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Self-Awareness in Islamic Philosophy
Avicenna and Beyond

$24.00 USD

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  • Author: Jari Kaukua, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Date Published: December 2014
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781316191910

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About the Authors
  • This important book investigates the emergence and development of a distinct concept of self-awareness in post-classical, pre-modern Islamic philosophy. Jari Kaukua presents the first extended analysis of Avicenna's arguments on self-awareness - including the flying man, the argument from the unity of experience, the argument against reflection models of self-awareness and the argument from personal identity - arguing that all these arguments hinge on a clearly definable concept of self-awareness as pure first-personality. He substantiates his interpretation with an analysis of Suhrawardī's use of Avicenna's concept and Mullā Sadrā's revision of the underlying concept of selfhood. The study explores evidence for a sustained, pre-modern and non-Western discussion of selfhood and self-awareness, challenging the idea that these concepts are distinctly modern, European concerns. The book will be of interest to a range of readers in history of philosophy, history of ideas, Islamic studies and philosophy of mind.

    • Enriches readers' scope of the history of philosophy by providing an in-depth analysis of neglected Islamic philosophers
    • Looks at evidence of self and self-awareness discussions in pre-modern and non-Western contexts
    • Combines historical and philosophical analysis
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    • Winner, 2017 World Award for Book of the Year of Islamic Republican of Iran

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Jari Kaukua's Self-Awareness in Islamic Philosophy covers much uncharted territory, probing the problem of self-awareness as conceived by Avicenna and as received and reformulated by his illustrious successors, chief among them Shihāb al-Dīn al-Suhrawardī (d. 1191) and Mullā Ṣadrā (d. 1640). Although the premodern, non-European occupation with the self has already been aptly demonstrated by Richard Sorabji, Kaukua seeks to fill in the gaps with a more sustained account of Islamic models of self-awareness. He approaches this topic with impressive historical range, sensitivity to the many technical nuances inherent in the subject matter, sound philological skills, and forensic philosophical precision … a major feat and a serious scholarly accomplishment.' Mohammed Rustom, Journal of the American Oriental Society

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2014
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781316191910
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. Preliminary observations: self-cognition and Avicennian psychology
    2. Avicenna and the phenomenon of self-awareness: the experiential basis of the flying man
    3. Self-awareness as existence: Avicenna on the individuality of an incorporeal substance
    4. In the first person: Avicenna's concept of self-awareness reconstructed
    5. Self-awareness without substance: from Abū al-Barakāt al-Baghdādī to Suhrawardī
    6. Self-awareness, presence, appearance: the ishrāqī context
    7. Mullā Sadrā on self-awareness
    8. The self reconsidered: Sadrian revisions to the Avicennian concept
    Conclusion: who is the I?
    Appendix: Arabic terminology related to self-awareness

  • Author

    Jari Kaukua, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
    Jari Kaukua is Academy of Finland Research Fellow in the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy at the University of Jyväskylä. He is the author of several articles in journals including Vivarium and History and Theory. This is his first book.


    • Winner, 2017 World Award for Book of the Year of Islamic Republican of Iran

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