You are on page 1of 12

Avicenna (Ibn Sina

)
THE METAPHYSICS
BOOK IX, CHAPTER IV
A parallel Latin-English text from Avicenna’s
LIBER DE PHILOSOPHIA PRIMA SIVE SCIENTIA DIVINA,
which was originally translated from the METAPHYSICS portion
of Avicenna’s THE HEALING (i.e., the AL-ILAHIYYAT of the AL-SHIFA).
Translated from the Latin by JT Paasch.
Last updated April 2, 2009
Note:
The Latin text is taken from Van Riet’s critical edition in Avicenna Latinus:
Liber de Philosophia Prima sive Scientia Divina, Libri V-X (E. J. Brill, Leiden,
and Louvain, Peeters: 1980). Van Riet’s page numbers are marked between
forward slashes, e.g., /483/. I have added a basic apparatus to the Latin text
to indicate a few crucial variants not present in Van Riet’s edition, and to
indicate where the Latin text differs significantly from Michael Marmura’s
translation of the Arabic text in The Metaphysics of the Healing (Provo, Utah:
Brigham Young University Press, 2005). References to ‘Fabr. 1508‘ are to the
edition by Caecilius Fabrianensis of Avicenna’s Opera that were translated
into Latin (Venice, 1508; reprinted by Frankfurt: Minerva, 1961).
Typeset in TexShop with Latex, ledmac, and ledpar.
CAPITULUM IV
DE ORDINATIONE ESSE INTELLIGENTIAE
ET ANIMARUM CAELESTIUM ET CORPORUM SUPERIORUM A PRIMO
/476/ Iam certum est nobis ex supradictis quod necesse esse per se unum est
5 et quod non est corpus nec in corpore nec dividitur aliquo modo, et quod
esse omnium quae sunt est ab eo et quod non potest habere principium ullo
modo nec causam, scilicet nec a qua est res, nec in qua est res, nec per
quam est res, nec propter quam est, ita ut ipse sit propter aliquid. Unde non
potest esse ut esse omnium ab illo sit secundum viam intentionis ab illo,
10 quemadmodum est nobis intentio in /477/ his omnibus quae fiunt a nobis:
tunc enim ipse esset intendens propter aliquid aliud praeter se. Iam autem
expediti sumus ab hoc in aliis quae sunt extra eum, scilicet quod nulla res
intendit aliquid quod sit inferius se; in eo autem hoc evidentius est. Sed
quod proprium sit ei non habere intentionem ut esse omnium sit ab eo,
15 ratio haec est scilicet quia hoc induceret multitudinem in sua essentia. Tunc
enim esset in eo aliquid propter quod intenderet, scilicet quia vel cognitio
eius vel scientia eius faceret debere intendi quia indigeret ea, vel bonitas
quae esset in ea faceret debere hoc, denique intentio alicuius utilitatis quae
prodessit ei, sicut iam praediximus. Hoc autem absurdum est. Omne enim
20 esse quod est ab eo non est secundum viam naturae ad hoc ut esse omnium
sit ab eo non per cognitionem nec per beneplacitum eius: quomodo enim
hoc esse posset, cum ipse sit intelligentia pura quae intelligit seipsum? Et
ideo necesse est ut intelligat sequi ipsum ut esse omnium sit ab eo [. . .]
inquantum ipse est principium eius, et in sua essentia non sit prohibens
25 hoc eo quod eventus omnium sit ab eo, sic quod sua essentia est sciens quod
11–15 Iam autem expediti sumus . . . induceret multitudinem in sua essentia. ] The Arabic
says: ‘This part [of our metaphysical doctrine] we have established in another place; therein
it is also manifest. We have endowed [the argument] with the special characteristic of
showing the impossibility of His intending the existence of the whole [that proceeds] from
Him, in that this would lead to a multiplicity in His essence’ (translation from Marmura,
The Metaphysics of the Healing, p. 326, lines 25-29). 22–24 Et ideo . . . est principium eius ]
The Arabic text says: ‘Hence, He must intellectually apprehend that the existence from Him
of the whole is a necessary consequence of Himself, because He apprehends Himself only
intellectually, as a pure intellect and first principle. He only intellectually apprehends the
existence of the whole [proceeding] from Him in being its principle’. (Translation from
Marmura, The Metaphysics of the Healing, p. 327, lines 4-9.)
2
CHAPTER 4
ON THE ORIGINATION OF THE EXISTENCE OF THE INTELLIGENCES
AND THE SUPERIOR CELESTIAL SOULS AND BODIES FROM THE FIRST CAUSE
/476/ Now, it is certain to us from what we said before that He
1
who has
‘necessary being’ in Himself is one; that He is not a body, nor in a body, nor 5
divisible in any way; that the existence of all things that exist comes from
Him; and that He cannot have a principle or cause in any way – that is, there
is nothing from which, in which, through which, or on account of which
He is a thing, so He does not exist ‘in virtue of’ anything else. Whence, it
cannot be the case that the existence of all the things that come from Him 10
comes about by way of Him intending it (like how we intend /477/ all the
things that we make), for then He would be intending this on account of
something else beyond Himself. Now, we have explained about other things
(outside Him) that nothing intends something that’s inferior to itself, but
this is even more evident in Him. It is proper for Him not to have an 15
intention that results in the existence of all the things that come from Him,
for this would introduce multiplicity into His essence. For then there would
be in Him something on account of which He would intend this. That is,
His cognition or knowledge would make Him intend this because He would
need it, or the goodness in Him would cause an intention for something 20
that would be useful to Him, as we said before. But this is absurd, for the
existence that comes forth from Him does not come forth by way of nature,
so the existence of all that comes forth from Him does not come forth from
His cognition or good pleasure. For how could that even be, since He is a
pure intelligence who understands Himself? For this reason, it is necessary 25
1
Strictly speaking, I should say ‘It’ instead of ‘He’, but Avicenna clearly thinks this
‘necessary being’ is God, and besides, Avicenna mentions too many other ‘its’ here, so I’ll
use ‘He’ to refer to this ‘necessary being’ (God) in order to avoid any confusion.
