها في تحصيل ما ترومه من الكمال فإذا حصل لها لم تحتج إليه واستغنت عنه وخاصة إذا صار لها قوة وملكة مستقرة على بلوغ كمالات من تعقلات، لا يقع لها فيها حاجة إلى شيء جسماني ولا التفات إلى عالم الأجسام البتة وقد ثبت أيضا أن علة وجودها باقية فإذا فسد البدن فقد قسد ما ليس لها إليه حاجة في وجودها ولا موجب لفساد ذاتها ولا منع أفعالها وتعقلاتها ومع ذلك فعلّة وجودها باقية وذلك موجب لبقاء النفس بعد فساد البدن.

87 نكتة: كل ما صح عليه الفساد فإنه قبل فساده يكون مستعدا للفساد ولما لم يكن الاستعداد مما يقوم بنفسه ولا بد له منه محل يقوم به والمحل لا بد من وجوده عند الفساد لإن الشيء الذي فيه قوة الفساد هو الذي يتصف بأنه الشيء الذي فسد فثبت أن كل ما يفسد فلا بد له من مادة والنفس لا مادة لها على ما سبق فهي لا تقبل الفساد.

88 نكتة: الشيء مهما لا يحدث مع إمكان حدوثه فإنما لا يحدث لكون إمكان حدوثه غير كاف في حصوله فإذن يكون حصوله متوقفا على شرائط فإذا لم توجد تلك الشرائط لا يوجد ذلك الشيء.

89 نكتة: ووجود البدن شرط لوجود النفس بغير شك وليس البدن شرطا في بقائها إذ لا يقع لها احتياج في ذلك ومهما فارقته عادمة للكمال حصل لها مكملات من دونه إذ لم يكن شرطا في تكميلها أيضا كما كان شرطا في وجودها وإذا لم يكن شرطا في تكميلها فلا غرو أن يحصل لها ذلك بعد مفارقته.

90 تتميم: الحيوانات لا تعقل ذواتها لعدم تجرد نفوسها وإنما إدراكها لذواتها بقواها الوهمية فلا تكون معقولة لها ونفس الإنسان إنما حصل لها تعقل ذاتها بتجردها ولإن عقلية الشيء هو نفس تجرده عن المادة وهذا هو ما يكون دليلا على بقاء النفوس الإنسانية

ولواهب العقل الحمد بلا نهاية. تمت الطبيعيات من كتاب النكت والفوائد. وصلى الله على محمد نبي الرحمة والهداية وهو حسبي.


1. On Ibn-Sn's thought, see my Philosophy of the Muslim World on this site, which replaces my La philosophie du monde arabe, auteurs et thèmes principales (Kinshasa: Les Facultés Catholiques, 1994).

2. "Ein Neuer Text zur Seelenlehre Avicennas," in V. Courtois, Avicenna commemoration volume (Calcutta: Iran Society, 1956), 147-178.

3. See The life of Ibn Sina, a critical edition and annotated translation by W.E. Gohlman (Albany: State U. of N.Y. Press, 1974), pp. 68-73.

4. This statement gives the impression that the soul knows through an intellective power, but elsewhere Ibn-Sn consistently says that the soul "knows by its essence", and that the soul essentially is an intellect. Cf. below, nos. 34 & 48; Awl an-nafs, ch. 7; `Uyn al-ikma, pp. 35, 38.

5. This section, those that follow, and all of his other works dealing with the human soul place Ibn-Sn unambiguously in the dualistic camp, ranging from Plato to Descartes. Although, in contrast to al-Frb (Mabdi' r', p. 34), Ibn-Sn denies the multiplicity of substantial forms in a thing (Awl an-nafs, ch. 11) and maintains that the soul acts as the form of the body (e.g. in ash-Shif', an-nafs, maqla 5, fal 4 = Awl an-nafs, ch. 9; cf. An-nukat wa-l-faw'id f `ilm a-ab`, pp. 158-161, Mabath `an al-quw n-nafsniyya, ch. 2), in maintaining that the soul and the body are separate substances he is illogical in denying the body its own form distinct from the soul.

6. This psychological argument is much amplified in Ibn-Sn's other works and bears a sharp resemblance to Descartes' "Je pense, donc je suis." Cf. al-Ishrt, nama 3, fal 1-4; ash-Shif': an-nafs, maqla 1, fal 1; Mas'il `an awl ar-r.

