Avicenna on the Soul's Power to Manipulate Material Objects

Eskiyeni 30 (2):145-157 (2015)
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In his article on the foundations of Ficino’s ideas on magic, James Hankins observes that, where Ficino justifies non-material causation in the universe, he is heavily indebted to Avicenna. As Hankins also points out, this Avicennan idea clearly violates the Aristotelian maxim that ‘physical causation requires contact’. Because Avicenna holds the view that the soul is neither a physical entity nor simply the form of body, Avicenna’s consent to the soul to manipulate material objects means assignment of the soul to perform actions upon physical nature. According to Hankins, this consent resorts to a vertical connectivity between physical objects and the human soul. However, we do not see in Hankins’s argument how this connection can occur according to Avicenna and on what grounds Avicenna lets the soul cause changes on material objects. How does this non-material causation take place?
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