3
sua perfectio et sua excellentia est ut /478/ fluat ab eo bonitas, et hoc est de
comitantibus suam gloriam quam ipse diligit per seipsum.
Omnis autem essentia quae scit quod provenit ex ea, nec admiscetur ei
impedimentum aliquod, sed est quemadmodum iam ostendimus, placet ei
30 id quod provenit ex ea; igitur primo placuit ut ex sua essentia flueret omne
quod est. Veritatis autem primae non est sua prima actio nisi per essentiam.
Ipse enim intelligit suam essentiam et quod sua essentia est principium
ordinis bonitatis in esse, [. . .] quemadmodum oportet esse, non intellectu
procedente de potentia ad effectum, nec intellectu qui movetur de uno intel-
35 lecto ad aliud. Eius enim essentia immunis est ab omni quod est in potentia
omnino, sicut iam supra ostendimus, sed ipse est intelligens omnia ut unum
simul, et ex hoc quod intelligit, sequitur ordinatio bonitatis in esse, et in-
telligit qualiter est possibile et qualiter est elegantius provenire esse totius
secundum iudicium sui intellecti. Certitudo autem intellecta apud eum est
40 ipsa, sicut nosti, scientia, potentia et voluntas. Nos enim ad exsequendum
quod imaginamus, indigemus intentione, motu et voluntate ad hoc ut sit; in
ipso autem hoc non est conveniens, nec potest esse propter suam immunita-
tem a dualitate, in cuius probatione iam multum desudavimus; igitur ipse
intelligit se esse causam secundum quod intelligit illud.
33 [. . .] quemadmodum oportet esse ] The Arabic says this: ‘He thus intellectually appre-
hends the order of the good in existence and how this ought to be’ (Translation from
Marmura, The Metaphysics of the Healing, p. 327, lines 20-21) 39–40 Certitude autem . . .
et voluntas. ] The Arabic says this: ‘For the reality that is intellectually apprehended with
Him is itself, as you have known, knowledge, power, and will’ (translation from Marmura,
The Metaphysics of the Healing, p. 327, lines 30-31). 41–42 in ipso autem hoc non est
conveniens ] Van Riet’s critical edition has this: ‘in ipso autem hoc est conveniens’. I have
followed Fabr., 1508: f. 104vA, line 40, which says ‘In ipso autem hoc non est conveniens’.
The Arabic text also puts it as Fabr. does (see Marmura’s English translation, The Meta-
physics of the Healing, p. 327, lines 33-34). Clearly, the argument demands this reading.
Unfortunately, Van Riet does not indicate this variant in his apparatus (Van Riet, Avicenna
Latinus, Liber de Prima Philosophia, Libri V-X, p. 478, line 81).
4
that He understands the existence of everything that comes forth from Him
[. . .] only insofar as He is its source, and in His essence there is nothing
to prohibit that everything that comes forth from Him actually comes forth
from Him. In this way, His essence knows that His perfection and excellence
is such that /478/ goodness might flow from Him, and this accompanies His 30
glory, which He loves in itself.
But as for every essence that knows what comes forth from it, there is no
impediment mixed in to it, but rather it is how we have shown: that which
comes forth from it pleases it. Therefore, it pleased the first cause that
everything which exists flowed from His essence. However, the first action 35
of the First Truth occurs only through His essence. For He understands His
essence and that His essence is the source of the order of goodness in exis-
tence, [. . .] and how this ought to be. But this does not happen by an act of
understanding that proceeds from potency into effect, nor by an act of un-
derstanding that moves from one understanding to another. For His essence 40
is immune to everything that is in potency in any way, just as we showed
above. Rather, He understands everything simultaneously as one, and from
this which He understands, there follows the origination of goodness in ex-
istence, and He understands how this is possible and more elegant for the
existence of everything to come forth according to the judgment of His in- 45
tellect. That which, with certitude, is understood along with Him, is this (as
you know): knowledge, power, and will. For when it comes to the things
that come forth from us, we imagine and need them by intention, motion,
and will so that they might come to exist. But this does not belong to Him,
nor can it on account of His immunity to duality, the proof of which we have 50
5
45 /479/ Esse autem quod est ab eo est secundum viam consquendi et co-
mitandi eius esse, non quod eius esse sit propter esse aliquid aliud a se,
quoniam ipse est agens omne quod est hac intentione quia ipse est ens a
quo fluit quicquid est, fluxu discrete ab eius essentia. Sed, quod esse om-
nis eius quod fit a primo non est nisi secundum viam comitandi, si certum
50 fuerit quod necesse esse per se est necesse esse omnibus suis modis (iam
expediti sumus ab hoc in praecedentibus), igitur ea quae primo sunt ab eo
— et haec sunt creata — non possunt esse multa nec numero nec divisione
in materiam et formam, quoniam id quod sequitur ex eo, est ab eius essen-
tia, non ab alio aliquo. Modus autem et iudicium de hoc quod est in eius
55 essentia, secundum quem sequitur ab eo hoc, non est modus et iudicium
secundum quod sequeretur ex eo non hoc, sed aliud ab hoc. Si enim pro-
venirent ab eo duae res discretae per existentiam, vel duae res discretae ex
quibus fit unum, sicut materia et forma, comitantia simul, illae non prove-
nirent nisi ex duobus modis diversis in eius essentia. Si autem illi duo modi
60 essent non in eius essentia, sed comitantes eius essentiam, tunc remaneret
quaestio de comitantia istorum duorum, quousque essent de sua essentia, et
sic ipsa esset divisibilis in intellectu: iam autem prohibuimus hoc antea et
ostendimus destructionem eius. Manifestum est igitur quod primum eorum
quae sunt a causa prima unum numero est, et eius essentia et eius quidditas
65 est unitas, non in materia. Unde nihil corporum vel formarum quae sunt
perfectiones corporum est causatum eius propinquum, quia primum causa-
tum est intelligentia pura, quia est forma non in materia, et ipsa est prima
intelligentiarum /480/ separatarum, quas numeravimus. Videtur autem ipsa
esse principium movens corpus ultimum secundum viam desiderii.