7. Ibn-Sn clearly opts for the position that one knows first an idea and secondarily the thing the idea represents. This is the fundamental error that runs through the history of idealism, as pointed out by Mortimer Adler in Ten philosophical mistakes (New York: Macmillan, 1985).

8. This passage is an adaptation of Qur'n 24:35: "Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The similitude of His light is as a niche wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass. The glass is as it were a shining star. This lamp is kindled from a blessed tree, an olive neither of the East nor of the West, whose oil would almost glow forth of itself though no fire touched it. Light upon light, Allah guides unto His light whom He wills. And Allah speaks to mankind in allegories, for Allah is Knower of all things." (Pickthall)

9. This presentation of five intellects differs from that of ash-Shif' (pp. 212-220); and an-Nukat wa-l-faw'id f l-`ilm a-ab`, 167), as the following correspondences show:
Ash-Shif':R. f l-udd/`uql:An-Nukat:The others:
Material intellect material material material
intellect in act habitual habitual habitual
habitual intellect in act acquired in act
acquired/holy intellect acquired in act --
agent intellect multiple agents agent agent

10. "Intuition" corresponds with Aristotle's (Posterior Analytics, I, 89 b10).

11. Ibn-Sn here introduces his illumination or infusion theory of the origin of intellectual knowledge, proposing an example to contradict the saying that "there is nothing in the intellect which was no first in the senses." As argued in n. 61, the acquisition of secondary principles is helped by the imagination, but this is only disposes the soul for illumination by the Agent Intellect.

12. Thomas Aquinas, discussing this very question in Summa theologiae, I, q. 89, art. 1, says that for followers of Plato the answer is simple: A separated soul goes back to its nature and understands intelligible things directly. Yet in that case, Thomas says, union with the body would do the soul no good, but only serve the body. Rather, the natural knowledge the separated soul has of intelligible things is only vague and general, unless it had gained specific knowledge of things while in the body.

13. This section shows the consequence of Ibn-Sn's dualistic idealism, pointed out above. The fact that one cannot in this life intuit the essences of things leads him to the sceptical opinion that we know nothing of their essences. Yet the properties of physical things reflect their nature and give us some true knowledge of what they are, even though this knowledge is not exhaustive. Especially of God and spiritual things we know more what they are not than what they are.

14. The idea of an outside Agent Intellect, one for all mankind, was a cornerstone of the teaching of the Arab philosophers, from al-Frb to Ibn-Rushd. It goes back to the Greek commentators, Alexander of Aphrodisia, Themistius etc. Thomas Aquinas argues in De unitate intellectus contra Averroistas that each individual person has his own agent intellect, and that this is the genuine thought of Aristotle. One may wonder at Ibn-Sn's exaltation of the agent intellect as the Holy Spirit which, on the one hand, is the mediator of all that God does in this world, giving both physical forms to natural things and intelligible forms to human minds, and on the other hand is man's goal, since human happiness consists in being joined perfectly to the Agent Intellect in the afterlife (nos. 62 & 63 below; Mabath `an al-quw n-nafsnsiyya, ch. 10; Risla f l-kalm `al n-nafs an-niqa). In Risala a-alt, Ibn-Sn explains that the bodily motions of prayer are directed to the sphere of the moon which is managed by the Agent Intellect; because of this prayer the Agent Intellect descends upon the soul (p. 11-12). All this raises the spectrum of shirk.

15. In this section Ibn-Sn throws some light on the distinct positive and negative functions of the senses and imagination. They are on the one hand necessary for the acquisition of knowledge, especially mathematics, while on the other hand they can hold a person back from the full exercise of reason; see below, n. 64.

16. Ibn-Sn does not in this work raise the question how the soul retains its individuality after separation from the body. He takes up this question in ash-Shif', an-nafs, maqla 5, fal 3, where he says that it is an order or configuration (hay'a) of the soul or a power or spiritual accident or a combination of these. It could also be a difference of intellectual knowledge, self-consciousness of difference in bodily powers or other factors which we may not know of. Since for him the soul is an independent substance, it cannot retain any relationship to a body and thus be marked by a relationship to "matter designated by quantity", which is the principle of individuation for Thomas Aquinas.