70 Potest autem aliquis dicere quia id quod fit a primo non prohibetur esse
6
already labored so hard to establish. Therefore, He understands Himself to
be the cause, according to which He understands that which comes forth
from Him.
/479/ Now, the existence that comes forth from Him exists by way of
‘following-from’ and ‘accompanying’ His existence. This is not because He 55
has existence on account of something other than His own self, for He ac-
tualizes everything that comes to be by His thought, since He is the entity
from whom anything that exists flows by a flowing-forth that is discrete
from His essence. So the existence of everything that comes forth from the
first cause exists only by way of ‘accompaniment’. And if it were certain 60
that He who is a ‘necessary being’ in Himself is a ‘necessary being’ in all His
ways (and indeed it is certain, as we explained before), then the first of those
things that come forth from Him — and these are created — cannot be many,
neither in number nor by division into matter and form, for that which
follows from Him is from His essence and not from something else. But 65
the mode and judgment in His essence from which this first created thing
comes into being is not the same mode and judgment by which not this
first created thing but rather something else comes into being. For if there
came forth from Him two things with discrete existences, or two discrete
things that together made one thing (like matter and form simultaneously 70
accompanying each other), they would only come forth from two diverse
modes in His essence. But if those two modes were not in His essence but
rather accompanied His essence, there would still be a question about how
and to what extent those two accompanied His essence; and besides, then
He would be divisible by the understanding. But we prohibited this before, 75
and we made its destruction known. Therefore, it is obvious that the first
of those things that come from the first cause is one in number, and there
is unity in its essence and quiddity, and it is not in matter. Whence, the
first cause does not immediately cause anything that belongs to bodies or
forms that are the perfections of bodies, for what the first cause causes 80
first is a pure intelligence, for it is a form that is not in matter, and it is the
first of the separated /480/ intelligences that we enumerated previously.
However, it seems that this first intelligence is the principle mover of the
outermost body by way of being desired.
However, someone could say that there’s nothing to prohibit that which 85
7
forma materialis, sed ex ea sequitur esse suae materiae. Ad quod dico quod
hoc faceret debere ut ea quae sunt post hanc formam et hanc materiam,
essent tertia in ordine causatorum, et esset eorum esse mediante materia, et
sic materia esset causa essendi formas corporum quae sunt multa in mundo
75 et suarum virium. Hoc autem est inconveniens, eo quod suum esse mate-
riae est esse receptibile tantum, nec est causa essendi aliquid nisi secundum
viam receptionis. Si autem aliqua ex materiis non est sic, tunc non est ma-
teria nisi communione nominis. Si autem fuerit res posita stabilis non ad
modum materiae nisi communione nominis, tunc primi causati comparatio
80 ad eum non erit inquantum est forma in materia nisi communione nominis.
Si vero fuerit hoc secundum sic ut eo modo quo ab eo est materia sit quid-
dam, et eo modo quo ab eo est forma sit quiddam aliud, ita ut alia forma
non habeat esse mediante materia, tunc forma materialis erit sic quod aget
actionem in qua non indiget materia; quicquid autem agit suam actionem
85 non indigens materia, ipsum per seipsum est non indigens materia. Igitur
forma materialis non indiget materia, et omnino, quamvis forma materia-
lis sit causa materiae extrahens eam ad effectum et perficiens eam, tamen
materia habet impressionem in esse illius, et hoc est ipsam appropriari et
signari. Si autem principium essendi fuerit de non materia, sicut iam nosti,
90 tunc sine dubio erit unumquodque eorum causa alterius secundum aliquid,
et non uno modo. Si vero non fuerit ita, tunc destruetur formam materia-
lem pendere de materia ullo modo. Similiter etiam supradiximus quod ad
suum esse materiae non sufficit forma tantum, sed forma est ut partialis
causa. Postquam autem ita est, tunc sola forma non potest poni causa mate-
95 riae omnino /481/ sufficiens per se. Palam igitur non posse esse ut primum
causatum sit forma materialis; sed quod non sit materia manifestius est. Ne-
cessarium est igitur ut causatum primum sit forma non materialis omnino,
scilicet intelligentia.
73 essent tertia in ordine causatorum] Marmura translates the Arabic like this: ‘successi-
vely [lower] in the ranks of effects’ (The Metaphysics of the Healing, p. 328, line 34).
8
the first cause made from being a material form,
2
and then the existence
of its matter could come forth from it rather than from the first cause.
To this, I say that those things which come after this form and this matter
would be third in the order of God’s effects, and the existence of those
things would then be mediated by matter, so matter would be the cause of 90
the existence of (i) the forms of the many bodies in the world, and of (ii)
their powers. But this is inappropriate, because the existence that belongs to
matter is only that of receptability, so matter is only the cause of something’s
existence by way of reception. But if ‘things are made from matter’ does
not mean this, then we’re talking about ‘matter’ only in name. And if the 95
proposed permanent thing
3
exists in the manner of ‘matter’ only in name,
then to say that God’s first effect
4
is related to it as a form that’s embodied
in ‘matter’ is just to make a comparison in name too. But suppose it were like
this: in a certain way, matter would come forth from God’s first effect, and
then in a certain other way a second form would come forth from it, such 100
that when the first form produced the second form, the second form would
acquire its existence without the mediation of the first form’s matter. In
this case, the material form of God’s first effect would perform an action
for which it does not need matter, and since anything that performs its action
without the need for matter does not itself need matter in the first place, it 105
follows that the material form of God’s first effect would not need matter
at all. In general then, even though a material form is a cause of matter,
namely by drawing it into actuality and perfecting it, matter still plays a role
in the existence of that form, for a material form is only instantiated and
designated in matter. However, if the principle of existence is not solely 110
from matter, as you know, then without doubt matter and form will each be
the cause of the other in their own ways, not in one way. And if this were
not so, then any dependence that a material form has on matter would be
destroyed. Similarly, we said above that form alone is not sufficient for the
existence of matter. Rather, form is a partial cause. But with this being so, 115
then form alone cannot be postulated as the entire cause, /481/ sufficient by
2
Here, a ‘material form’ is a form that must be embodied in matter. Any form that is
capable of existing apart from matter would not be a material form.
3
I.e., the body of the outermost celestial sphere.
4
I.e., the first intelligence that emanates directly from God.
9
Tu scis autem quod hic sunt intelligentiae et animae separatae multae.
100 Unde esse eorum non potest esse acquisitum ab aliquo mediante quod non
sit separatum. Item nosti quod, in universitate eorum quae sunt a primo,
sunt corpora, et nosti quod omne corpus est possibile esse quantum in se,
et quod necessarium est per aliud a se, et nosti non esse illis viam essendi
a primo absque mediante aliquo: sunt igitur ex ipso, sed mediante aliquo,
105 et nosti quod medium non est unitas pura; nosti etiam quod ex uno, se-
cundum quod est unum, non est nisi unum. Necesse est igitur ut ex primo
causatis propter esse eorum sint alia in quibus oportet esse necessitatem et
multitudinem, quomodocumque evenerit. Intelligentiis enim separatis non
potest esse aliqua multitudo nisi quemadmodum dicam, quoniam causatum
110 per se est possibile esse in seipso, propter primum autem est necessarium
esse. Sed necessitas sui esse est secundum quod est intelligentia, et intelligit
seipsum et intelligit primum necessario. Unde oportet ut sit in eo multitudo
ex hoc quod intelligit se quod est possibile esse quantum in /482/ se, et ex
hoc quod intelligit necessitatem sui esse a primo quod est intellectum per se
115 [. . .]. Non est autem ei multitudo ex primo. Nam possibilitas sui esse est ei
quiddam propter se, non propter primum, sed est ei a primo necessitas sui
esse, et deinde multiplicatur per hoc quod intelligit primum et per hoc quod
105 medium non est unitas pura ] The Arabic adds: ‘having no duality’ (see Marmura, The
Metaphysics of the Healing, English translation, p. 330, lines 1-2; Van Riet also notes this,
Avicenna Latinus: Liber de Prima Philosophia, Libri V-X, p. 483, variant for line 50). 106–
108 Necesse est igitur . . . evenerit. ] The Arabic says: ‘Hence, it is only right that [the body]
proceeds from the first innovated things by reason of a duality or a plurality —- in whatever
form —- that must necessarily be in them’ (translation from Marmura, The Metaphysics
of the Healing, p. 330, lines 3-6). 109–111 quoniam causatum per se . . . necessarium
esse. ] The Arabic says: ‘The effect in itself is possible of existence and, through the First, is
necessary of existence’ (translation from Marmura, The Metaphysics of the Healing, p. 330,
lines 8-9). 112–115 Unde oportet . . . per se [. . .] ] The Arabic says: ‘Hence, there must be
in it, by way of plurality, the meaning [(a)] of its intellectual apprehension of its essence as
being, within its own bound, possible of existence; [(b)] of its intellectual apprehension of
its necessary existence, through the First, that intellectually apprehends itself; and [(c)] of
its own intellectual apprehension of the First’ (translation from Marmura, The Metaphysics
of the Healing, p. 330, lines 11-16).
10
itself, of matter. Therefore, it plainly cannot be the case that God’s first
effect is a material form. And it’s even more obvious that it’s not matter by
itself, without form. Therefore, it is necessary that the first caused thing is
a form that is not a material form in any way —- namely an intelligence. 120
But you know that here there are many separated intelligences and souls.
Whence, their existence cannot be acquired by some intermediary which is
not itself separated. Moreover, you know that in the totality of those things
which come from the first cause, there are bodies, and you know that ev-
ery body is a possible being in itself, and it is necessary by something other 125
than itself, and you know that no existence comes to those things by way of
coming from the first cause without some intermediary. Therefore, they
come from the first cause, but by some intermediary, and you know that
an intermediary is not a pure unity. For you know that from one thing,
insofar as it is one, comes only one other thing. Therefore, it is necessary 130
that for the existence of the things that are caused by the first cause, there
are other things in which there must be necessity and multiplicity, however
it might have come forth. For there cannot be any multiplicity in the sep-
arated intelligences except in the way I say, for what is caused per se
5
has
possible existence in itself, though it has necessary existence on account of 135
the first cause. But the necessity of its existence comes in virtue of the
fact that it is an intelligence, for it understands itself and it understands the
first necessary being. Whence, it is necessary that there is multiplicity in it
from this: that it understands that it has possible existence in /482/ itself,
5
Effects can be caused per se or per accidens. Roughly speaking, the primary effect of
an action is the per se effect, and any side effects are per accidens effects. For example,
Socrates’ parents produce Socrates per se, but they produce his paleness per accidens.
11
intelligit seipsum, tali multiplicatione quae est comitans esse suae unitatis
ex primo. Nos autem non prohibemus ex uno esse essentiam unam, quam
120 postea sequatur multitudo relativa quae non est ei in principio sui esse nec
est intrans in principio suae constitutionis; et potest concedi esse unum ex
quo proveniat unum, et deinde hoc unum comitetur iudicium et dispositio,
vel proprietas vel causatum, et illud etiam fit unum. Sed, propter commu-
nicationem illius comitantis, sequatur ex eo aliquid propter quod proveniat
125 multitudo omnis varians eius essentiam. Oportet igitur ut huiusmodi mul-
titudo sit causa possibilitatis essendi aliam multitudinem simul a causato
primo. Si enim non esset haec multitudo, profecto non esset possibile esse
ab eo nisi unum, nec esset possibile esse ab eo corpus, et omnino non esset
ibi possibilitas multitudinis nisi hoc modo tantum. Iam autem manifestum
130 est nobis ex praedictis quod intelligentiae separatae sunt plures numero.
Igitur non habent esse simul ex primo, sed necesse est ut excellentior omni-
bus illis sit esse quod primum est ex eo, post quod sequitur intelligentia et
intelligentia.
118–119 tali multiplicatione quae est comitans esse suae unitatis ex primo ] The Arabic doe-
sn’t mention unity here. Rather, it says that this multiplicity ‘is a necessary consequence
of its necessary existence from the First’ (translation from Marmura, The Metaphysics of
the Healing, p. 330, lines 20-21). 119–123 Nos autem . . . et illud etiam fit unum] The
Arabic says: ‘We do not disallow that from one thing there should be one essence followed
thereafter by an additional plurality that was neither in its first existence nor included in
the principle of its subsistence. Rather, it is possible that from the one [only] one proceeds
necessarily, and that then this [latter] one will have as a necessary consequence either a
governing rule, a state, an attribute, or an effect which would also be one’ (translation
from Marmura, The Metaphysics of the Healing, p. 330, lines 21-26). 123–125 Sed, prop-
ter communicationem . . . proveniat multitudo omnis varians eius essentiam] The Arabic
says: ‘Then, with the association of this, there would necesssarily proceed from it some-
thing, whereby a plurality follows — all of which is a necessary consequence of its essence’
(translation from Marmura, The Metaphysics of the Healing, p. 330, lines 27-29). 125–
127 Oportet igitur . . . simul a causata primo ] The Arabic says: ‘It follows necessarily, then,
that the likes of this plurality is the cause of the possibility of having plurality in [the
emanated things] from the first effects’ (translation from Marmura, The Metaphysics of the
Healing, p. 330, lines 29-31).
12
and that it understands that the necessity of its existence comes from the 140
first cause who is understood by Himself [. . .]. But there is no multiplicity
in it from the first cause. For the possibility of its existence belongs to it
in itself, not on account of the first cause, while the necessity of its exis-
tence belongs to it from the first cause, and thereafter it is diversified by
the fact that it understands the first cause, and by the fact that it under- 145
stands itself, for such a diversification accompanies the existence of its unity
from the first cause. But we do not deny that from one being, there can
come one other essence, from which there may follow afterwards a rela-
tive multiplicity which does not belong to it from the source of its existence,
nor is intrinsic to the source of its constitution. And we could concede 150
that there is one being from which a second being may come forth, and
thereafter a single judgment and disposition —- whether it is a necessary
property of or whether it is caused by its possessor —- might accompany
this second being. But, on account of this second being having this ac-
companying judgment or disposition, there may follow from it something 155
on account of which there may come forth all multitude, diversifying its
essence.
6
Therefore, it is necessary that this sort of multiplicity
7
is the cause
of the possibility of the existence of other multiplicity
8
simultaneously from
God’s first effect. For if there were not this multiplicity, there certainly
would only be one thing with possible existence that comes from it, and no 160
6
The scenario here is this: a simple x produces some y, and then y has a single thought
F. Here, x is simple, and initially, y is too. But when y has its thought F, that introduces
diversity into y, for now we can distinguish a discrete thought F within y. And once we
have this diversity, more diversity can follow.
7
I.e., the multiplicity of this ‘second being’ plus its judgment or disposition.
8
I.e., the multiplicity of everything else in the universe.
13
/483/ Sub unaquaque autem intelligentia est caelum cum sua materia et
135 sua forma, quae est anima et intelligentia inferius ea. Igitur sub omni intelli-
gentia sunt tria in esse; unde oportet ut possibilitas esendi haec tria sit ab illa
intelligentia prima in creatione propter trinitatem quae est nominata in ea,
et nobile sequitur ex nobiliore multis modis. Igitur ex prima intelligentia,
inquantum intelligit primum, sequitur esse alterius intelligentiae inferioris
140 ea, et inquantum intelligit seipsam, sequitur ex ea forma caeli ultimi et eius
perfectio et haec est anima, et propter naturam essendi possibile quae est ei
et quae est retenta inquantum intelligit seipsam, est esse corporeitatis caeli
ultimi quae est contenta in totalitate caeli ultimi. Unde ipsa et id quod est
commune virtuti sunt sic quod ex ipsa sequitur intelligentia, et ex eo quod
145 est commune virtuti, inquantum appropriatur sibi ipsi secundum modum
suum, sequitur sphaera prima cum suis partibus duabus, scilicet materia et
forma; materia autem est mediante forma et consortio eius, sicut possibili-
tas essendi trahit ad effectum id quod est apud eam, /484/ scilicet formam
caeli. Similiter est dispositio in intelligentia et intelligentia, et in caelo et
150 caelo, quousque pervenitur ad intelligentiam agentem quae gubernat nostras
animas.
138 nobile sequitur ex nobiliore multis modis ] The Arabic says: ‘the best follows the best
in many ways’ (translation from Marmura, The Metaphysics of the Healing, p. 331, lines
4-5). 141–143 quae est ei . . . totalitate caeli ultimi. ] The Arabic says: ‘enfolded in [the act
of] intellectually apprehending itself, is the existence of the corporeality of the outermost
sphere, enfolded in the entity of the outermost sphere, [taken as] a species’ (translation
from Marmura, The Metaphysics of the Healing, p. 331, lines 10-13). 143–146 Unde ipsa
. . . suis partibus duabus ] The Arabic says: ‘This [possibility] is the thing that has a sharing
in common with potentiality. Thus, inasmuch as it intellectually apprehends the First, there
follows necessarily from it an intellect; and, inasmuch as in one respect [its intellection is
applied] specifically to itself, there follows necessarily from it the first multiplicity in its
two parts’ (translation from Marmura, The Metaphysics of the Healing, p. 331, lines 13-17).
14
possible body would come forth from it, and there would only be here a
possible multitude in this way.
9
However, it is obvious to us from what has
been said that the separated intelligences are many in number. Therefore,
they do not have existence simultaneously from the first, but it is necessary
that the more excellent of all those things is the first to have existence from 165
the first cause, after which there follows intelligence after intelligence.
/483/ Now, under each intelligence, there is a heavenly sphere with its
matter and its form (which is its soul), and an inferior intelligence. There-
fore, under each intelligence there are three things in existence. Whence, it
is necessary that the possibility of the existence of these three be in creation 170
from that first intelligence on account of the triad of thoughts which we
named in it above, so that the noble follows from the more noble in many
ways. Therefore, from the first intelligence, (i) insofar as it understands the
first cause, there follows the existence of another intelligence inferior to
it; (ii) and insofar as it understands itself, there follows from it the form 175
and perfection of its outermost sphere, and this is the soul of that sphere;
(iii) and on account of the nature of being possible, which belongs to it and
which is retained insofar as it understands itself, there is the existence of
all the corporeity of the outermost sphere which is contained in the total-
ity of the outermost sphere. Whence, the first intelligence, as well as that 180
which exists by common power, is such that from that first intelligence,
another intelligence follows, and from that which exists by common power
(insofar as that power belongs to it in the appropriate way that suits its own
manner of being), follows the first sphere with its two parts, namely its
matter and form. However, the matter only exists by the mediation of or 185
partnership with the form, just as the matter’s possibility of existing draws
9
That is, there could only be many things in the sense that there could only be a chain
of causes and effects, where the first cause produces only one effect, and that effect in turn
produces only one effect, and so on.
15
Non oportet autem ut hoc procedat in infinitum, ita ut sub unoquoque
separato sit separatum. Dico enim quod, si ex intelligentia provenit esse
multitudinis, tunc erit hoc propter intentiones multitudinis quae sunt in ea,
155 sed non convertitur ita ut in unaquaque intelligentia sit haec multitudo et
quod eius multitudinem sequantur haec causata, nec hae intelligentiae sunt
convenientes in specie ita ut iudicia suarum intentionum sint convenientia.
Igitur incipiamus ostendere hanc intentionem alio modo.
Dico igitur quod caeli sunt multi supra numerum qui est in primo cau-
160 sato, quantum ad multitudinem eius praedictam, et praecipue cum unum-
quodque caelum dividitur in suam materiam et in suam formam. Igitur
non potest esse principium eorum unum quod sit causatum primum. Nec
etiam potest esse ut unumquodque corporum sit causa eius quo est prius:
corpus enim ex hoc quod est corpus non potest esse principium corporis.
165 Nec ex hoc quod habet virtutem animalem, potest esse principium animae
in alio corpore: nos enim iam ostendiums quod anima cuiusque caeli est
eius perfectio et eius forma, nec est substantia separata; alioquin, esset intel-
ligentia, non anima, nec moveret ullo modo nisi ad modum desiderii, nec
contingeret in ea variatio ex motu corporis, nec ex consortio corporis con-
170 tingeret imaginatio et aestimatio. Consideratio autem iam perduxit nos ad
stabiliendum has dispositiones in animabus caelorum, sicut nosti.
155–156 sed non convertitur . . . haec causata ] Van Riet’s critical edition has ‘sed conver-
titur . . . haec causata’, but I have followed Fabr. 1508, f. 105rA, line 16, which has ‘sed
non convertitur . . . haec causata’. The Arabic also uses the negative: ‘This statement of
ours [however] is not convertible whereby every intellect having this multiplicity would
have to have, as a necessary consequence of its multiplicity, these effects’ (translation from
Marmura, The Metaphysics of the Healing, p. 331, lines 26-29, emphasis added). Again, Van
Riet does not offer this variant (see Van Riet, Avicenna Latinus: Liber de Prima Philosophia,
Libri V-X, p. 484, line 3). 165 habet virtutem animalem] The Arabic says: ‘has a psycho-
logical power’ (translation from Marmura, The Metaphysics of the Healing, p. 331, lines
38-39).
16
into effect that which exists with it, /484/ namely the form of the heavenly
sphere. In a similar way, this disposition passes from intelligence to intelli-
gence, and from sphere to sphere, until we arrive at the agent intelligence
who governs our souls. 190
However, this process cannot go on infinitely such that under each sep-
arate intelligence, there is still another separate intelligence. For I say that
if a multitude came into existence from an intelligence, this would be be-
cause that intelligence has many thoughts. But this is not passed along such
that in each intelligence there would be this same sort of multiplicity of 195
thoughts and effects
10
that follow from that multpilicity of thoughts. Nor
do these intelligences agree in species, so that their thoughts might agree.
But we shall try to show this point in another way.
I say, therefore, that there are many more heavenly spheres than the
number in God’s first effect, insofar as the multiplicity that I just men- 200
tioned is concerned, and especially for each heavenly sphere which is di-
vided into its matter and into its form. Therefore, there cannot be one
source —- i.e., God’s first effect —- for all those things. Nor can it be that
each of the bodies is caused by the body that’s prior to it. For insofar as
it is a body, a body cannot be the source of another body. And from the 205
fact that it has animal power, it cannot be the source of a soul in another
body. For we showed that the soul of each heavenly sphere is its perfection
and its form, and it’s not a separated substance. Otherwise, it would be an
intelligence, not a soul, nor would it move anything in any way except by
being desired, nor would it have any variation from the motion of a body, 210
nor would it have any imagination and estimation from its partnership with
the body. But this consideration led us to ascribe these dispositions to the
souls of the heavenly spheres, as you know.
10
I.e., the body and soul (matter and form) of a celestial sphere.
17
/485/ Si autem res ita fuerit, tunc non poterit esse ut ex animabus cae-
lorum proveniant actiones in aliis corporibus, nisi mediantibus suis corpo-
ribus. Formae enim corporum et eorum perfectiones sunt duobus modis.
175 Aut enim sunt formae quarum existentiae sunt propter materias corporum,
et ideo existentia eorum est in materiis illorum corporum; et ob hoc, calor
ignis non calefacit quidlibet, sed quod fuerit obvians suo corpori vel secun-
dum comparationem sui corporis; similiter, sol non illuminat quidlibet, sed
quod fuerit oppositum suo corpori. Aut sunt formae quarum existentiae sunt
180 per seipsas, non propter materias corporum sicut animae, quia unaquaeque
anima non appropriatur corpori nisi quia eius actio est propter illud corpus
et in illo; si autem anima esset separatae essentiae et actionis utriusque ab
illo corpore, tunc esset anima omnis rei, non anima illius tantum corpo-
ris. Iam igitur manifestum est secundum omnes modos quod vires caelestes
185 quae sunt impressae in suis corporibus non agunt nisi mediantibus suis cor-
poribus. Absurdum est autem ut agant animam mediante corpore: corpus
enim non potest esse medium inter animam et animam. Si autem illae
agunt animas absque mediantibus corporibus, tunc habent solitariam exi-
stentiam absque corpore et appropriationem et actionem separatam a sua
190 essentia et ab essentia corporis: hoc autem est praeter propositum. Si autem
non agit illud anima, tunc multo minus agit illud corpus caeleste; anima
enim antecellit corpus in ordine et perfectione.
/486/ Quod autem in unoquoque caelo ponatur aliquid ex quo in suo
caelo proveniat aliquid et impressio sine infusione suae essentiae cum occu-
195 patur circa illud corpus, sed eius essentia sit discreta in existentia et actione
ab illo corpore, nos non prohibemus hoc, quia hoc est quod nos vocamus
inteligentiam spoliatam, ex qua ponimus advenire id quod est post eam; sed
est praeter patiens a corpore, et praeter communicans ei, et praeter formam
eius propriam, et praeter omne id quod diximus cum stabilivimus animam.
200 Iam igitur certificatum est quod caeli habent principia quae sunt nec corpo-
ralia nec formae corporum, et quod unumquodque caelorum appropriatur
alicui illorum principiorum; universitas autem eorum communicat in uno
principio.
18
/485/ However, if such were the case, then it could only be that the
actions that would come forth from the souls of the celestial spheres would 215
have an effect on other bodies by the mediation of their bodies. For the
forms that are the perfections of their bodies are twofold. Either (i) they are
the forms of those things whose existence occurs on account of the matter
of their bodies, and for this reason the existence of those things is in the
matter of their bodies. Thus, the heat of fire does not heat anything unless 220
it touches its body or comes close to its body. Similarly, the sun does not
illuminate anything unless it stands opposite to its body. Or (ii) they are
forms of those things whose existence occurs on account of themselves, and
not on account of the matter of their bodies —- like souls. For each soul
appropriates a body only insofar as its action occurs in virtue of and in that 225
body. However, if a soul were separated from its body in both essence and
action, then it would be the soul of everything, not the soul of that body
alone. Therefore, it is obvious in every way that the celestial powers which
are impressed in their bodies only act by the mediation of their bodies. But
it is absurd that they might actualize a soul by the mediation of a body, for 230
a body cannot be an intermediary between a soul and a soul. But if they
did actualize souls without the mediation of bodies, then they would have
a special existence and instantiation without a body, and they would have a
special action separated from its essence and from the essence of the body.
But this is beyond what’s proposed. However, if it were not to actualize 235
that soul, then much less would it actualize that celestial body, for the soul
surpasses the body in order and perfection.
/486/ But if in each celestial sphere you were to postulate that there is
something which (i) produces some body and impression within its sphere,
and (ii) whose essence is not infused in that body but rather is discrete in 240
existence and action from that body, then we would not prohibit this. For
this is what we call a bare intelligence, from which we postulate that which
comes after it. But it is other than that which is receptive to the body, and it
is beyond sharing with it, and it is other than the proper form of the body,
and it is other than each thing that we ascribed to the soul. Therefore, it is 245
certain that the heavenly spheres have sources which are neither corporeal
nor the forms of bodies, and that each of the heavenly spheres belongs to
one of those sources. But the totality of them shares in one source.
19
Non est autem dubium hic esse intelligentias simplices separatas quae
205 fiunt cum factura corporum humanorum, quae non corrumpuntur sed per-
manent (iam autem hoc manifestum est in scientiis naturalibus) quae nec
proveniunt a primo principio, eo quod multae sunt, quamvis sint una in
specie. Sed, quia fiunt, sunt causatae primi mediante aliquo. Causae autem
agentes mediae inter primum et illas non possunt esse inferiores eis in or-
210 dine, quia non sunt intelligentiae simplices separatae; causae vero datrices
esse sunt perfectiores in esse, recipientes vero esse sunt inferiores in esse.
Oportet igitur ut causatum primum sit intelligentia una per essentiam, ex
qua non potest esse multitudo conveniens in specie. Intentiones enim quae
multiplicantur in ea secundum quod multitudo potest esse in ea, si /487/
215 fuerint diversae certitudinibus, tunc id quod provenit ex unaquaque earum
aliud est in specie ab eo quod provenit ab alia, et sic non comitabitur unum-
quodque eorum quod comitatur alterum, sed alia natura. Si vero fuerint
convenientes in certitudine, tunc in quo erunt diversae et multae, cum non
sit ibi divisio materiae? Igitur ex causato primo non potest esse multitudo
220 nisi diversa in specie. Igitur hae animae terrenae non fiunt a causato primo
absque mediante alia causa iam essente.
Similiter fit ab omni causato primo sublimiore, quousque perveniatur ad
causatum quod fit cum factura elementorum receptibilium generationis et
corruptionis quae multiplicantur numero et specie simul. Igitur multitudo
225 recipientis causa est multitudinis actionis principii quod est unum in essen-
tia. Et hoc est post completionem esse omnium caelestium, et sequitur sem-
per intelligentia post intelligentiam, quousque fiat sphaera lunae, et deinde
fiant elementa et aptantur recipere impressionem unam in specie, multam
numero, ab intelligentia ultima. Si enim causa multitudinis non fuerit in
230 agente, debebit esse necessario in patiente. Oportet igitur ut, ex unaquaque
intelligentia, fiat intelligentia inferior ea et esset tunc quousque possint fieri
substantiae intelligibiles divisibiles multae numero propter multitudinem
causarum, et usque huc perveniunt. Iam igitur vere manifestum est quod
20
There is no doubt here that there are simple, separated intelligences
who are made with the making of human bodies, who are not corrupted 250
but permanent (but now this is obvious in the natural sciences), and who
neither came forth from the first source, for they are many, even though
they are one in species. However, because they are made, they are caused by
the first cause through some intermediary. But the agent causes that are
intermediaries between the first and these intellects just mentioned cannot 255
be inferior to these intellects in order, for that would mean that they are
not simple, separated intelligences themselves. For causes that give being
are more perfect in being, and recipients of being are more inferior in
being. Therefore, it is necessary that God’s first effect is an intelligence
that is one by essence, from whom there cannot be a multitude that agrees 260
in species. For the thoughts that are multiplied in God’s first effect, insofar
as multiplicity can be in it, if /487/ there were diverse thoughts, then that
which comes from each of those thoughts would differ in species from
that which comes forth from another thought, and in this way, the effect
which accompanies each thought will not accompany another thought, 265
for it will have a different nature. Besides, if these thoughts were to agree,
then in virtue of what would there be diverse and many things, since there
would not be any division of matter there? Therefore, from God’s first
effect, there cannot be a multitude of things unless they differ in species.
Thus, these earthly souls are not made by God’s first effect without the 270
mediation of other causes already in existence.
The same goes for each thing that’s made by a higher cause, and this
process continues until we reach some effect that is made along with the
elements that are receptive of generation and corruption, and which are
multiplied in number and species simultaneously. Therefore, the multiplic- 275
ity of recipients is the cause of the multiplicity of the actions of a principle
which is one in essence. But this is after the completion of the existence of
evey celestial sphere, and there always follows intelligence after intelligence,
until they make the sphere of the moon, and thereafter they make the ele-
ments that are disposed to receive from the last intelligence one impression 280
in species that is many in number. For if the cause of multiplicity is not
in the agent, then it will have to be necessary in the patient. Therefore, it
is necessary that, from each intelligence, another intelligence is made who
21
ex omni intelligentia superiore in ordine, secundum hoc quod intelligit pri-
235 mum, provenit esse alterius intelligentiae inferioris ea, sed, secundum hoc
/488/ quod intelligit seipsam, provenient circuli per se tantum; corpus vero
caeli fit ab ea et permanet mediante anima caelesti; omnis enim forma causa
est ut sua materia sit in effectu; ipsa enim materia non habet existentiam.
22
is inferior to it, and the same again and again until they can make intelli-
gible substances that are divisible into many in number, on account of the 285
multiplicity of recipient causes. This process goes all the way up to this
point, where it stops. Therefore, it is truly obvious that from each intel-
ligence that’s superior in order, insofar as it understands the first cause,
there comes into existence a further intelligence who is inferior to it, but
insofar as /488/ it understands itself, only spheres per se will come forth. 290
But the body of the heavenly sphere is made by it, and it is permanent by
the mediation of the soul of its celestial sphere, for every form is a cause
such that its matter exists in effect, for matter does not have existence itself.
23